Jean Who? -

Jean Who?


Former Canadian prime minister Jean Chrétien is given one paragraph in former British prime minister Tony Blair’s new 700-page autobiography, A Journey. Not to worry, though;  Chrétien also features prominently in a photograph. Unfortunately, it would appear no one associated with the book was able or remembered to identify him, so in the photograph’s caption he isn’t named.


Jean Who?

  1. Jean Chrétien will never be seen as an international player because he clearly wasn't one. He had neither the inclination nor the capability.

    One paragraph in Blair's 700-page autobiography?

    Sounds about right.

    I would guress that the paragraph refers to Chrétien authorizing commercial planes to land in Canada on the day of the 9/11 tragedy. That's about as close as Chrétien ventured into making the world a better and safer place.

    • I bet you're a very pleasant fellow to be around in real life.

      • Says the guy who calls people retards.

    • "One paragraph in Blair's 700-page autobiography? "

      I have not read book, so I can't say for sure, but it does not sound like 9/11 was even mentioned. No policy focus on Chretien at all.

      I think Blair wrote about Chretien because of similarities between Blair/Brown and Chretien/Martin.

      "While it's no surprise that Tony Blair likens his fraught relationship with Gordon Brown to that between their Canadian counterparts Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin, the British Prime Minister's newly published memoirs put a new, conspiratorial spin on the ruptured world of prime ministers and their finance-minister successors."

    • jarrid…..or perhaps it was as a result of Chretien saying the U.S. brought the attacks on themselves with some of their foreign policy decisions.

      • Yes, that was a foreign policy gem.

        Wasn't that on the 2nd anniversary of 9/11?
        Super classy.

        • True nonetheless.

          • Emily's view does represent an unfortunate trait of the Canadian character which she shares along with many Canadians and which no doubt contributed in part to Chretien's sad comment: smugness.

            Because of our good fortune at being protected by the most benign foreign power in the history of this planet, Canada is sheltered from many evils. The funny thing is that we are self-satisfied by this state of affairs. We think we're so special and that this is all our own doing.

            If only people good be like us, we keep telling ourselves, the world would be a better place.

            The counterpart to the ugly American is the smug Canadian.

          • Yeah yeah yeah….more reciting of worshipful rightwing propaganda.

            Your 'benign foreign power' is the only country that's ever invaded us, and the only country to ever use nukes in the world.

            The US has intervened in a multitude of nations, squashed revolutions, installed and propped up dictators, and taken things for their own use.

            Sooner or later there was bound to be blowback.

            It has nothing to do with us.

          • And is the greatest force for good that the world has ever known.

            You forgot that part Emily.

          • LOL yeah, Rome thought that too.

            It's a sad thing when you believe your own propaganda….drinking bathwater I believe it's called.

          • Two points I like you to counter then.

            1) The U.S Constitution enshrined the idea of state/church seperation into the western ethos. Would you not admit that this is an achievment for freedom that is unmatched in history by anything but the Magna Carta?

            2) Since the Cold War was won, hundreds of millions of people have been lifted out of poverty. The is largely credited to U.S style capitalism in my mind. It has eased the suffering in places like China, India, and Brazil tremedously.

          • The UK learned to separate church and state centuries ago. It stopped the stake burnings.

            The US constitution, like our own, was based on the Magna Carta.

            The Cold War wasn't 'won', and people have always been lifted out of poverty. The lowering of barriers between the US, Russia and China, along with the web, have allowed globalization to leap ahead.

            The US didn't invent capitalism.

          • Your history of state church separation is faulty.

            Secularism wasn't even a word, until 50 years after Jefferson coined the "wall of separation".

            Neither the U.K, nor Canada separates church and state in their respective constitutions. If you think I'm wrong about that, then go find me the clause that says differently. It would save you some time to know that it doesn't exist.

            So what say you? Is Thomas Jefferson a great man, and a hero for freedom? I won't be tossing out that baby, with the George W bathwater.

          • No, it isn't faulty. Nor did I suggest they became secular.

            Canada and the UK have followed the separation of church and state concept. The UK from the time of Elizabeth 1, and us from the beginning in spite of the efforts of various PMs who've tried to sneak it in.

