Sunday, October 14, 2007

Chrétien Sought Third Term as PM out of Spite

When Jean Chrétien found out in the spring of 2000, that Paul Martin and his "gang of self-serving goons" had met at a Toronto airport hotel, to presumably discuss pushing Chrétien out of office, he then decided to stay on for a third term as Prime Minister of Canada. The alledged scheming by Martin and his supporters not only hurt Chrétien, but angered both him and his wife Aline. They both felt that Chretien, the PM, and the husband, was not going to give in to Martin's ambitious plans.

This revelation is one of the highlights of a new Chrétien book, My Years as Prime Minister. Politics sure gets personal, and leaves wounds everywhere.

Chrétien also lambastes Martin for Canada's current role in Afghanistan, being on "the killing fields", as he puts it. He also paints Martin as a very selfish man, who passed responsibility for criticized economic decisions, like $700 million to farmers, to the Prime Minister, when he himself, had suggested less be given to them.

There will probably be more fallout from this, as Martin's spokesperson said it was too bad that Chrétien has opened past wounds.

Apparently from Chrétien's writing, Martin certainly seems to be the bad guy. It is also revealing about Chrétien, and this is not really a big surprise, that he stayed on just to spite Paul Martin.

By trying to force me to go, they aroused my competitive spirit, ignited my anger, and inadvertently gave me the blessing I needed from Aline (his wife) to fight for a third term. For that, ironically, I owed Paul Martin a great deal of thanks.

Ok, that's good for you Mr. Chrétien, I guess, but is that a good example to set for aspiring leaders - to stay on out of spite? Shouldn't the reason for anyone being a leader, be because they have something to offer, are perhaps fresh, have a vision for the nation, and a passion to see it through?

Maybe Paul Martin is writing a chapter about how Canada just missed dividing, by a hair, in the 1995 Quebec referendum. That was under Chrétien's watch. Talk about close voting, it was 50.58% "No" to 49.42% "Yes". The Brian "Captain Canada" Tobin led "Love Quebec" rally, may have converted an important number of the Yes voters. Martin could have fun analyzing Chrétien's legacy.

1 comment:

NPC said...

Chrétien's memoirs should not be put aside lightly. They should be thrown with great force. I'll give him 5 pies out of five in the face for that one. I read it from cover to cover but not in between.

We all know there are no angels in the political game. Don't give us that holier than thou stuff.

Let he who is innocent cast the first stone.

How about old Shanwinigate there "Johnny be Good"? What chapter is that in?

The controversy dubbed "Shawinigate" stemmed from a phone call the prime minister made to the federally owned Business Development Bank of Canada in 1996. Chrétien was lobbying for a loan for Yvon Duhaime, the friend who bought Auberge Grand-Mère. The BDC would eventually approve a $615,000 loan for Duhaime, having rejected a previous $2 million loan request. The fateful call was made in 1996 but it turned out Chrétien wasn't paid for the properties until 1999.

Check out the full story at this great archival cbc website: