Saturday, May 28, 2005

Keep Them Coming (PM Rankings Part IV)

Number 6-Jean Chrétien

The little guy from Shawanigan has been Prime Minister the majority of my life, and most of that time I was waiting for Paul the Great to take over. He has been taking a lot of hits in the past year for obvious reasons but at the end of the day we have to remember what he did for his country. Yes it was Paul Martin at Finance who has gotten all the credit for slaying the deficit but at the end of the day it was Chrétien who should get the real credit as he was the one who took the heat for the massive expenditure cuts and allowed his ministers the freedom to make the hard decisions.

Facing the greatest threat of Quebec Sovereignty to date Chrétien, led the ‘Non’ side to victory in the closest referendum hopefully we will ever see. The controversy of the Clarity Act gave legal legitimacy to sovereigntist movement but let us be honest it was a bold step and for that he deserves praise.

Smaller accomplishments such as the complete overhaul of Youth Justice and the creation of the Young Offenders Act (for good or for bad) will be something people will not remember but it was something that was badly needed. Winning three straight majorities is still a huge accomplishment even if it was against such a divided opposition. It was also Chrétien who first started us on the road to same-sex legislation, not Paul.

When he stood up in the House of Commons and announced Canada would not partake in the invasion of Iraq, it was a significant point in our modern history. In the deep integrated relationship we have with our southern neighbor, such a decision is much harder then it seems.

At the end of the day the Sponsorship Scandal and his frequent lapses in judgment when dealing with ethical issues will be his legacy but it doesn’t mean it should.

Number 5-Sir Robert Laird Borden

It is hard for us to understand what a strong leader during war means to a country. Borden will be best known and rightfully so as the Prime Minister who led us through World War I. The 1917 Conscription Crisis pitted English Canada and against Quebec one again. Borden offer for a wartime unity government was a bold one but ended up hurting him in Quebec even more when no Liberals from the province accepted his invitation to cabinet.

Borden though major accomplishments were in creating Canadian independence on the world stage. Up till then whenever Canada had fought in a war it had been under the British Flag (literally and figuratively) but Borden wanted Canada to have its own military. When the war was over Borden fought hard for Canada to have its own delegation at the Paris Peace Conference and ended up being the Canadian representative at the negotiations. This also allowed Canada to sign the treaty individually and thus be a member outright of the League.

Although for a majority of his term he was fighting off scandal after scandal Borden was a strong leader and one in which the country could rally around in a time of war. Something we really cannot comprehend today.


  • At 10:54 AM, Blogger Mark Francis said…

    How about Chretien's retrictions on political donations, and the new funding formula to political parties? That another achievement stands out for me too.

    Oh, how about most protestors strangled? ;)

  • At 6:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    Tapes released

    Read and Listen

  • At 11:23 AM, Blogger Jason Cherniak said…

    I have to say that I am surprised by that fact that you don't see to care how bad some of these PMs were for Canadian unity. Borden's push for conscription practically destroyed Canada! Meanwhile, we are now seeing the results of Chretien's lack of ethics. Also, he did not lead the victory in 1995 - Charest is the man that saved Canada.

    I really think that we have to start paying more attention to the blatantly stupid moves that some PMs come up.

  • At 3:48 PM, Blogger Political Nobody said…

    It was a war. You cannot blame Borden for the conscription issue. What were we suppose to do?

  • At 4:23 PM, Blogger Jason Cherniak said…

    Prepare the county in advance.

  • At 7:53 PM, Blogger Political Nobody said…

    Like all of Europe at the time...wasnt the one of the reasons for the war

  • At 2:26 PM, Anonymous Sadgoat said…

    Its fine to want to praise Chretien and Martin for all their "efforts" at balancing the budget. What we seem to forget is that if it weren't for the GST, there is no way that the deficit could have been wiped out. As much as we hate Brian Mulroney, he had the foresight and guts to see that there was only one way to solve Canada's deficit and that was with this additional tax. Mulroney was promptly thrown out on his rear end and Chretien got in with a promise to scrap the GST. In the end, Mulruney's foresight is what solved our debt problems. As much as I hate the GST...

  • At 4:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

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