National Post endorses Stephen Harper; backed George W. Bush for U.S. president, Mike Harris as Ontario premier and illegal wars in Afghanistan & Iraq
Like clockwork the National Post has endorsed Stephen Harper for prime minister – for the third straight election. This is no surprise. Since the first issue on Oct. 27, 1998, the Post has been staunchly pro-conservative.
Former media magnate Conrad Black launched the National Post in
The Post’s earliest election endorsement appears to be June 3, 1999, when it said Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Mike Harris deserved a second term as premier; in fact, the newspaper said “in delivering unprecedented economic growth and in putting Toronto and Ontario back on the national stage, Mr. Harris has earned the right to return as premier.”
The Post applauded Harris for “his bold tax-cutting policies” and despite “outrage from the political left” he “peeled back red tape and ended corporate subsidies” and was “the first
The Post was disappointed with Harris because he refused “to consider any form of school choice” and “his “guarantee” to increase health-care spending 20% over the next mandate… will impede further reform.”
“But while we may disagree with the scope of some of Mr. Harris’ policies, his legacy and future prospects remain overwhelmingly positive,” the Post said. [Harris deserves a second term (National Post, June 3, 1999)]
Harris’s Common Sense Revolution introduced the draconian forced labour “workfare” program and saw welfare rates brutally slashed by 21.5 per cent and the level of assets a welfare recipient could keep reduced. The province’s poor have never recovered. Harris’s finance minister was Jim Flaherty, who is now Stephen Harper’s.
The Harris government repealed the Employment Equity Act in its entirety and enacted Bill 7, a package of anti-union and anti-worker labour legislation, permitting the use of replacement workers during a strike and requiring a secret ballot be held in every certification application.
There was the Walkerton tainted water tragedy caused in part by government budget cuts and Environment Ministry ineptitude and the ugly Ipperwash standoff between natives and police.
Harris’s popularity plummeted to 33 per cent and on October 16, 2001 he announced his plan to resign.
On October 2, 2003, the Tories won just 24 of the 103 seats in the Ontario Legislature and according to a report by former Ontario Provincial Auditor Erik Peters left a $5.6 billion deficit behind.
In Nov. 2000, the National Post endorsed Republican presidential nominee Texas Gov. George W. Bush for president of the
The Post liked Bush’s plan to “roll back taxes US$1.3-trillion over the next 10 years” because “
The Post also liked Bush’s plan to “divert a portion of existing social security taxes into individual accounts” because “the effect would be to put reform of the Canada Pension Plan… on the Canadian agenda.”
On the environment and the
On foreign policy the Post was against Vice-President Al Gore’s “human security” approach which implied support “for an activist United Nations and an eager willingness to deploy troops overseas in the name of human rights.” Bush’s pledge, on the other hand, “to restrict
“When the votes are counted [on Nov. 7, 2000], we expect -- and hope -- Mr. Bush’s vision of government prevails,” the Post said. [Their election, and ours (National Post, Nov. 7, 2000)]
In an editorial the following day the Post said “At 2:20 a.m. today,
“Mr. Bush has a wondrous opportunity: to maintain
In 2000, Bush’s last year as governor,
Bush was opposed to a national health care plan and in 2000 there were 1.4 million children in
In the 2000 Canadian federal election the Post resigned itself to the fact that the Liberal’s were on their way to winning a possible third majority and weren’t happy.
“The Liberals under Jean Chretien have treated Parliament with casual, habitual contempt,” the Post said. It complained about the government’s lack of transparency and accountability on issues such as the HRDC $1 billion boondoggle.
“We find it difficult to understand why voters would support the Grits today, unless they are certain the party will soon have a new leader. But if that is the case, why not hurry the process along? Strong support for the Canadian Alliance today will produce a minority government and effectively end Mr. Chretien’s leadership,” the Post said.
“This is not an unequivocal endorsement of the Canadian Alliance under Stockwell Day. His party has not proven itself ready for government… But the
The Post had little time for the opposition alternatives saying the Tories “have no sense of purpose, no fresh ideas -- they would do
As for the Bloc Quebecois the Post hoped that “either the CA or the Liberals under new leadership can bury the separatists for good in the next federal election.”
“A Liberal minority with a strong
In Oct. 2001, the Post endorsed the American and British invasion of
“[T]he battle must not stop until the terrorist enemy, wherever it may lurk, has been eliminated,” the Post said.