            The US constitution doesn't separate them either. It simply bans a 'state religion'.

            Jefferson was a deist and a slave owner.

          • Is being a deist really a character flaw in your view? That's pretty intolerant IMO.

            As to being a slave owing racist. That is a rather large character flaw, but understandable when you put it in the context of his times. Let's also not forget that Jeffersons words "All men are created equal" were to later give legal justification to the civil rights movement.

            Lincoln was a notable racist as well, but that doesn't mean that he was not a great president, who fought for freedom.

            If you judge historical figures based on todays morality, you are not going to find many good people at all. This does explain your bias towards Rome thou.

          • I said he was a deist. I said nothing about that being good or bad.

            All the founding fathers were slave owners….which defied their own 'all men are created equal' and 'conceived in liberty'

            'Fighting for freedom' is a big value for you apparently. Meaningless to others.

            I don't have a 'bias' towards Rome. Rome massacred millions and held back progress for about 2000 years.

          • I think you are a little confused as far as how long the Roman empire lasted, but that's not suprising.

            Putting deist and slave owner as two descriptions of Jeffereson is pretty clearly implying that deism is a strike against him, but whatever.

            I sure glad that moral paragon Elizabeth I didn't own any slaves. Did she?

            I find your anti-Americanism to be so selective, as to almost be at the point of racism. I'm happy to concede that America has had some detremental effects around the globe. You are not willing to concede even the most self-evident good in it.

            I see my history lesson is not doing you much good. Being blinded by unreasoning hatred must suck..

          • I'm not in the least confused.

            You're not dealing in history, you're dealing in mythology.

            The most effective weapon the US has is Hollywood….it's a giant propaganda machine…and you've slurped up every bit of it.

          • Emily, I'm not the one who's trying to peddle that Jefferson had nothing to do with state/church separation, or that it doesn't even exist in the U.S constitution. You are demonstrably wrong on both counts.

            That article I posted is not part of Hollywood propaganda, and it cleary shows Jefferson as the most fundamental figure in the history of state/church separation.

            To show you why this bothers me let me give you a hypothetical>

            You and I are debateing the civil rights movement, and I claim that MLK had little or nothing to do with it, only white guys like LBJ. You would be forgiven for thinking that I was biased against black people.

            Replace civil rights with secularization, MLK with Jefferson, blacks with Americans; and then you have our little exchange in a nutshell. As I said, I really think your anti-Americanism is so deep that it is about as attractive as racism. It's close to the same thing in my book.

          • You are the one making exaggerated claims….about the US, about history, and about what I've said.

            You asked what I thought about Jefferson being a 'hero of freedom', and his position on separation of church and state. I replied he was a deist, a slaveowner, and the US doesn't separate church and state. Not in their constitution, nor in their everyday practices.

            Replace mythology with history, worship with reality, misquotes with accurate ones, and your guessing about my beliefs and motivations ….with discussing the topic, not me.

          • You are with fruitcakes like Glen Beck, and Sarah Palin when you claim that the U.S constitution does not separate church and state. I hope you enjoy being in that esteemed company, with your knowledge of American history.

            Here's the proof, by Jeffersons own hand.

            "I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church & State."

            That's pretty clear words about what the 1st ammendment is, from the guy who wrote it. I'm sure you and Beck have some evidence that will just blow this out of the water. Let's see it.

          • The US constitution does not separate church and state no matter what Jefferson said in his private writings.

            Washington in fact said the US was not a christian nation. That didn't make it into the constitution either.

            I'm an atheist, and sane….and therefore have zip interest in either Beck or Palin.

          • I have never seen anyone on the left argue that the 1st amendment does not separate church and state. That arguement is exclusive to the American religous right (and Canadian America haters apparently)

            I don't understand why you'd think that, or why you'd want to win that arguement.

            Since the Supreme Court of the U.S agrees with my (and Jeffersons) take on the first amendment, not yours (and Becks), it should still work out alright as to the U.S remaining a secular nation.

          • Another mistake on your part….I'm not on the left either.

            The argument is easy. What does the amendment say?

