Canadian History for Kids!
Sketches of Canada for November 4th!

Canadian History for Kids: Jean Cretien

Le p’tit gars de Shawinigan (“Little Guy from Shawinigan“) is sworn November 4th, 1993 at Rideau Hall as Canada’s 20th Prime Minister, replacing Kim Campbell. This Canadian History for Kids, Sketches of our Canada, looks at the career of Jean Chretien.

Jean Joseph Jacques Chrétien was born January 11, 1934, in Shawinigan, Québec, the second-youngest child in a family of nineteen.

Chrétien graduated with a law degree from Laval University in 1959 and joined a Shawinigan legal firm. This Canadian History for Kids article continues in 1963 when, at age 29, Chrétien ran successfully for Parliament, learned English, and began his swift rise up the Liberal ladder.

After two years as a backbencher, Chrétien was appointed Prime Minister Pearson’s parliamentary secretary. When he joined the Cabinet in 1967 as minister without portfolio, Chrétien became the youngest minister since Charles Tupper. In 1968, he was selected Minister of National Revenue.

While in Pierre Trudeau’s Cabinet, Chrétien served as Minister of Finance, the first French-Canadian to have the position. He also held the demanding portfolios of Indian Affairs, Treasury Board, Industry and Trade, Justice, Energy, and Mines & Resources.

Chrétien would eventually became the Liberal leader and won a stunning victory in the 1993 election. The man of the people remained high in the polls and would remain Prime Minister until 2003.

Canadian History for Kids’ 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.

And that’s this week Canadian History for Kids Sketches of Canada!

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Canadian History for Kids!