1. News & Issues
Send to a Friend via Email

Prime Minister Jean Chretien


Jean Chretien, Prime Minister of Canada

Jean Chretien, Prime Minister of Canada

Jeff Fusco / Getty Images

About Jean Chretien:

A street-fighter with fine political instincts, Jean Chretien was an MP for 40 years and led three consecutive Liberal majority governments. Jean Chretien governments gave Canada liberal social policies and a healthy Canadian economy, including elimination of the deficit. In its later years, however, the Chretien government was marked by scandals over mismanagement and by a split in the Liberal party as Paul Martin pushed to take over the job of prime minister.

Prime Minister of Canada:

1993 to 2003

Highlights as Prime Minister:

  • improvement in Canadian economy, including eliminating deficit and a budget surplus for five straight years

  • passed Clarity Bill saying Quebec can only separate after a solid majority votes "yes" on a clear question.

  • active social agenda included Child Tax Benefit

  • ratified Kyoto Protocol

  • worked for global ban on land mines

  • pushed for establishment of International Criminal Court

  • supported war on terrorism but would not send troops to Iraq without UN resolution for military action.


January 11, 1934 in Shawinigan Falls (now Shawinigan), Quebec


  • BA - St. Joseph Seminary, Trois-Rivières

  • LL.L. - Laval University



Political Affiliation:

Ridings (Electoral Districts):

  • Saint-Maurice - Laflèche 1963
  • Saint-Maurice 1968
  • Beauséjour (New Brunswick) 1990
  • Saint-Maurice 1993

Political Career of Jean Chretien:

  • Jean Chretien was principal organizer for Quebec Liberal Party Leader Jean Lesage in the 1960 provincial election in which Lesage was elected Premier of Quebec.

  • Jean Chretien was first elected to the House of Commons in 1963.

  • Having had two years to work on his English as a backbencher, Jean Chretien was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to Prime Minister Lester Pearson in 1965.

  • He was Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Finance Mitchell Sharp in 1966.

  • In 1967, Jean Chretien became Minister of State for Finance.

  • He was appointed Minister of National Revenue in 1968.

  • Later in 1968, Jean Chretien was appointed Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, a cabinet portfolio which he held until 1974.

  • In 1974, Jean Chretien became President of the Treasury Board.

  • He became Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce in 1976.

  • In 1977 Jean Chretien was appointed Minister of Finance.

  • He was appointed Minister of Justice and Attorney General in 1980.

  • He became Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources in 1982.

  • He took over the portfolio of Secretary of State for External Affairs in 1984.

  • Jean Chretien became Deputy Prime Minister in 1984.

  • When Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau resigned in 1984, Jean Chretien ran for the leadership of the Liberal Party, but was defeated by John Turner.

  • Jean Chretien resigned from the House of Commons in 1986 and returned to the practice of law.

  • By 1990 Jean Chretien was back and was elected Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada.

  • He was elected to the House of Commons again in 1990.

  • Jean Chretien was sworn in as Leader of the Opposition in 1990.

  • When the Liberals won the general election in 1993, Jean Chretien was sworn in as Prime Minister of Canada.

  • Jean Chretien retired as Prime Minister of Canada in 2003.

  • Paul Martin became the next Prime Minister of Canada.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.