With the Gomery report now out, at least the preliminary one, it's time to consider what the legacy of M. Jean Chretien will be. I understand he put on quite a performance when he let off a verbal assault against the findings. But consider with me some of the highlights of his time as PM.
1) His office came under suspicion for violating the civil rights of a number of students at UBC. Seems demonstrators were arrested, pepper sprayed and generally harrassed because the government didn't want the then President of Indonesia, Suharto offended by seeing signs calling him a butcher.
2) While he was walking around the country doing his best Afred E. Neumann imitation, people like Jean Charet were trying to keep Quebec in confederation. When Chretien finally realized he needed to do something, the vote came in and the separatist lost by 51000. Later Chretien had the good idea of using federal funds to enhance the federal government's role in Quebec, as well as 'brand' Canada. So money was poured in and the results was AdScam. The allegation is money was siphoned from this fund and given to the Liberal Party of Canada. Read the highlights as given by the Winnipeg Free Press.
3) He cancelled the helicopter replacement project, thus forcing members of the Canadian Armed Forces to deal with aging and ancient equipment.
4) Kashechewan is now a household word synonymous with all that is wrong with the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. This community has been under a boiled water alert for two years and probably more. Chretien was at one time Minister of Indian Affairs and in fact felt one of his great legacies with the new Indian Act and making life better for the First Nations, pity Kashechewan wasn't included. By the way,this is only one of many reserves that have this problem.
5) GST, you still paying it?
6) Voter cynicism. He elevated cynical politics to a fine art, calling elections when none were required.
7) With all that has happened in Quebec, the end result of the sponsorship program has been a resurgence in the Separatist movement in Quebec. It should have died of natural causes but now it has new life.
8) Canada-US relations at historic lows.
9) Used submarines. They still aren't working and one death is attributed to the fact that the UK unloaded junk on us.
Need I say more?