At one point, Chretien missed a punchline, and everyone laughed anyway. He then re-did the joke, and everyone laughed even harder.
“I’m getting old, you know,” he said.
No one cared. We’re all older, too, but not on that night at the Chateau Laurier. Not even 25 years later.
He made us feel younger again. He made us laugh at the lines we’d all heard before. He made us remember why he – more than any other – remains the most-loved Prime Minister. Still.
There is a joy in politics, but it can be fleeting. The lows are deep. The losses, keenly felt.
For those of us who had the privilege to work for him, Jean Chretien lifted us up. He suffused politics with pure joy. And fun, and camaraderie, and achievement.
Want to be Prime Minister for a long time, Petit Justin? Then pay close attention to what Jean Chretien did. Watch his moves. Learn.
He was the great one.