The path from 2000 to 2009 was seldom easy and often devastating, as a review of The Globe's editorials over the decade shows. It began, however, with an anti-climax. Remember the Y2K bug, which many feared would disable computers incapable of recognizing a year beginning with "2"?
Jan. 4, 2000: The media world was ready to feast upon the "bugalypse" - what some were calling a potential computer-bug-created apocalypse. If all the world's computerized systems crashed, journalists were primed to report on food riots, fatal water fights, people frozen in their beds, panic and mayhem. And what happened was - nothing. ... What we got was the system working, and the system working is boring - and worse. For in the Age of Entertainment, everything boring is deeply suspect, even if it amounts to a
Dec. 6, 2000: In the year 2000, it is grotesque that a loving and committed couple should be denied their fondest wish because they happen to be of the same sex. Countless court decisions and legislative changes over the past decade have affirmed that homosexual couples are entitled to the same rights as heterosexual couples. ... These changes have underlined the simple fact that homosexuals are equal members of society, entitled to the same rights as anyone else. Why, then, should they be denied the right to marry?
Sept. 12, 2001: When a friend suffers a terrible tragedy, we search for words of sympathy, and usually accept there is no way to convey all our horror and outrage and sorrow. So it is with the terrorist attacks in the United States yesterday. At The Globe and Mail, as in many homes and offices around the world, we stood silently yesterday morning, hearts pounding, all of us realizing there is no appropriate comment at a moment of unfolding catastrophe.
This much we can say, inadequate as it is. Our hearts and thoughts and prayers are with the victims, with their families, and with the United States. We mourn also for a world profoundly changed. Because changed we surely are, in ways that will be seen both immediately and gradually. Such an unpredictable attack alters all understanding of safety and national security. It will shake the confidence of many Americans who believed they lived in the greatest, strongest and most powerful nation on Earth. Power, as it turns out, can never be absolute.
Oct. 10, 2001: Canada has now joined the military battle [in Afghanistan]against terrorism, and it is in this dangerous role that Canada offers its most significant commitment to the U.S.-led fight. ... Military action is easy to support at its beginning, when optimism is at its highest. It is worth noting, however, that officials from Washington and Ottawa have repeatedly cautioned that this will be a long and slow campaign. ...
It is an easy prediction that there will be a struggle to sustain public support if results don't come quickly, and certainly if Canadians are killed in action. If resolve should waver as the initial alarm passes, we will have to remember why we joined this cause in the first place.
Oct. 9, 2003: Canadians have grown almost inured to the spectacle of the country's two most powerful political figures - Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and former finance minister Paul Martin - wrestling for power and position like two six-year-olds vying for control of a sandbox. ... Locked as they are in a rivalry more than a decade old, Messrs. Chrétien and Martin are incapable even of acknowledging a power struggle exists.
Jan. 25, 2006: Paul Martin is a decent, honourable man whose long-sought opportunity to be prime minister of Canada fell short of expectations.
In part, this was the result of a factor beyond his control: the Auditor-General's report on the sponsorship scandal. Though the scandal occurred on the watch of former prime minister Jean Chrétien, Mr. Chrétien saw to it that the report was not tabled in Parliament during his final days in office. He left it as a ticking bomb for Mr. Martin, who, to his great credit, reacted in a decent, honourable way. He appointed Mr. Justice John Gomery to get to the bottom of the abuse of public funds by the Liberal government and by ad agencies.
Mr. Martin's course was not politically savvy; Mr. Chrétien, the old street fighter who scoffed that the public had a short memory, wouldn't have chosen a course guaranteed to keep the scandal indefinitely in the public eye. But that was one of the reasons why it was past time for Mr. Chrétien to leave, and Mr. Martin's passion for ethical reform was one of the reasons his ascension occasioned such hope. Sadly, there has been more hope than achievement.
March 6, 2006: No one ever expected that power would turn Stephen Harper into a warm and cuddly soul. It's simply not in his nature. He holds babies at arm's length. He makes small talk with the stilted charm of an alien. His smiles often look pained. ... Such cool control has engendered a novel, if politically risky, approach to governance. ... Mr. Harper figures out his strategy, tersely communicates it and then marches off somewhere else. ...
So far, polls clearly indicate that Canadian voters have given Mr. Harper the benefit of the doubt. He is, after all, still figuring out the system, and how he wants it to work. He, in turn, could give them more credit. They just want to understand where the nation is headed.
Nov. 11, 2006: Months before setting out to "disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger," U.S. President George W. Bush predicted "an era of new hope" would follow any invasion. In October of 2002, he said that once Saddam Hussein's tyrannical regime was ousted, "Iraq's people will be able to share in the progress and prosperity of our time." These are noble sentiments, sentiments we supported before the invasion, arguing that a free Iraq could "provide a beacon for other Arab countries - spurring political, economic and even religious reforms." However, the day after the invasion of Iraq began, we also wrote that while the "U.S.-led forces are capable of winning a war on their own ... winning the peace will be more complicated." We urged that the international community come together to rebuild the country, and we advocated a prominent role by the United Nations in that process.
Instead, after it toppled Mr. Hussein, the Pentagon was entrusted with rebuilding Iraq. Mr. Bush's high-minded objectives were consistently contradicted by his administration's crude, imperial policies. ... If not the creation of "a new era of hope," then, what of Mr. Bush's claim that the invasion of Iraq would make the world a safer place? After Colin Powell, then secretary of state, appeared at the UN Security Council on Feb. 5, 2003, to expose Iraq's efforts to conceal weapons of mass destruction, we wrote: "There can be little doubt that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's regime is lying." We argued that the onus was on Mr. Hussein to fulfill his responsibilities to the international community and co-operate with inspectors.
As we now know, Iraq did not possess such weapons. Mr. Hussein was a threat, but in the end only to his own people. The UN inspections had worked. Along with many others - even Mr. Powell now says he was taken in - this newspaper was swayed by the U.S. evidence that Mr. Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. However reluctantly, we concluded that the war was justified, a position we now regret.
Sept. 29, 2007: Rarely do parties turn on their own leaders as quickly and viciously as the federal Liberals appear to be turning on Stéphane Dion. The result is an ugly spectacle that reflects poorly on Mr. Dion and his critics equally. Unless both sides get their act together in a hurry, their party could soon plunge to depths it has rarely seen.
Nov. 1, 2008: Long before the credit crisis that almost buried Wall Street and forced the U.S. government to effectively nationalize a chunk of the American financial system, President George W. Bush had shown himself to be a dismal caretaker of his country's economic and fiscal well-being. Then the housing bubble exploded, the value of complex, mortgage-related securities plummeted and credit markets froze solid. The ensuing collapse of some of the biggest and best-known names in banking, the controversial bailouts and the serious slowdown that has reached every corner of the globe will always colour the way economic historians evaluate Mr. Bush's presidency.
Nov. 5, 2008: It will be an enormous, almost impossible task for Barack Obama to meet the expectations that greet his election as the 44th president of the United States. But whatever his achievements in the White House, he has already achieved something remarkable in his path to it. ...
For the first time in many elections, a presidential candidate grew in stature over the course of the marathon campaign. At times, his message of hope could be maddeningly vague. But it is astonishing that he never strayed from that optimistic tone into a message of fear, continuing to place his trust in the better instincts of Americans.