Chre­tien re­counts visit to north­ern Cape Bre­ton

Visit to Bay St. Lawrence said to be a high­light of his ca­reer

The Victoria Standard - - Business - CAROLYN BAR­BER

For­mer Prime Min­is­ter Jean Chre­tien re­counted one of the most mem­o­rable mo­ments in his po­lit­i­cal ca­reer dur­ing his key­note ad­dress at the March 20 Ex­port NOW con­fer­ence in Mem­ber­tou.

It was the fall of 1981. Newly-elected Prime Min­is­ter Pierre Trudeau held a cab­i­net meet­ing at the Keltic Lodge in In­go­nish. The next evening, Chre­tien ac­cepted an in­vi­ta­tion from Bay St. Lawrence com­mu­nity mem­bers to visit their north­ern vil­lage.

“It was the most in­ter­est­ing night I ever had. When I ar­rived there, it was a great re­cep­tion, we met with the peo­ple and we had din­ner. They served me il­le­gal moose, they served me il­le­gal lob­sters, they served me il­le­gal al­co­hol. Here I was the Min­is­ter of Jus­tice,” Chre­tien re­counted to a room full of laugh­ter.

“It was dur­ing World Se­ries. We were watch­ing it. Sud­denly, there was a ter­ri­ble storm and no more elec­tric­ity. [The game] was very con­tested, and we wanted to know what was to hap­pen. Some­body reached out and came back with a ra­dio bat­tery. We found one sta­tion with the base­ball game. It was a French ra­dio pro­gram from the Mag­dalen Is­lands [QC]. So, for the rest of the evening, I trans­lated the base­ball game for the base­ball fans there.”

Dur­ing the key­note, Chre­tien cred­ited Cana­dian states­man Al­lan J. Maceachen with en­cour­ag­ing him to visit the Cape Bre­ton High­lands Na­tional Park. The visit in­spired Chre­tien to cre­ate Que­bec’s first na­tional park, La Mauricie Na­tional Park, in 1970 in his riding of Saint-mau­rice, QC.

For­mer Prime Min­is­ter Jean Chre­tien (left) re­sponds to a ques­tion from Host Joella Foulds (right) dur­ing an on-stage con­ver­sa­tion at the Ex­port NOW con­fer­ence held in Mem­ber­tou on March 20. Dur­ing the ses­sion, Chre­tien fondly re­called time stolen away...

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