Thursday, August 21, 2008

Chretien Slams Harper Over Not Attending Opening Ceremonies in Beijing

When I spoke with my brother over the phone a couple of days ago, he asked me if I had heard what former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien had said about current Prime Minister Stephen Harper. I told him that I hadn't heard.

It turns out Chretien blasted Harper for not attending the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics earlier this month. "We established very good relations, relatively speaking, with China," Chretien said, "And suddenly, you break off the bridge. It would have been easy just to be there."

Well, I don't know that Harper's absence "broke off the bridge". David Emerson, Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs, attended the opening ceremonies. But it is certainly true Harper is far more critical of the Chinese Communists than Chretien. Indeed, Harper publicly had an audience with the Dalai Lama last October which did not please Beijing. In 2006, Harper also spearheaded an effort to bestow honorary Canadian citizenship onto the Dalai Lama which has been noted the Liberals fully supported.

When my brother told me of the ex-Liberal Prime Minister's defense of China I immediately thought of Chretien's business interests as he has been in the private sector since leaving politics in 2002. Chretien does work for the Montreal based Power Corporation and has travelled to China on a number of occasions on its behalf.

Jason Kenney, a Minister in Harper's Conservative government, said as much. "I think it reconfirms that Mr. Chretien and the Liberals have always pursued a policy in this area calculated to their own personal financial interests and those of rich and powerful friends," said Kenney, "It's no mistake that Mr. Chretien was calculating his retirement income in his relations in this area...a few weeks after he left the premiership that he was being signed on as a consultant to multinational companies with commercial interests in this area."

Americans will remember Chretien as the Prime Minister who refused to send troops to Iraq and whom one of his advisers referred to President Bush as "a moron."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your article had great conservative clout up until that last paragraph. Yes, Chretien was the guy who refused to send troops to Iraq. And we Canadians couldn't be prouder.