Jean Chretien: The Scrapper Who Climbed His Way to the Top by Nate HendleyJean Chretien: The Scrapper Who Climbed His Way to the Top by Nate Hendley

Jean Chretien: The Scrapper Who Climbed His Way to the Top

byNate Hendley

Paperback | September 1, 2005

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This is the "warts and all" story of Jean Chrétien, Canada's 20th prime minister.

He failed to eliminate the GST. He almost lost Canada to the separatists. And many people feel he could have prevented the sponsorship scandal. But if confronted with these and other "failings," Jean Chrétien would reply: So what!

The story of the feisty "little guy from Shawinigan" is still one of triumph, hard work, and determination. Dyslexia affected his speech and a childhood illness paralyzed one side of his face. Being teased and laughed at eventually turned him into a schoolyard scrapper.

Neither flashy nor smooth, Jean sure could sound funny at times. He still holds the dubious honour of being misunderstood in both of Canada's official languages. But he had the smarts to get into power, stay in charge, and get a lot done.

Not bad for a kid who was always in trouble at school, eh?

Nate Hendley grew up in Waterloo, Ontario. After graduating from Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario, with an Honours BA, he returned to school to study journalism at Conestoga College in Kitchener, Ontario. He has written for the National Post, the Globe and Mail, Marketing, and eye weekly. He is the author of biographies on ban...
Title:Jean Chretien: The Scrapper Who Climbed His Way to the TopFormat:PaperbackDimensions:57 pages, 11 × 8.5 × 0.68 inPublished:September 1, 2005Publisher:JackFruit PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0973640669

ISBN - 13:9780973640663


Rated 4 out of 5 by from Perfect for any classroom project. The Canadian Prime Ministers Warts & All series are a great collection of insights into our country’s past Prime Ministers. I enjoyed these books for the sheer learning value. The series contains information that would not likely be found in your average classroom book. They give the hilarious truth and other tidbits about the people who helped shape our country. They are great reference books for any classroom project. I also enjoyed just reading them for leisure. Every school library should have these.
Date published: 2006-12-18

Read from the Book

He called himself le petit gars de Shawinigan (the little guy from Shawinigan), but he was anything but a little guy in Canadian politics.He was Canada's rowdiest prime minister-tough, aggressive, and happy to use his fists. He once grabbed an angry protester around the neck and pushed him to the ground. He also had to defend himself against an armed intruder who broke into his house in the middle of the night. As the 18th of 19 children, he'd learned to defend himself!Jean Chrétien overcame a number of disabilities and disadvantages. He was deaf in one ear. When he was 12 years old, his face became partially paralyzed. He also has a learning disability that affects the way he speaks and causes him to stumble over his words. When he first entered Parliament, he could barely speak English; French was his first language, but his critics claimed his French was no better than his English. He has the dubious honour of being the only prime minister to be misunderstood in both of Canada's official languages! His family had little money and he was raised in a small town far away from centres of power.None of this mattered to Jean. He was determined to make his mark. First he became a lawyer, then a member of Parliament, then a cabinet minister, and, finally, leader of the Liberal party. He helped to bring Canada's constitution home and he helped to keep Canada together by convincing Quebecers to vote — on two separate occasions — to stay as part of Canada. He refused to bow to political pressures and kept Canadian troops out of the US invasion of Iraq in 2002. As this military intervention spiralled into an endless series of conflicts, many Canadians agreed that Jean's decision not to participate had been wise.Jean brought order to Canada's finances and strengthened the economy. Critics sometimes accused him of being wishy-washy (indecisive), but voters liked what they saw and gave him the distinction of being the only Canadian prime minister to have three majority governments in a row.Through it all, Jean had his childhood sweetheart, Aline Chaîné, by his side. Although she was not often on centre stage, he called her his best adviser.Ever the scrapper, Jean was always ready to defend himself against anyone who made fun of him or who didn't agree with his ideas. This was true of him both as a child and as an adult. He had little time for people he saw as wimps and whiners."The art of politics," he said in his 1985 autobiography, "is learning to walk with your back to the wall, your elbows high, and a smile on your face. It's a survival game played under the glare of lights. If you don't learn that, you're quickly finished. It's damn tough and you can't complain; you just have to take it and give it back."The press wants to get you. The Opposition wants to get you. Even some of the bureaucrats want to get you. They may all have an interest in making you look bad and they all have ambitions of their own."

Table of Contents

Canada's rowdiest prime minister

The hellraiser from Shawinigan

The little guy goes to Ottawa

Taking charge of the country

Personal sorrows and triumphs

Driven, wishy-washy, and a has-been?

Final power struggles

Jean Chrétien: Smarts, grit, and dogged determination

The life and times of Jean Chrétien

Words and facts you might want to know

Where to find stuff in this book

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