            And the Supreme court is fine with one nation, 'under God' being tossed in the oath, so don't count on them. LOL

            The US is not remotely a secular nation.

          • I suppose someone as bigotted towards the Yanks as you are, would consider them theocratic.

            You don't hate America because of what they are, just your strawman version of them.

            You are ignorant about the nature of the 1st amendment because you chose to be. I lead you right to the water of Jeffersons letter, and yet you still refuse to drink in any reality. Or offer any refutation except to read it.

            If Jefferson didn't know what the first ammendment meant, then nobody does. He clearly outlines what it means in that letter.

            You are wrong. There is no doubt about it.

          • Ahhh the minute you lose, you attack me.

            This is what the first amendment actually says:

            "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof"

            Not a peep about 'separating church and state'.

            And yes, for the most part the US is a militant theocracy.

          • AJR79, are you familiar with the word "Emilied"?

          • 'Emilied'….the point at which someone loses an argument with Emily, and attacks her personally instead.

            Something that wouldn't occur if I posted as 'Eric'.

          • Yes, I'm a misogynist to boot.

          • I was replying to Crit_Reasoning, not you.

          • Yes, in your response to him you implyed that I "attacked you" because you are a woman.

            Pretty low blow, and untrue.

          • No, I was replying to his comment about being 'Emilied'. I neither said nor implied anything about you.

            Stop whining fergawdsake.

          • I am now.

          • Getting a lobotomy is more enlightening.

          • Last try. If you are truly atheist, and value the heritage of the enlightenment, Jefferson should be one of your heros as well. Deists like he and Lincoln were the fruits of that tree.

            There is no atheist that I have ever heard speak about the 1st ammendment the way you do. If you value church/state separation here an in the U.S, I would stop and think before spitting on it's champions.

            Every atheist has (or should have) a deep respect for Jefferson. I have heard nothing but praise for him from prominant atheists.

            Don't believe me? Here you go.


          • I've been an atheist for over 40 years. Not deist, atheist.

            So what Jefferson said or did means nothing to me.

            Hitchens is not an atheist.

          • The man is a hero to atheists around the world, including me.

            You are the only one I've ever met who would tarnish his legacy so. If I weren't atheist, I wouldn't have been nearly as upset that you did.

            Any atheist that would argue against the clear intention of the 1st ammendment, to separate church and state is not very useful in a debate about religous freedom.

            I'm inviting you to join with me in celebrating a hero for the secularist cause. You are handing back to me misconceptions about the founding of America, that are cooked up by religious theocrat types.

            Whose side are you on?

          • She's on the opposite side. No matter what you say, whether true or false, she will dispute it.

          • "Hitchens is not an atheist"

            Oh I get it now. You have no idea what an atheist is.

          • Watch and learn.

            You are making theocratic arguements, which I'm sure you don't want to do. This is the reality, and a lot more plesant to boot.

            You shouldn't cling to this wrong idea you have about the Bill of Rights, if you truly care about keeping government secular.

          • I'm sorry hon, but Hitchens is not an atheist.

            'Hitchens describes himself as an anti-theist and believer in the philosophical values of the Enlightenment.'

            An anti-theist is not an atheist, and neither are you by sound of it.

            And I haven't the slightest interest in Jefferson…a diest American dead for 3 centuries, who isn't a hero to anyone but Americans.

            It's also not a question of 'keeping' govt secular, it's a question of 'making' govt secular.

          • You might be the thickest person I've ever met.

            In 2007 Hitchens published, "The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Non-Believer".

            An anti-theist, is an atheist who is openly hostile towards religion. Hitchens is both an atheist and an anti-theist. They are not mutually exclusive.

            I'm tired of debateing someone who has no intrerest in truth, only trying desperately rewrite history to suit her view of the world.

            Ciao for now.

          • Look. Up. Chris. Hitchens.

            Look. Up. Anti-Theist.

            Since you've given up, you now have the time to do so.

          • Right after you,

            Look. Up. Not. Mutually. Exclusive.

          • They are quite different.

            Now go back to playing with your blocks.

            Especially the one between your ears.

          • As someone who is both an atheist, and an anti-theist, I'm telling you they are not far apart at all.

            Stay classy thou.

