12.21.2010 07:11 AM

In today’s Sun: the Chretien-Harris prize fight

The original.  The 2010 version.  Don’t try this at home, kids, without adult supervision.

“As the assembled Conservatives watched, horrified – and as the many more Liberals present looked on, delighted – Chretien slapped the fabled “Shawinigan Handshake” on Harris.

The devilish move, from which few ever recover, traces its origins back to February 1996, when Chretien was wading his way through a crowd in Hull, Que., and a group of anti-poverty protesters mobbed him.

One of the protesters, Bill Clennett, tried to block the prime ministerial path.

Big mistake.”


  1. smelter rat says:

    Too funny. The Sun, that is.

  2. Steve T says:

    At the time this happened, I completely agreed with Chretien’s actions. Protesters are welcome to peacefully make their point – but aggressive behaviour, vandalism, or other such shenanigans should be curtailed with equal aggression. Chretien reacted as he should have.

    Of course, nowadays, we tolerate a lot more b.s. from protesters, and the police are held to unrealistics standards when dealing with them. The G20 was a good example of this.

    • smelter rat says:

      Oh Steve, you started out so well, and then went right off the rails.

      • Steve T says:

        To clarify, I am not talking about the unreasonable searches and questions that were conducted in advance of the G20. Those were inappropriate. I am talking about the unrealistic expectation that police would somehow, in the heat of wild G20 protesters and throngs of people, somehow sort out the good peaceful protesters from the bad aggressive protesters (who were often intermingling with each other). The situation was bordering on anarchy in some circumstances, but the media and protest groups pored over video footage after the fact, and evaluated each police-citizen interaction in a vacuum. It is ridiculous; just as it was ridiculous to expect JC to evaluate the mental state of Mr. Clennett before he “helped” him aside.

        • Robin says:

          What do you mean by ‘unrealistic expectation’? You don’t have to view the videos in a vacuum. See the Adam Nobody video, which have lead to charges against an officer as of today, and you can clearly sort out ‘the good peaceful protesters form the bad aggressive protesters.’ A child could make the distinction.

    • Rob P says:

      Steve T, are you seriously suggesting that our leaders should go around assaulting protesters? In this case, the guy whom Jean Chretien grabbed was demonstrating legitimately; the prime minister evidently didn’t like his detractor’s face, and lost it. Maybe you, and others in Sgt Pepper’s fan club, would feel at home in Lukashenko’s Belarus or Mugabe’s Zimbabwe.

  3. Jim says:

    The best picture I ever saw of Cretin was when he did that face plant in the asphalt playing basketball for the cameras. I am sure at least 2/3rds of the country roared with derisive laughter when they saw it.

    The weird thing is those pics have disappeared right off the internet. It’s too bad, they showed Cret at his best.

    • Warren says:

      First off, “Jim,” you’d have a bit more credibility talking about IQ levels when you learned to spell.

      Secondly, I’m sure that some vast conspiracy got together to remove those photos. Black helicopters, brain waves, etc.

      We Liberals have those kinds of powers, you know.

      • allegra fortissima says:

        Pure feeblemindedness. Also applicable to those “Iggy” sayers. Although I have to admit, “Ignatieff” is a bit difficult to pronounce for those who wear ill-fitting dentures.

        It isn’t funny or effective, either.

  4. Thor says:

    We’ll have to agree to disagree on this one. Celebrating
    your hero’s assault on a small man is pretty lame, Warren. If I
    remember correctly, the fellow who was physically accosted by the
    ‘ti gar’ from Shawinigan had to be convinced to not press charges.
    At the time, if memory serves, everybody really wanted the whole
    episode to go away. It was embarrassing then and it should remain
    so, methinks. I’m not a Chretien hater and respect him for many
    reasons and I still think he remains one of Canada’s great
    politicians. But, he is fallible and he made mistakes. Not sure why
    you would celebrate one of his worst.

  5. Sean says:

    I have always loved that picture (’96)…. On several local campaigns I have quietly put a copy of that shot on the wall of the campaign office… Usually near where the sign guys or door to door folks gather. IE, the people who do the real work;)

  6. Stewart says:

    What the incident in 1996 proved was that Chretien was able to actually take care of himself and move amongst Canadians unafraid. He was and is of the people.

    Harper is a pathetic bubble-boy. He lives in his own world of PR and spin and would never dream of appearing anywhere without a script (well rehearsed of course), an airtight cordon of security and a group of zombie supporters. If this happened to Harper he would cower, shit himself and then impose nationwide marital law in response. Harper is afraid of his own shadow, Chretien wasn’t afraid of anyone.

    Just look at Harper’s helmet head of hair to see pathological control in action.

    I miss Chretien.

  7. Robert K. says:

    The Boss is ambidextrous. Cool!

  8. J. Coates says:

    I strongly think, when push came to shove, the protester is the one who would have been charged with assault. Even an elected official is entitled to use an appropriate degree of force in self-defense.
    The protester and his cronies had a press conference afterwards and tried to milk the happening for all it was worth. However he ended up looking like a arrogant dork. He kept describing himself as “WE.”
    I guarantee most red-blooded guys seeing it grinned immensely in appreciation. How many times has some loud-mouthed snook gotten in your face and you wanted to clobber him, but couldn’t for fear of legal trouble?
    If anything, the incident significantly enhanced the political reputation of the little guy from Shenanigan…. whoops that should be Shawnigan. 🙂 Sort of like seeing Mr. Chretien two years in a row at the Calgary Stampede wearing well-worn jeans and boots, without any apparent security. People were warm and friendly greeting him, and Calgary is the centre of Reformatory hell.

    Eat that John Turner.!

    • The Doctor says:

      It’s true that on a personal level, Chretien always got a warm welcome when he did meet & greets in Calgary. I remember seeing him on Stephen Avenue Mall one time, yukking it up with a bunch of passersby. He was good at that, no question.

      Unfortunately for his party, he was utterly unable to spread that popularity enough to translate it into seats in Alberta (the Edmontonian aberrations of Kilgour and Landslide Annie aside).

  9. Granny says:

    Statements of sympathy; for that craven, cowhearted, pusillanimous, arrogant so-called protestor, who thrust aside a group of little Brownies and Guides in his quest to accost Chretien; will always infuriate, outrage, and thoroughly tick me off. I am assuming that very few of you were ever Tawny Owls and therefore never noticed those little girls in the crowd. I did. They had no political agenda nor where they cynical A.H.s. They would have been so excited about that day, going dressed in their uniforms, a chance to see the Prime Minister up close. Honestly, how on earth could anyone have any sympathy for that brutish lout. He got the comeuppance he so richly deserved. My only critique of Chretien’s performance was that he was way, way, to gentle with that fraudulent dolt. (I apologize to the innocent cows I have defamed in this comment)

  10. Northbaytrapper says:

    I like the shot Warren, because it shows that once you get past it all people like Chretien and Harris-both very polarizing-are actually real people who like to joke around and enjoy each others company.

    I understand the game; I really appreciate it when folks stop playing it for a brief moment.


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