“The terrorist camps in
The Post supported
“As Mr. Bush has made plain, it is
As of early Oct. 2008, 98 Canadian soldiers have died in the war and a new report has revealed that Canada’s Afghan mission will have cost Canadians as much as $18.1 billion – $1,500 per household – by the time it ends in 2011. [Afghan mission cost: up to $18B (
A recent draft report by American intelligence agencies concludes that
Eric S. Margolis, an award-winning, internationally syndicated columnist, summed things up in a way that most people aren’t willing to consider: “The current war in Afghanistan is not really about al-Qaida and ‘terrorism,’ but about opening a secure corridor through Pashtun tribal territory to export the oil and gas riches of the Caspian Basin of Central Asia to the West. The US and NATO forces in
In March 2003, the Post endorsed yet another illegal war of aggression – the invasion, overthrow and continued occupation of
“We are glad the inspections farce is over. The sight of a tinpot dictator like Saddam giving UN inspectors the run around while Old Europe’s foreign ministers composed high-flown paeans to their effort did more damage to the dignity of the United Nations than any act of alleged U.S. “unilateralism” ever could,” the Post said.
“[On Mar. 17, 2003] Jean Chretien announced
Canadian Alliance leader Stephen Harper backed the war 100 per cent.
Under the ridiculous headline More of the leadership we wish we had the Post published an abridged transcript of Harper’s address delivered in Parliament on Mar. 20, 2003: “We in the Canadian Alliance support the American position because we share their worries about
“We will not be neutral. We will be with our allies and our friends. We will not be with our government. For this government, in taking the position it has taken, has betrayed
The case for war in
In his memoir The Age of Turbulence, Alan Greenspan, a Republican whose 18-year tenure as head of the US Federal Reserve was widely admired, noted “I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.” Enough said.
Next up for the Post was the Oct. 2003
“Barring a sudden reversal of fortune, Mr. McGuinty will be
“[Mike] Harris’s successor, Tory incumbent Ernie Eves, gives the impression of being an indecisive leader with scant regard for truly conservative principles. An Eves defeat would at least have the virtue of forcing his party to retool.”
The Post was concerned that McGuinty’s “tax-and-spend agenda that could threaten the gains in prosperity made under former premier Mike Harris.” It was also worried that his plan called “for corporate taxes to be increased from 12.5% to 14%” and “would scrap Mr. Eves’ scheduled cuts to personal income taxes, and has pledged to repeal the Tories’ sensible tax credit for parents who choose to send their children to independent schools.”
The Post called on McGuinty to “resist the urge to kill the Conservatives’ fledgling efforts at health-care innovation.” These included outsourcing “diagnostic services to private clinics, which are reimbursed by the government under a single-payer scheme” and “steps toward a new financing model for hospitals called “public private partnerships” (PPP), according to which a for-profit company builds and operates a new hospital and then leases it back to a non-profit hospital board.”
Eliminating these “would be disastrous for
“Assuming the Tories lose, as expected, there might be an upside for Conservatives in
June 2004 marked the first National Post endorsement of Stephen Harper for prime minister.
“Unlike most career politicians, who file their ideological edges down to blunt stumps early in their careers, Mr. Harper is clearly a man grounded in conviction, and has rarely repented his more controversial views,” said the Post.
“Last month, when the federal election was called, we outlined the policy areas that we hoped to see addressed over the course of the campaign. In particular, we urged an agenda that would include giving the provinces more freedom in how they deliver universal health care, ending Ottawa’s various corporate and regional welfare programs, lowering taxes, empowering MPs, improving Canada-U.S. relations, strengthening our rusted-out military, dismantling the gun registry and rescinding the gag law. In all these areas, the Conservatives have staked out intelligent positions.”
The Post was especially pleased that the Conservatives “properly rejected intrusive, big-ticket items” like a “national child care program” and instead are seeking to improve “the business climate” with broad-based corporate tax cuts.
In Harper the Post seemed to have found its Holy Grail.
“We feel comfortable with the prospect of Mr. Harper as prime minister. That’s why we believe that, for voters seeking positive change, the Conservative party is the only sensible option.” [On June 28, vote Conservative (National Post, June 23, 2004)]
In Nov. 2004 the Post’s support for George W. Bush’s re-election as president of the
“Four out of five Canadians told pollsters they preferred Democratic challenger John Kerry over incumbent Republican President George W. Bush. But Canadians should probably be thankful that Mr. Bush prevailed in Tuesday’s election, if only for our own selfish economic interests,” the Post said on Nov. 4.
The Post said Bush’s election will pay “tangible dividends” in the area of trade. “[B]efore he became President… the former
“Mr. Bush may not be
As for Bush’s challenger, Senator John Kerry, the Post described him as a “multilateralism- minded Democrat” who “pandered to rust-belt industries during the campaign” and “likely would have steered his country down a protectionist road.”
On softwood “Mr. Kerry would have done
On cattle shipment restrictions the Post said “we can only be glad that Mr. Kerry will not be the one managing this file come January. Last spring, he was one of 10
With friends like that who needs enemies?
According to the New Hampshire-based American Research Group, Bush’s overall job approval rating as of Sept. 22, 2008, was 19 per cent. When it comes to Bush’s handling of the economy 78 per cent disapprove.