          • Sure…yer a nutbar.

            Go play.

          • "Emily proclaimed, "I'm sorry hon, but Hitchens is not an atheist."

            I hear that there is no gravity in space, do you know anything about that?


          • Really? Well I'm sure you'd know all about gravity, being a lightweight and all.

          • *sniff*

            Why are you attacking me personally? Is it because of my gender?

          • No, it's because you're a human helium balloon.

          • That was an interesting video you linked to containing quotes from free-thinkers.

            But I think some quotes were missing.

            For instance, was there not once a wise thinker who said, "Man, without Reason, is Emily"?

          • LOL ahhh you love your backwards comments.

          • Moving in the wrong direction, albeit disorienting, can give one a unique perspective.

            However, in hind-sight, I don't recommend it.

            It seems no matter how hard one works to get ahead, he is always falling behind.

          • The 1st ammendment prevents the government from establishing a state religion, which prevents it from favouring one religion over another. You can trust my history on that over that of Glenn Beck. I think it's pretty shallow of you not to give Jefferson his just due, just because he's a Yank.

            While you make a somewhat valid point that Elizabeth I did move forward religous freedom, but it never would have crossed her mind that church and state should be separate. Have you ever heard of the Church of England? That would not be allowed in the U.S.

            "Canada and the U.K have followed the separation of chuch and state concept."

            You are correct, and we "followed" the U.S example to get there. It's not honest to think otherwise

          • I never listen to Glenn Beck, so you're safe. However the US constitution doesn't say 'separation of church and state'.

            Elizabeth 1 didn't carry on the stake-burning for heresy so popular with her father and older sister.

            We 'followed' England, not the US. The US had the revolution, we didn't.

          • Not burning people at the stake, is a far cry from separating church and state. You can see the difference, right?

          • Elizabeth 1 WAS the state.

            She did not follow in the footsteps of her father and sister.

          • She was also the head of the Church. Chuch/State separation Fail.

          • Sigh. She had her religion and allowed others to have theirs…without ordering them off to the stake for heresy.

            They didn't have the state religion you're talking about until later in history.

          • Wrong yet again Emily. The Church of England was created by Henry VIII, who was Elizabeth Is father.

            Is there anything that you do know?

          • Yes, it was.

            But the requirement that the Monarch and all other royals must be Anglican didn't come in until much later in history.

            And Elizabeth didn't burn others at the stake for being catholic.

            Well, I know that your attempts to be a hotdog are failing miserably. LOL

          • Rome was largely a force for good in the world too. You don't think so?

          • Good lord, no!

          • I'll also add that they are far from perfect.

          • I never said that they were benign Emily, so I'm not sure why you put that in quote marks.

            I say a "benign" foreign policy would probably stem from weak character thou, and a high tolerance for evil in the the world.

          • Jarrid said 'by the most benign foreign power in the history of this planet'.

            A benign foreign policy does not stem from a 'weak character', and no one elected the US the world morality police.

          • Even if I agreed with the sentiment, there is a time and place to voice such opinions. Old Jean didn't seem to get that, and neither do you.

          • LOL anything to take a shot at Chretien eh?

          • you are truly a miserable ……………brought it on themselves eh? You are just a hair from being a truther, right? you know you want to say it, come on…

          • Well the whole world knows that.

            You're waaaay too late to the party.

    • How the heck did he manage a paragraph?

  2. The book exists to glorify Blair. There are many people left out.

    And many more who wish they had been, like the Queen.

    • Yes Emily, an autobiography generally is written with the intent of glorifying its author.


      • Cor….not like this one.

  3. 'Mr. Blair characterizes “my friend” Mr. Chrétien as “a very wise, wily and experienced old bird, great at international meetings, where he could be counted on to talk sense, and, as Canadians often are, firm and dependable without being pushy. All in all, a good guy and a very tough political operator not to be underestimated.”'

  4. Ah Jean, I remember him fondly as the old bird and fierce campaigner grasped my throat with his wily, grisled hands as my thoughts turned to his wise and tough plitical operation. Ahhhh, good times for sure.

