Aline Chrétien has died

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.

Warren Kinsella

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.

Erin O’Toole elevates Candice Bergen and announces House Leadership Team

The newly elected leader of the Conservative Party Erin O’Toole announced his picks for his House Leadership Team today. This slate of MPs will represent the Pfficial Opposition in the House of Commons. They are:

Candice Bergen – Deputy Leader

Richard Martel – Quebec Political Lieutenant

Gérard Deltell – House Leader

Blake Richards – Whip

Karen Vecchio – Deputy House Leader

Alex Ruff – Deputy Whip

Tim Uppal – Caucus-Party Liason

Tom Kmiec – National Caucus Chair

Eric Duncan – QP Coordinator

Bergen’s appointment as deputy leader is overdue. She worked diligently House leader under Rona Ambrose and Andrew Scheer and has great reviews on this work from caucus and staff alike.

Rookie MP Eric Duncan takes on a significant role as QP coordinator but it should come as no surprise as Duncan acted as Guy Lauzon’s executive assistant and Chief of Staff when the former MP was Conservative Caucus Chair. In other words, Duncan has worked on Question Period coordination for some time and brings a wealth of experience to the team.

Marc Kielburger quits Freshii Board of Directors

WE Charity co-founder Marc Kielburger has resigned from the Freshii board of directors according to a press release put out by the company yesterday.

Freshii is a fast casual dining chain of restaurants founded by Matthew Corrin. Freshii’s menu features wraps, bowl, burritos, salads and is targeted toward the health-conscious consumer who is concerned about nutrition and calories.

The company markets itself as a health and wellness brand. In 2014, Freshii partnered with WE Charity and donated meals to villages and a portion of proceeds from each entree to the charity founded by the Marc and his brother Craig.

The Kielburger brothers have been wrapped up in scandal as the two have tossed their network of charities, social enterprises, and real estate corporations into the mix of national politics.

The Trudeau government signed a single-source contract with the WE group to dispense close to $1 Billion earmarked for COVID19-relief to Canadian students via the Canada Summer Student Grant.

The scandal is that the WE group has paid members of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s family close to $500,000 since 2015 when he became Prime Minister.

It was also revealed that Finance Minister Bill Morneau and his family took two luxury vacations that were paid for by WE in 2017.

As the PM and his finance minister approved the WE contract at cabinet, the opposition members in Parliament have argued that this amounts to a significant conflict of interest.

The WE group also neglected to register to lobby the government of Canada at the time. They have done so recently and now appear in the lobbyist registrar – their registration dated retroactively – to describe multiple communications and points of contact.

The Kielburgers remarked during their testimony that they have a staffer responsible for government relations but that she had other duties. Opposition MPs argued that this hardly negated any obligation WE and its affiliates may have had to provide such disclosure.

In the Freshii release, the company notes that Marc Kielburger is leaving the Freshii board for “personal reasons”. The release also notes that Freshii’s financials took a hit last quarter due to the global pandemic and posted a net loss of $525,000 and closed 40 underperforming locations in Q2.