Friday, November 07, 2003


On what was almost certainly his last day in the House yesterday, the Prime Minister was unexpectedly required one more time to come to the defence of Canada. As the leaders of the opposition rose to pay respectful, humorous and even emotional tributes to the departing Prime Minister soveriegntist Gilles Duceppe took a parting shot at Chretien and his commitment to Canadian federalism.

As reported in The Star:

a hush fell over the chamber as he accused the prime minister of turning his back on the aspirations of his home province. And he warned Chretien not to enter retirement feeling like he'd beaten the independence movement.

"He's on a long list of prophets who predicted the death of the sovereignty movement. Like them, he is mistaken," Duceppe told the Commons.

"He will always be welcome in a sovereign Quebec - in his home, in Shawinigan."

The street fighting petit gars de Shawinigan who signed the Charter of Rights and defeated two soveriegnty referendums stood up and responded as he has for forty years.

He said, in part:
"I was always convinced of my pride in the French language, for my ancestors and of the best way to preserve those things that were very important for me. Only I always believed fundamentally that if the French fact has survived in the Americas, it's because there was a Canada."

As the Honourable Joe Clark put it in his tribute, "Chretien's commitment to Canada touched the hearts from coast to coast of even those who would never vote for him...It is palpable and powerful and part of what has made him seem so real, so genuine to ordinary people across the country."

A genuine, devoted, loyal Canadian indeed.

Posted by Matthew @ 12:26 a.m.