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Copyright Graeme MacKay. Please check for MacKay's posting and publication rules by clicking here.
The Hamilton Spectator
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Thursday May 27, 2010
The official portrait of former prime minister Jean Chretien was unveiled Tuesday afternoon on Parliament Hill, an occasion Chretien used to honour the work of all parliamentarians.

"We have to show respect to the men and women who devote their life to public life," said Chretien, who was first elected to the House of Commons in 1963. "It was, for me, a great honour, first, to be a member of Parliament. It was a great moment for me. Coming under the Peace Tower today again, I could not help but remember all I've learned here."

Chretien, in his speech, even paid tribute to Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe, who, along with Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff and NDP Leader Jack Layton sat in the front row of a packed Parliament Hill committee room for the ceremony. Chretien said that while he and Duceppe disagreed on some fundamental issues, he could respect Duceppe for his chosen profession: politics.

"This a tough life but it is a very noble life," said Chretien. "So I just want to say thank you to all those parliamentarians for what you are doing for Canada. You're working hard. You're dedicated. Because there are a lot of women and men who have dedicated their life to Canada, we have a very good country, a great country."

While Stephen Harper was one of several opposition leaders to face Chretien across the aisle of the House of Commons, Harper never got the chance to campaign against him. Chretien's last two majorities came against Preston Manning and Stockwell Day during a period when Canada's conservatives were splitting their vote between Progressive Conservatives, the Reform Party and, later, the Canadian Alliance. Continued...


Chretien Portrait Unveiled
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