With his official portrait about to be hung, Jean Chretien is philosophical.
They work hard, these guys,” the self-described “little guy from Shawinigan” said in an interview shortly before the portrait ceremony. “And you know, they are an honest crowd and everybody pictures them as a bunch of crooks. It’s very unfair.”
Public cynicism has mounted recently amid outrage over controversies like the Guergis-Jaffer affair and MPs’ refusal to allow the auditor general to scrutinize their expenses. Chretien blamed “gotcha” journalism for the cynicism. “Trivia is what attract the attention. The debate is very rarely now on policies, it’s always on all sorts of gotcha politics because the media need gotcha politics. They need blood.”
But he conceded politicians share the blame for bringing themselves into disrepute. “Members too, they’re stupid because they play the game. You know, they attack each other for nothing.”