Chretien to Resign As Canada PM in Dec.

Discussion in 'Canada' started by 5stringJeff, Nov 18, 2003.

  1. 5stringJeff
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    5stringJeff Senior Member

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    I don't know who this Paul Maritn guy is, but hopefully he's a better guy than Chretein.

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    TORONTO - Prime Minister Jean Chretien announced Tuesday he will step down on Dec. 12 after attending a Commonwealth meeting in Nigeria.

    Chretien, who turns 70 in January, previously said he would retire as prime minister by February 2004. His former finance minister, Paul Martin, was chosen leader of the governing Liberal Party last week and automatically becomes prime minister when Chretien leaves office.

    Chretien was expected to leave before February to comply with the desires of Martin, the Liberal Party and opposition parties for the transition to proceed.

    Martin and Chretien met for 45 minutes Tuesday to work out a transition schedule, and they emerged to make the announcement.

    "I'll offer him my best wishes and good luck. I will observe from the sidelines," Chretien said. "If he feels he wants to consult me, he knows my number."

    Among Chretien's last orders of business will be attending the Commonwealth summit in Abuja, Nigeria, on Dec. 5-8. The meeting is expected to focus on Zimbabwe, which has been suspended from the organization of former British colonies due to repressive policies under President Robert Mugabe.

    Since last week's overwhelming victory to succeed Chretien as Liberal leader, Martin has met with provincial and municipal leaders as part of a continuing campaign to promote his incoming government as a change from the three previous governments under Chretien.

    In Canada's political system, the majority party in Parliament forms the government, with its leader as prime minister. No election is required for Martin to succeed Chretien, but Martin has indicated he will call one next year to seek a fresh five-year mandate instead of just serving out the final two years of Chretien's term.

    Martin, 65, is a fiscal conservative credited with balancing Canada's budget during his nine years as finance minister. The son of a longtime Liberal Cabinet minister, Martin also promises an activist government for social policies.

    A top priority will be soothing tensions between Canada and the United States after sour relations between Chretien and President Bush (news - web sites). The two countries share the world's biggest trade partnership, worth $1.4 billion a day.

    Chretien angered Bush this year by refusing to take part in the war in Iraq (news - web sites), prompting the U.S. president to cancel a visit to Ottawa in May. Before then, some of Chretien's subordinates publicly ridiculed Bush over his unilateral policies, with one quoted as calling him a moron.
     
  2. SLClemens
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    Martin was the fairly right-wing finance minister responsible for reducing Canada's debt and putting them in a much stronger economic position. He was in a similar position to where Britain's Gordon Brown is now - waiting in the wings for a long time. He's probably more right-wing than Brown on fiscal policy, less favorable of a nanny-state philosophy, and of a similar dispostion toward the US as Brown but hampered by the fact that it would be political suicide, especially in Quebec, for a center-liberal government in Canada to follow the pro-American path of Howard's Liberals in Australia. Canada, inconveniently for us, is a democracy and that means that he cannot follow a path of supporting us that will push his voters away to the socialist or Quebec seperatist parties. However he speaks English well and will likely say a lot of nice things about America that we want to hear. If he gets re-elected, which he likely shortly will, he'll have up to five years to follow a more pro-US course before having to face the voters, which means he has at least a few years to be more openly pro-US. If a Democrat gets elected in 2004 he can afford to be much more cosy.

    So, Isaac, did I get it right, or has a weekly check of the Globe and Mail and Toronto Star left me misled?
     
  3. Isaac Brock
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    Isaac Brock Active Member

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    Nope good sir, you nailed it right on the nose.

    To be fair, Martin is the only reason Canada has tempered so well during the economic storm. His policies as finance minister were very sound focusing on debt reduction and balanced budgets. I think it is too soon to reserve judgement on whether or not he will be a good PM. On one hand, he will handle the economy and Canada-US relationships much better than Chretien, however i think he may be trying to get tooclose for his own good. Polls show Canadian want to keep their distance from the US (in terms of policies) at this moment.

    To be honest, I think Chretien was right in many of his policies to not follow the US. I think that era will be effectively over once Martin take the throne so to speak. Not only does that decrease plurality in North America, but it degrades the Canadian image. I for one would like a PM who think Canada should be different than the US. Not because the US is necessarily bad, but because Canada is indeed different than the US.

    It is interesting to hear about some of Martin's point of views. He seems to be an environmentalist, and anti-war, but pro missle shield. He is quite different than Chretien. I suppose only time will tell, but he is indeed a sure win for the 2004 election.
     
  4. SLClemens
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    I saw a sound-bite of Martin the other day - can't remember where. I hate to say it, but I think Americans will like him a lot better than Chretien just because he speaks English very well and with an only slightly noticeable accent. I think he'll come across very well here, and hopefully he can use that to foster good relations while at the same time maintaining an independent course.
     
  5. Isaac Brock
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    Isaac Brock Active Member

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    Accent??? He's an anglophone! :confused:

     
  6. SLClemens
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    And I detect slight anglicisms in his voice that don't sound perfectly American. But he's pretty close.
     
  7. Isaac Brock
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    Isaac Brock Active Member

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    Haha wow! I thought most of us Canucks sounded pretty close to Northern US Americans. Go figure! I never knew! I learn something every day!
     
  8. nbdysfu
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    nbdysfu Member

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    Hey, Isaac, remember when it was the republic of texas? :laugh:
    El presidente comes from there now. Just think what would happen if the united states had to take canadian voters on. Just might be the stimulus the democratic party needs :)
     
  9. Isaac Brock
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    Isaac Brock Active Member

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    Haha ironically the democratic party in Canada would be our most right-wing party. Although every day our Canadian Alliance is getting pretty right for my taste. Interesting news though, they're merging with our other right wing party the progressive conservaties. So the plus side is that we'll actually have an opposition now, the downside is the PC was a legit voice for fiscal conservativism but still maintaining social liberalism. Oh well... thank you Brian Mulroney... so much for the party that gave us Sir Johnny A and Tupper. SOS Jean Charest.
     

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