Jean Chretien just released the second volume of his memoirs. And the Globe and Mail provided extensive coverage including Chretien’s views of Paul Martin. There was an interesting excerpt in one of the articles from the Globe:
On deciding to resign at a 2002 Caucus meeting: “I was warned that it was going to be a stormy [meeting]… That morning, in front of Bill Gates and a business audience in Toronto, I made what I knew immediately to be a terrible speech. I wasn’t confident with the text, my old jokes sounded flat, and I handled the questions without any wit or enthusiasm. Oh-oh, I thought to myself, my heart’s no longer in the game. When I got in the car with Eddie Goldenberg, I asked him to prepare a resignation speech. Then I called Aline and asked her to drive from Shawinigan to Chicoutimi, because I was going to announce my decision the next day.”
I was in the audience at the session in Toronto that day, back in 2002, listening to Jean Chretien and Bill Gates. There were about 200 business leaders, mostly from Bay Street, in the room. And Chretien was right. His speech was terrible. So much so that I thought that the time had come for him to step down.
And, although I cannot be certain of this fact, I think I may have been the last person to shake his hand before he stepped into the car with Eddie Goldenberg.