Jean Chrétien

From Quotes
Happiness is a matter of one's most ordinary everyday mode of consciousness being busy and lively and unconcerned with self. To be damned is for one's ordinary everyday mode of consciousness to be unremitting agonizing preoccupation with self.
Iris Murdoch
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Jean Chrétien (Born January 11, 1934)

Politician, 20th prime minister of Canada

  • "I don't know. A proof is a proof. What kind of a proof? It's a proof. A proof is a proof, and when you have a good proof, it's because it's proven."
    • When discussing what type of proof Canadians wanted from the US before assisting in a war with Iraq. This is considered one of Chretien's most memorable quotes.
  • Mais l'achat des revolvers va être rendu très difficile. Pourquoi acheter des carabines à répétition, des armements nucléaires pour s'amuser? C'est dangereux, et quand c'est dans la maison, il peut y avoir un enfant qui ce serve de ça.
    • It's going to be really hard to purchase handguns. Why buy machine guns or nuclear armaments for pleasure? They're dangerous, and when they're lying around the house, a child might get its hands on them.
    • Chrétien in 1997 speaking about gun control.
  • "Perhaps there were a few million dollars that might have been stolen in the process. But how many millions of dollars have we saved because we have re-established the stability of Canada by keeping it a united country?"
    • When discussing the Liberal sponsorship scandal.
  • "Well, that is free trade!"
    • In response to a question about cross-border drug trade, in a news conference in front of Bill Clinton, having misheard a question about "drugs".
  • "It's like the story of the Hippo and the Zebra. That Hippo, he paint the stripe on him to look like the Zerba. But at the end of that day he still a Hippo."
    • In response to the Canadian Alliance, and Progressive Conservatives creating one party.
  • "I don't know what is marijuana. Perhaps I will try it when it will no longer be criminal. I will have my money for my fine and a joint in the other hand,"
    • A quote made jokingly in an interview with the Winnipeg Free Press.
  • "For me, pepper, I put it on my plate."
    • about pepper spray against APEC protestors
  • "To have a referendum to decide on the fate of the minority, it's a problem. It's why we have constitutions – to protect the rights of the minority. It's why we have the Charter of Rights. So if it is always the majority vote by referendum, who will defend the minorities?"
    • about a possible referendum on same-sex marriage in Canada
  • "I'm the Prime Minister of a country of 28 million, he's the President of a country with 1.2 billion. I can't tell the Premier of Quebec or Manitoba what to do, how can I tell him what to do? Sometimes you just don't have enough influence."
    • When talking about President Jiang Zemin and China's human rights record during Jiang's state visit to Ottawa.
  • "When I entered politics 40 years ago, I said watch out, it would be a hell of a ride. Well, today I can say, it has been a hell of a ride!"
    • Speaking at the Liberal Leadership Convention in 2003 after deciding to retire.
  • "I don't know. What happened? If you don't know, The cameras were there. Some people came in my way, it might have been... I had to go, so if you are in my way, I am walking. So I don't know what happened. Something happened to somebody who should not have been there."
    • When asked for his explanation as to why he grabbed the demonstrator's neck.
  • "We hate the GST and we will kill it"
    • On May 2, 1994, after his election as Prime Minister
  • "Vive le Canada!"
    • At the end of many of his speeches.
  • "God gave me a physical defect, I've accepted that since I was a kid. When I was a kid people were laughing at me. But I accepted that because God gave me other qualities and I'm grateful."
    • Speaking during the 1993 Canadian federal election, in response to an opposition attack ad which seemed to focus on Chrétien's facial impairment.