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Jean Chrétien

Jean Chrétien 2010.jpg
Chrétien in 2010
20th Prime Minister of Canada
In office
November 4, 1993 – December 12, 2003
Monarch Elizabeth II
Governor General Ray Hnatyshyn
Roméo LeBlanc
Adrienne Clarkson
Deputy Sheila Copps (1993–1996, 1996–1997)
Herb Gray (1997–2002)
John Manley (2002–2003)
Preceded by Kim Campbell
Succeeded by Paul Martin
Leader of the Opposition
In office
December 21, 1990 – November 4, 1993
Monarch Elizabeth II
Governor General Ray Hnatyshyn
Prime Minister Brian Mulroney
Kim Campbell
Preceded by Herb Gray
Succeeded by Lucien Bouchard
Leader of the Liberal Party
In office
June 23, 1990 – December 12, 2003
Preceded by John Turner
Succeeded by Paul Martin
Personal details
Joseph Jacques Jean Chrétien

January 11, 1934 (1934-01-11) (age 87)
Shawinigan, Quebec, Canada
Political party Liberal
Spouse(s) Aline Chaîné (m. 1957)
Children 3, including France Chrétien Desmarais
Relatives Michel Chrétien (brother)
Raymond Chrétien (nephew)
Alma mater Université Laval
Occupation Lawyer

Joseph Jacques Jean Chrétien PC OM CC QC (born January 11, 1934) is a Canadian politician. He was the 20th Prime Minister of Canada from 1993 to 2003 and the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada from 1990 to 2003. During his career, he was a Member of Parliament (MP) in the House of Commons of Canada for over 35 years.

Chrétien was born in Shawinigan, Quebec. He studied law at Université Laval. He became a politician in 1963, when he was first elected to the House of Commons. While Pierre Trudeau was Prime Minister, Chrétien was a member of his cabinet. He was the Minister of Justice, Minister of Finance, and the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. He was also the Deputy Prime Minister when John Turner was Prime Minister.

Chrétien was elected leader of the Liberal Party in 1990. The Liberals won 177 seats in the House of Commons in the 1993 election, meaning they were the largest party and could form a government. He was re-elected two times in 1997 and 2000 and led a majority government the entire time he was Prime Minister.

Chrétien retired in 2003. He was replaced as the Prime Minister and leader of the Liberal Party by Paul Martin.

Beginning of career

For the 1963 federal election, Chrétien was chosen to be the Liberal Party's candidate for the riding of Saint-Maurice—Laflèche in Shawinigan. He was elected in this riding and became a Member of Parliament for the first time. After this, he became the parliamentary secretary for the Prime Minister at the time, Lester B. Pearson.

Beginning in 1966, he was the parliamentary secretary for Mitchell Sharp, who was the Minister of Finance at the time. He spent a longer amount of time working with Sharp than he did with Pearson.

Chrétien was chosen by Pearson to be the Minister of National Revenue in January 1968.

In Trudeau's second cabinet

The Liberal Party lost the 1979 federal election. The Progressive Conservatives formed a very short government led by Joe Clark. After Trudeau and the Liberals won the election the year after, Trudeau chose Chrétien to become the Minister of Justice.

Chrétien was a very important person in the 1980 Quebec referendum, when there was a referendum on whether Quebec should leave Canada. He fought very hard for the federal government and was against Quebec leaving Canada.

As Leader of the Opposition

When Chrétien won the Liberal Party leadership election, the Liberals had the second-most seats in the House of Commons. Because of this, he also became the Leader of the Opposition. At first, he had many problems as the leader. For example, some Quebec Liberal MPs chose to leave the party after he became the leader.

Prime Minister, 1993–2003

1993 election

When Brian Mulroney retired in 1993, he was replaced as the Prime Minister and as the leader of the Progressive Conservative Party by Kim Campbell. She was a part of Mulroney's cabinet at the time. Because elections in Canada have to happen at least once every five years, there was going to be an election in October of that year.

One of Chrétien's promises was that a Liberal government would remove the Goods and Service Tax. It was created by Mulroney's government and was not very popular among the Canadian public. Chrétien also promised that they would negotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) a second time, and to bring down Canada's deficit.

Chrétien and the Liberal Party won the election. The Liberals won 177 seats and became the largest party in the House of Commons. The Progressive Conservatives lost almost all their seats in that election, winning only two seats.

Political views

Chrétien was part of the Liberal Party's left-wing in the beginning of his career. While he was Prime Minister, however, he was very neoliberal and fiscally conservative.

Personal life

His parents were Wellie Chrétien and Marie Boisvert.

Chrétien married Aline Chaîné in 1957. They both knew each other when they were young in Shawinigan. Chaîné became one of the people Chrétien trusted the most when making important decisions. They had 2 sons and 1 daughter.

Offices held

Parliament of Canada
Preceded by
Herb Gray
Leader of the Official Opposition
Succeeded by
Lucien Bouchard
Preceded by
Deputy Leader of the Official Opposition
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Gérard Lamy
Member for Saint-Maurice—Laflèche
District abolished
New district Member for Saint-Maurice
Succeeded by
Gilles Grondin
Preceded by
Fernand Robichaud
Member for Beauséjour
Succeeded by
Fernand Robichaud
Preceded by
Denis Pronovost
Member for Saint-Maurice
District abolished
Party political offices
Preceded by
John Turner
Leader of the Liberal Party
Succeeded by
Paul Martin
Preceded by
Allan MacEachen
Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party
Succeeded by
26th Ministry – Cabinet of Jean Chrétien
Cabinet post (1)
Predecessor Office Successor
Kim Campbell Prime Minister of Canada
Paul Martin
23rd Ministry – Cabinet of John Turner
Cabinet posts (2)
Predecessor Office Successor
Allan MacEachen Deputy Prime Minister of Canada
Erik Nielsen
Allan MacEachen Secretary of State for External Affairs
Joe Clark
22nd Ministry – Second cabinet of Pierre Trudeau
Cabinet posts (2)
Predecessor Office Successor
Marc Lalonde Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources
Gerald Regan
Jacques Flynn Minister of Justice
Mark MacGuigan
20th Ministry – First cabinet of Pierre Trudeau
Cabinet posts (5)
Predecessor Office Successor
Donald Stovel Macdonald Minister of Finance
John Crosbie
Don Jamieson Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce
Jack Horner
Charles Drury President of the Treasury Board
Bob Andras
Arthur Laing Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development
Judd Buchanan
cont'd from 19th Min. Minister of National Revenue
Jean-Pierre Côté
19th Ministry – Cabinet of Lester B. Pearson
Cabinet posts (2)
Predecessor Office Successor
Edgar Benson Minister of National Revenue
cont'd into 20th Min.
  Minister without Portfolio

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