Jean Chrétien

Chrétien in 2010 Joseph Jacques Jean Chrétien (; born January 11, 1934) is a Canadian lawyer and politician who served as the 20th prime minister of Canada from 1993 to 2003.

Born and raised in Shawinigan Falls, Quebec, Chrétien is a law graduate from Université Laval. A Liberal, he was first elected to the House of Commons in 1963. He served in various cabinet posts under Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, most prominently as minister of Indian affairs and northern development, president of the Treasury Board, minister of finance, and minister of justice. He ran unsuccessfully for the leadership of the Liberal Party in 1984, losing to John Turner. Chrétien served as deputy prime minister in Turner's short-lived government which would be defeated in the 1984 federal election. After Turner led the Liberals to their second defeat at the polls in 1988, Chrétien became leader of the Liberals and leader of the Opposition in 1990, returning to politics after briefly working in the private sector. In the 1993 federal election, Chrétien led the Liberals to a strong majority government before leading the party to two additional majorities in 1997 and 2000.

Chrétien was strongly opposed to the Quebec sovereignty movement. He won a narrow victory as leader of the federalist camp in the 1995 Quebec referendum, and then pioneered the ''Clarity Act'' to avoid ambiguity in future referendum questions. His government also established the long-gun registry, advanced the ''Youth Criminal Justice Act'', laid the groundwork to legalize same-sex marriage, and eliminated the nearly-30-year old budget deficit mainly through spending cuts. He implemented several major environmental laws, including an updated ''Canadian Environmental Protection Act'', the ''Pest Control Products Act'', and the ''Species At Risk Act''. In foreign policy, Chrétien ordered Canadian military intervention during the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia and the War in Afghanistan but opposed participation in the Iraq War. Although his popularity and that of the Liberal Party were seemingly unchallenged for three consecutive federal elections, he became subject to various political controversies. He was accused of inappropriate behaviour in the Shawinigate and sponsorship scandals, although he has consistently denied any wrongdoing. He also became embroiled in a protracted leadership struggle within the Liberal Party against his finance minister and long-time political rival Paul Martin. In December 2003, as a result of the threat of losing a leadership review and pressure from the pro-Martin faction of the party, Chrétien resigned as prime minister and retired from politics. Chrétien ranks above-average in rankings of Canadian prime ministers. At age , Chrétien is the oldest living former Canadian prime minister. Provided by Wikipedia