, 02.16.2021 08:38 AM

Canadian Heritage Moments: the Shawinigan handshake

Twenty-five years ago today! Can you remember where you were when this happened?

I sure do! I was listening to Team Martin spox Susan Delacourt announce on TV that this was the end of Jean Chretien.



  1. faithless elector says:

    In every local Liberal campaign, we used to post this on the wall in the campaign office, beside the voter ID stuff. It gave us a chuckle. I am reliably told that the current people who are pretending to be Liberals (Justin groupies) hated it and told people to take it down.

  2. Maureen says:

    In fact, Jean Chretien grew in my esteem as a result of the Shawinigan handshake.

  3. Steve Teller says:

    I wish more politicians had the guts to do this. Peaceful protests are one thing, but this past year has shown us what happens when protesters feel invincible.

    Whether it be the BLM riots in numerous places, or the capitol hill riots more recently, or many other similar incidents – we seem to have become convinced that our “right” to protest translates into a right to throw a temper-tantrum and whenever we don’t get exactly what we want. A good “Shawinigan handshake” now and then might set things straight.

  4. Douglas W says:

    Amazed at the revelations of how down-and-dirty the Martin crowd were.

    The mob should have been booted from caucus immediately following the 2000 general election.

    They would have not been missed.

    • faithless elector says:

      They weren’t really that down and dirty. They might have liked to imagine that themselves. All they did was kept their failed leadership team functioning for 10 years. They were good at intimidating the grass roots folks by organizing meaningless internal campaigns for silly positions that no one cares about. Very talented at winning elections that had no consequence. Like student council with money. No one else could rival that level of narcissism. They only succeeded in tipping the leadership because they were the only players in the game. Same thing in 2013.

  5. Lawrence Barry says:

    First time I’ve seen Justin in a toque.

  6. Pedant says:

    One of many things the media would not ever allow a Conservative to get away with.

    Sue Delacourt aside, my vague recollection (I was a teenager) is that CBC and CTV talking heads found it humourous and a great show of strength.

    • The Doctor says:

      Exactly. Harper would have been mercilessly pilloried for doing the same thing. And the protestor would have been an eternal progressive hero and martyr.

  7. Robert White says:

    I’m not attempting to incur the wrath of our esteemed host, but the Shawinigan Handshake was a low moment for Prime Minister Chretien IMHO.

    I love PM Chretien as much as anybody, but he gets a 2 out of 10 for this Canadian Heritage Moment, frankly.

    He still gets an A+ overall grade.


    • Douglas W says:

      A+ overall …. even when he almost lost the country?

      Or, was that moment not a big deal to you?

      Charest saved his political backside.

      • Robert White says:

        Close only counts in horseshoes. I was never worried for even for one second.


        • Robert,

          You weren’t? I can tell you that I was shitting blue bricks and sweating a river. It was quite simply excruciating mentally. Will never, ever, forget that night. We came within less than a whisker of losing the country. Wow.

          • Robert White says:

            If God ever allowed my country to break apart there would be Hell to pay as I would join the other side.

            As the son of a Chartered Accountant I, for one, know that God can’t afford that in the budget.


  8. Gilbert says:

    A+ for nearly losing Quebec? An A+ for staying too long, for Alfonso Gagliano and the sponsorship scandal? Wow!

    • Robert White says:

      Okay, Gagliano and the sponsorship scandal was bad, but Prime Minister Chretien spoke out against the Iraq invasion, and did not participate by sending our military.

      And I always got a chuckle out of his approach to politics, and trusted him implicitly to take care of the country. No politician ever instilled such a sense of competence as Chretien in my not so humble opinion.

      I honestly liked the guy and thought he was a great PM.

      I’m biased against Cons & Republicans. Never liked them at all.


      • Robert,

        Does that include those Conservatives not cheap enough not to buy you a drink? LOL.

        • Robert White says:

          Ronald, I get your point as you are an acceptable Conservative, but I really view you as a disgruntled Liberal because I know you are far too smart to actually want to be a Conservative willingly.

          And if you really were a Harper supporter I’d like to think you had food poisoning and were not of sound mind back then.

          You should really consider becoming a Liberal again.



          • Robert,

            Well, the family tree on the O’Dowd side goes way back Conservative and Progressive Conservative all the way to my grandfather who was appointed to his job when Mackenzie King was given the day off by the voters. The MacKenzie side, on the other hand, were dyed-in-the-wool Liberals as were Granny’s Boulanger gang.

            This incarnation of the CPC is closer to the PCs and so I can live with that and support it. However, when Harper held sway, it was dislike from Day One and so I ended up as part of the Jamieson cabal, before eventually decamping to the Liberals. To bore you even further, I will die a Red Tory with a smile on my face, unless COVID-19 gets me first of course.

Leave a Reply to Ronald O'Dowd Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *