Marc Bence/for metro edmonton
Former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien speaks to an audience at the Meyer Horowitz Theatre last night. Chrétien is the first speaker in the University of Alberta’s Prime Ministers Conversation series.
« You’re job is to criticize, it’s not fun. He’s a competent person and has been an extremely good minister for me. Look at his record that way. »
Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion is steadying the course, but it’s been very difficult for him to lead the opposition party in the House of Commons so far, his predecessor, former prime minister Jean Chrétien told an Edmonton audience yesterday.
After the first of a series of visits with Canada’s past prime ministers at the University of Alberta last night inside a packed Horowitz Theatre, Chrétien told reporters Dion is easy to criticize because he’s simply part of the opposition.
"It’s tough for him as the opposition because you’re rarely in the news and you’re always perceived as being negative," said Chrétien.
"You’re job is to criticize, it’s not fun. He’s a competent person and has been an extremely good minister for me. Look at his record that way."
Recent polls have favoured NDP leader Jack Layton over Dion as Canada’s most trustworthy leader and a leader with the best vision for Canada, but Chrétien says he’s a strong leader.
During his public interview with former Tory MP Jim Edwards in front of the crowd of students and seniors, Chrétien often joked about conversations he had with former world leaders and would sometimes plug his book.
For the next nine months to help celebrate the U of A’s centennial, the school will be hosting other Canadian leaders including Joe Clark March 12, Kim Campbell May 5, John Turner Oct. 15 and Paul Martin Nov. 5.