    • At least we knew where stood with Chretien on foreign matters and domestic (his way or the highway). As a once PC supporter I'm left wondering why the current Conservative lead government bothers pretending they have a political philosophy.

    • Poor boy, next time he should just take the pie to the face, huh?

      When they took your balls, did you at least develop a glorious singing voice?

  5. If there is one area where Michael Ignatieff is a vast improvement over his Liberal leader predecessors, it is in the area of foreign policy.

    Ignatieff isn't tainted with the Trudeau's dictator-friendly leanings which coloured people like Chretien's view of the universe. Iggy learned international realpolitik in London and New York. Leaders in England and the U.S.A. deal with the real world unlike Trudeau's naive fairyland where evil does not exist and need not be confronted.

    On important matters of foreign policy, Michael Ignatieff and Stephen Harper are two peas in a pod. And that is good for Canada's contribution to world peace and stability, however modest that role may be in the grand scheme of things.

    • And yet we're leaving Afghanistan high and dry.

      Time for some new peas.

      • We succeeded in Afghanistan about 8 years ago. It wasn't until after we got there that the mission changed.

        • Out of Afghanistan and high time – 8 years after its time as a matter of detail.

  6. The say all but do nothing is growing weak. If we have a policy agenda for a military or foreign affairs then it's time to see it through instead of pretending every spending announcement is something new. Either we have the ability to influence global matters or we might as well stop pretending we can.
    Given the waste basket of domestic policy ideas put forth the least we could have is a globally minded policy or two. Even if it makes the Europeans/US unhappy.

    • We did spend 65 billion for jets so we can appear relevant. Personally, I'd rather be irrelevant to the US and keep the 65B. That's on top of taking the Brit's worthless submarines.

      I know, kind of missing your point, but we're always trying to fight above our weight class and what do we get for our troubles? Meaningless pats on the head or scorn.

  7. We're not really getting our knickers in a knot about whether we get sufficient mention in an autobiography by an ex-British Prime Minister, are we? ARE WE? Once again, Canadians' insecurities about how others regard us comes to the fore!

    Look, let's acknowledge something and explode a bit of mythology while we're at it. Canada was, and to a certain "economic" extent remains, a colony! Once we were a colony of the British and French; currently we're an economic colony of whoever has invested the most. That means the US, although Japan and China seem to be catching up.

    Which perhaps explains our prediliction for "touching our forelock" to our colonial "masters" and constantly seeking external approval.

    • Yup, that's what it's about. And most posters have decided that since Chretien only got a paragraph, Canada sucks….and possibly should go blow somebody up to 'raise our profile'.

  8. Canada is NOT a world power, no matter how much the current mythology says it is. With a population of only 35 or so million, and an economy overly dependant on foreign investment (to a MUCH larger extent, especially in "strategic" industries than most "developed" nations would allow), we're barely even a "middle" power. And this situation exists in spite of whatever restrictions are implemented by the Foreign Investment Review Agency and similar bodies.

  9. Canada is essentially an "adjunct" power that tends to support the economic and political interests of those who have most heavily invested in "our" economy. That's NOT to say we haven't made significant and important contributions, often "punching above our weight" in institutions like the United Nations, the WTO and the G8/G20, or in taking a leadership(or at least brokerage) role in representing the interests of "less developed" nations. And we HAVE made significant contributions militarily as well. Sometimes we have done this independantly, but most often with the tacit approval of bigger and more powerful countries.

    • Canada is ideally suited to our current era of multi-polarity and globalization.

      • Yes, I agree. But being "ideally suited" is a benefit to Canada and Canadians, and doesn't necessarily translate into "power" or "leadership". We're a good example that other nations may or may not choose to follow, we provide a good "model", but we're far from "perfect", and other nations also see the endemic problems of our system. Furthermore, the historical path to ANY particular model is circuitous and often complicated by socially and economically specific decisions and values that are not necessarily easily emulated or even possible by other societies and economic entities.

        Sometimes, as the farmer says to the lost stranger asking for direction, "You can't get there from here!". Of COURSE you can, but doing so on a societal basis requires a whole lot of upheaval and dislocation at a cost that may ultimately be too high for THAT society.

        • We've often provided leadership, and 'soft power' is actually the strongest one of all.

