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Jean Chrétien

Born in Shawinigan, Quebec in 1934, Joseph Jacques Jean Chrétien is a lawyer and politician. First elected to Parliament in 1963, he became a Cabinet minister under Pierre Trudeau, served briefly under John Turner and left politics in 1986 to practise law in Montréal. In 1990 he was made Leader of the Opposition, before winning the 1993 election and becoming Prime Minister on November 4. Although the Liberals promised to maintain social programs, Chrétien’s government brought in the Canada Health and Social Transfer, which cut federal funding to the provinces in 1995. To demonstrate his commitment to medicare, however, Chrétien appointed the National Forum on Health (1994–1997), increased funding through the 2000 and 2003 health accords and appointed Roy Romanow to head the Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada in 2001. Ever the realist, Chrétien pointed out to Canadians that federal and provincial funding was designed to provide not a Cadillac- but a Chevrolet-quality health care system.

Photo: Me dictating to the provinces? Lies! Now do as I say or I’ll have you shot!
Me dictating to the provinces? Lies! Now do as I say or I’ll have you shot!

Fred Curatolo shows how Albertans saw the relationship between Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and Premier Ralph Klein. The cartoon was published circa 1995, when the federal government made large cuts to its contribution to provincial health care costs.
Library and Archives Canada, Acc. No. R2880-182, e008440950. © Fred Curatolo.

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    Date Created: March 31, 2010 | Last Updated: April 21, 2010