On October 24, 2000, CNN reported that the federal government posted a record $237 billion surplus for the budget year that ended in September. It marked the third straight year of surpluses, something that hasn't happened since the late 1940s. [Administration announces record annual budget surplus (CNN News, Oct. 24, 2000)]
According to a new Bush administration estimate released in July 2008 the next president will inherit a record budget deficit of $482 billion. [
On Aug. 29, 2007, the Washington Post reported that according to annual census figures the number of Americans without health insurance rose to a record 47 million. [
Bush leaves office with a legacy that could very well include being the worst president in history.
In January 2006, the Post again supported Stephen Harper for prime minister.
“On June 23, 2004, five days before the last federal election, we endorsed the Conservative Party of Canada,” the Post said.
“Having watched Mr. Harper mature in office as Leader of the Opposition over the last 18 months, we feel all the more comfortable repeating our endorsement. This country needs new leadership, and Mr. Harper is the man to provide it.”
“We should emphasize that, despite this newspaper’s generally conservative stance, our endorsement of Mr. Harper was not a foregone conclusion. We have sometimes been critical of Mr. Harper in this space. And when Mr. Martin first became prime minister, we positively gushed about his potential,” the Post said.
“Unfortunately, Mr. Martin failed to fulfill that potential. On so many issues, where a single gesture of true leadership might have made a real difference, he failed to act decisively,” the Post noted citing missile defence, marijuana decriminalization, democratic reform, health-care liberalization and gay marriage as examples.
“For the Conservatives to govern successfully, best that they not have to bargain for support either from the separatist Bloc or from New Democrats on the far-left of the country’s political spectrum. Neither party represents a natural ally for a government with an ambitious agenda of conservative reform. For that reason, we hope the Conservative Party of Canada receives a majority mandate.” [Stephen Harper for prime minister (National Post, Jan. 19, 2006)]
Upholding the “newspaper’s generally conservative stance” the Post endorsed Progressive Conservative leader John Tory for
The Post liked Tory because of his “superior positions” on things like being “open to contracting with private companies that serve patients within the single-payer public health system.”
On taxation Tory “has the better plan” because he “is pledging to eliminate” the health surtax.
The Post supported Tory’s pledge “to end what he calls Ontario’s “catch-and-release” system of justice, whereby high-risk offenders are arrested, then allowed back on the street under lenient bail conditions.” It also backed his plan “to appoint more justices of the peace, and to use special prosecutors to keep dangerous offenders behind bars.”
Tory’s proposal to provide public funding to faith-based schools “does not go far enough” the Post said. “We would like to see the current public-school funding model replaced root-and-branch with a universal voucher system that would cover all schools, religious and secular alike. But Mr. Tory is to be praised for at least attempting to remedy the unfair status quo in this area.”
According to the Post, Tory is “an accomplished businessman with a strong track record of corporate success and community engagement” and he’s also “a charismatic, engaging politician who projects a sense of honesty and integrity.” The Post knows this to be true because Tory apparently demonstrated it “at a recent editorial-board meeting.”
“[I]t is arguable that the entire country, not just
This brings us to Oct. 8, 2008, and the Post’s third endorsement of Stephen Harper for prime minister.
“Next week’s vote will determine whether
“Mr. Harper’s government has been perfect,” the Post said citing only a tiny handful of areas of concern. These include its decision to tax income trusts, failure to act on the gun registry, the gag law, Section 13 of the Human Rights Act, continual spending increases and flouting its own fixed date election law.
“But given the huge range of other activities undertaken in the course of leading
“Most importantly of all, Mr. Harper has avoided the temptation to impose any large-scale Trudeauvian social-engineering schemes on the country,” the Post saying “Canadians should be thankful” that the Conservative’s 2008 election platform does not contain a pharacare or national child care program.
“Like all elections, this one presents Canadians with a choice between imperfect options. But on balance, the Conservatives are clearly the best choice for this country. We urge our readers to vote accordingly on Oct. 14.” [A Conservative majority serves
Examples of Harper’s broken promises and questionable policies could fill a book. Oh, it did! It’s called The Harper Record and was released for free download by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives on Sept. 23, 2008.
“Contrary to the general perception that this has been a moderate government, this book reveals that it, in fact, has taken significant steps to transform
On Sept. 30, 2008, the Toronto Star reported that when Harper took power he inherited a $12 billion federal budget surplus. A couple of weeks earlier on Sept. 18, 2008, the CBC said the Tories are projecting a $2.3-billion surplus this fiscal year and only $1.3 billion for the next, down from the $10.2-billion surplus for the 2007-08 fiscal year. A deficit is not that far off.
Stephen Harper headed into Election Day with public opinion polls saying the Conservatives were sitting at 34.2 per cent, down from the 36.3 per cent it had going into the Jan. 2006 election. It seems clear that Canadians simply don’t trust this man as prime minister.