05.06.2010 06:34 AM

Comments about Chrétien

Yesterday’s wee post, linking to Don Martin’s Post column, generated quite a bit of commentary about my friend Jean Chrétien.  Some of it was highly, highly critical.

A sampling:

  • I ran into Jean at the Stampede some years ago. He was wearing a battered cowboy hat, jeans, and boots. I introduced myself and we chatted briefly. Next year’s Stampede I ran into him on the Stampede grounds again. He shook my hand, looked closely at me, and remembered my first name. Now that’s political style! – Joel Coates
  • Chretien, though, was definitely one of the better ones… I shudder to think about where we would have been if he [hadn’t been Prime Minister]. – M. Bellecourt
  • I remember they used to call Chretien “yesterday’s man” when he was low in the polls in opposition – now how did that go? Ah, yes – consecutive majorities. – Sandra Gifford
  • I think he’s tops. – Derek Lipman
  • Agree or disagree with his direction for the country, at least he proved himself an able leader and someone who was willing to find pragmatic and workable solutions, unlike this lot we’re stuck with now. – Gord Gilmour
  • In Europe, we loved Trudeau and highly respected Chretien. – Allegra Fortissima
  • I heard Jean Chretien speak at the University of Guelph in 1989, when he was out of politics. I was just so impressed by his engagement with the audience, his self-deprecating style, and his natural wit. And yes, damn, it it was inspiring. – Domenico
  • Unlike the last couple of PMs we’ve had to endure, Chretien knew how to govern. He had a vision, and while he was not always profoundly illuminating, he knew where he wanted Canada to go, and, more importantly, he more or less got us there without dividing and conquering Canadians. And, when it mattered, he could make the right call. He spared an entire generation of Canadians a tremendous amount of blood and suffering by keeping us out of Iraq, and along with his support of same sex marriage (and enduring direct attacks from the church for doing so), I’ll always hold Chretien in very, very high regard. – Kaplan
  • I remember Chretien giving a speech in Prince Rupert, BC cica late 1989 / ‘90. It inspired and convinced me that better days were ahead for both Canada and the Liberal Party. Everyone there understood and felt that Chretien was one of us, that he understood what Canadians were thinking and what they wanted out of a leader. – Francesco Sorbara
  • There are other great Liberals, I’m sure. But none have his presence or his innate ability to know what the average Canadian actually wants from government. With apologies to the current leader and to those very committed, genuine folks who support him, there is a gulf the size Canada between where we were with Chretien and where the party is now. – Michael Hale


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    Catherine says:

    Loved Jean Chretien. And, respected Aline.

    Your loyalty to Mr. Chretien is truly admirable, Warren.

    Jean was a leader. Formed through many years in politics and a love of the sport.

    I look forward to seeing his portrait. Mostly, I hope Aline enjoyed some input.

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      Reality.Bites says:

      With respect, Catherine, loyalty to Mr. Chrétien isn’t actually admirable. It’s best described by words like “natural,” “completaly understandable” and “no more than he deserves.”

      Now loyalty to Stephen Harper, on the other hand… THAT’s admirable.

      And probably quite foolhardy too.

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        Warren says:

        Anyone got smelling salts? I’m watching what’s happening to the markets. Wow. Chances of an election now: zero, zippo, zilch.

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    Elizabeth says:

    Chretien is amazing. I don’t know if there will ever be another one like him – they broke the mould when they made him. He’s a kind, generous person as well as being a great leader; and always in touch with ordinary people.
    I always thought his force of personality had to do with the fact that he was youngest of 19 children, and the youngest in a family knows how to handle people. Youngest of 19 – you have to be a politician from Day 1. Besides, everyone is looking at you.

    Never mind comparisons between him and Ignatieff, how about the comparison between Chretien and Harper? What happened?

    The Queen apparently just adores him, and other world leaders have gravitated towards him, respected him and were uplifted by knowing him. It’s sad – where we are today.
    I think Ignatieff will get the same respect from the rest of the world, but I he’s got to pull it all together and batter down Harper’s iron control. I wish he’d just stand up in QP and crack jokes about Baird and Harper sometimes. Take a day off being serious – and make fun of them.

    Hope Chretien is with us for a long time. I see him as a sort of good luck spirit for Canada.

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    Warren says:

    I was just kidding. I’ve always just liked that line from Apocalypse Now.

    Quick! Who delivered that line? No Googling!

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    Sean Cummings says:

    Nobody throttles protesters who get in your face better than Jean Chretien. He doesn’t need an RCMP bodyguard – get in his face and he’ll kick your ass.

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      Iris Mclean says:

      That was the time, for me, that Cretien jumped the shark. The guy with the funny hat didn’t deserve to be choked by our prime minister, and be thrown to the pavement (knocking out some teeth) by the PMs body guards. I hope he got a really good settlement.

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    Pathrik74 says:

    So why is there not more discussion about how Chretien shot down bank mergers and attempts to deregulate the banking sector? More to the point- Harper was crowing for many years about the need for bank mergers and deregulation. Now it seems he has taken credit for what Chretien did- or perhaps more succinctly what Chretien decided not to do.

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