          • Well, I think "soft power" is along the lines of "moral suasion" in Canada's case, and you're right, it can be the strongest power of all…IF the individual or society involved accepts the moral values underpinning ones argument.. However, if they don't…

            Perhaps I'm too much a "relativist", but I can't and won't assume that MY (or Canada's) moral values can or will necessarily resonate with other individuals or societies, especially in instances where the cultural, political, and economic background mitigate against adopting my "favoured" values.

            WRT "leadership", yes, we have provided it, but have we ever really done so in the face of serious opposition from our colonial "sponsors"? I would suggest that we have, on several memorable occaisions to be sure, been "allowed" to assume the leadership on various issues.

          • I don't see it as having anything to do with 'moral values'. They are cultural.

            It has to do with reason, something all societies can understand.

            Peace-keeping has never been a favorite of either the UK or the US….and our refusal to go into Iraq wasn't looked on favorably by either of those countries either.

          • I suspect appeals to "reason" are also culturally determined. Have you read "Voltaire's Bastards"? John Raulston Saul makes a pretty good argument along this line. And I think that what may seem "reasonable" to us in a wealthy, even complacent society may not resonate with those who live in societies where basic survival is a daily struggle.

            No, peace-keeping has NOT ever been a favourite of the UK or the US, but both have been hegemonic powers whose interests lie, and lay, in maintaining the status quo that favours them. Canada's role in peace-keeping has not constituted a major impediment to this, and because Canada is really NOT a world power that represents a "challenge" to their dominant position, they've "allowed", or at least tolerated it.. I think that Canada's "reasonableness" has often cast us in the postion of the "good cop", and may even have been endorsed, or even sponsored, by progressive elements in the contempraneous hegemonic power.

          • As to refusing to go to Iraq, neither the US nor the UK made a sufficiently cogent argument for going to Iraq, and Chretian recognized that, and also recognized that Canadians wouldn't accept a half-assed justification for that (to his credit). His decision was also made easier by the fact that our armed forces at that time were quite ill-prepared to pay a meaningful role in that "conflict".

            Let's also not forget that there was significant and vocal opposition to the Iraq "adventure" even within the states(UK and US) that sponsored it.

          • By and large, Emily, the peace keeping missions have been Pearson's dream and the Forces nightmare. Poor terms of reference. Structurally useless because of the necessary approval of the "peace keeped" Only get approved if none of the security council disagree. And so on and so on. Pearson's useless little show. having spent sopme time at it onece upon a time I get sick of the Lefts'barfing on about Canada's wonderfujl role in peacekeeping. An underequipped force stuck in the middle of two second rate parties who don't give a s**t if anyone is hurt. It was the only thing the Canadians couold do at the time -poorly equipped with crapped out equipment because of Trudeau and Chretien's starving the Forces. Our refusal to go into Iraq was the one time that Chretien showed some common sense. .

  10. All this is to say is that while Canada is a great country to live in, with enormous (if currrently insufficiently realized) potential, we would do better to build on our strengths, address our weaknesses, and generally "tend to our own garden" rather than indulge in really unattractive expressions of insecurity that probably leave the "impartial" observer shaking their heads in dismay and disbelief.

    • I like that POO

  11. Canada was essentially invisible in world affairs with Chretien at the helm. So why would Blair write about Chretien? What is there to write about?

  12. And yet he was probably the most successful politicanof his time in a western democrary. »Others would be wise to study him,.

    • Come ON! You mean the amount his Quebec friends took in the scandals of the day? He was crafty like a fox maybe but certainly not what you said.

  13. It`s also worth noting that when Chretien and Blair both had to make the biggest call of their careers it was teh exact same one.

    Jean was dead right, and Bliar dead wrong.

  14. Mike…how does one measure " the most successful politicanof his time in a western democrary"? Is it that he got re-elected time after time? Was he the most successful at formulating policy and ensuring it got properly implemented? What's the metric?

    I happen to appreciate Chretien as Prime Minister because by the time he got there, he had been in just about every important portfolio as Minister; he knew his stuff, and his staff. But I still don't know how one can determine whether or not he was "the most successful"!