Aline Chrétien, the wife of former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien has died at the age of 86. Chrétien was an audidact, having spoken five languages and teaching herself piano in her 50s. Like her husband, she could also handle herself, defending the Prime Minsiter’s life at 24 Sussex when a knife-wielding intruder broke into the official residence; Chrétein wielded an Inuit stone carving until the RCMP arrived.
Tributes from across the political spectrum have been posted today to honour the life of the partner of Canada’s 20th Prime Minister.
Warren Kinsella is one of Jean Chretien greatest defenders and has a touching blog post about his memories of Aline.
In the thirty-plus years I have worked for him and supported him – because I have never really stopped doing either – there has been always one truth about Jean Chretien, Canada’s twentieth and best Prime Minister: he would have never been Prime Minister without her. He would have never achieved the great things he achieved without her.
But she loved people, and people loved her.
Former Harper minister and current Alberta Premier also memorialized Aline Chrétien.
Former Primer Minister Stephen Harper and his spouse Laureen Harper sent their condolences.
Kathleen Monk was a CTV producer and is now an NDP strategist and public affairs consultant at Earnscliffe. She remembers the ‘remarkable’ nature of Aline Chrétien.
Our sincere condolences to the Chrétien family and those who are grieving today.
Something in the PM’s official itinerary may have put Justin Trudeau’s testimony on the WE scandal in question.
Justin Trudeau testified before the House Standing Committee on Finance yesterday. Trudeau and his Chief of Staff Katie Telford helped committee members contruct a timeline for the conception, execution, and shelving of the Canada Student Service Grant — the program the Trudeau government was set to deploy in partnership with the WE group and the Kielburgers.
April 22nd – Government of Canada announces the Canada Summer Service Grant
May 4th – Sophie Gregoire Trudeau launches new podcast with the wife of Craig Kielburger, Leysa Cerswell Kielburger.
May 5th – The COVID cabinet committee considers and approves of the program and the partnership with the WE group. WE and its organization were able to start charging eligible expenses to the government of Canada on this date.
May 8th – Justin Trudeau says he found out about the WE affiliation with the CSSG and ‘pushed back’ given that his family had been closely involved with WE. (Trudeau told the committee he knew his family was receiving money from WE but didn’t know how much)
May 22nd – The cabinet approves the CSSG-WE group scheme.
June 23rd – The WE group and the Government of Canada sign the contribution agreement (sole-source contract). The contract covers expenses back to May 5th.
June 25th – Government makes the partnership public.
Let’s take a look at Justin Trudeau’s itinerary.
According to the Prime Minister’s own itinerary, on May 5th he was scheduled to attend the COVID committee. We know that the cabinet committee met on this date and approved the WE partnership according to the Trudeau/Telford testimony. Is this the cabinet committee or the general House of Commons committee? UPDATE: we’ve been informed that this refers to the House committee.
The question remains, did Justin Trudeau know about the WE group partnership before May 8th when he said he pushed back? The cabinet committee approved the partnership on May 5th and presumably would not have if Trudeau was having doubts about the ‘appearence’ of conflict of interest as he testified. Did he have doubts on May 8th or sooner? When did he know about the proposed WE partnership?
Regardless, those doubts seem to be moot anyway as the whole of cabinet approved the Government of Canada/WE group partnership on June 23rd. Trudeau/Telford say that the decision was ‘binary’: help the students and get into bed with WE, or let students go without.
Will Justin Trudeau be recalled to committee? Will committee members be satisfied with Justin Trudeau’s testimony on the WE scandal?
Alright, I admit it. When a journalist asked Liberal Finance Critic Scott Brison a devastatingly worded question there was no way to answer safely, I smiled.
Here’s the question put by Sun Media’s David Akin:
“The Liberal finance minister in Ontario was asked this week about corporate tax cuts, his program. The NDP there would like tax cuts to be cancelled and his response was, and I’m quoting now, ‘It is about the most short-sighted, dumb public policy pronouncement one can envision to cancel corporate tax cuts,’ and I wondered if he knows something you don’t.”
Frankly, any honest reporter would admit there is great pleasure in seeing a politician squirm because of your question. Upon hearing the question, Brison did squirm. Then his response went from refusing comment to repeating his line that the previous Liberal government in Ottawa cut corporate taxes when the government was in surplus and he called on the current Conservative crowd to adopt that same policy and cancel the cuts scheduled to go into effect next year. All in all, Brison made the best of a situation he couldn’t win. When your provincial cousins call your policy “short-sighted” and “dumb” what possible response can you give? Something tells me there were probably some interesting calls between Parliament Hill and Queen’s Park not long after Brison’s news conference.