Further to the post below, Québec City's Le Soleil today runs the last instalment of its interview with Jean Pelletier, Jean Chrétien's former chief of staff, which likely will be of interest to historians of the period:
Q When Jean Chrétien asked you to come to Ottawa, you knew that there could be problems in the wake of Meech.
A Yes, especially in Québec. Myself, I was in favour of Meech. I had written a personal letter to Jean Chrétien to express my sadness . . .
Q For activities like the big Montréal love-in [during the 1995 referendum campaign] did you ask yourself any questions about who was paying?
A I don't recall. In a war, you don't ask whether the bullets have been paid for, you fire.
Q I'm referring to provisions in the referendum law regarding financing.
A No. Perhaps some people asked themselves that question, not I. You get your marching orders and you run with them. When you're in a war, are you going to lose the country because of a comma in the law?
Q The father of the Clarity Act, was it Stéphane Dion?
A The Clarity Act was Jean Chrétien's idea. I don't want to minimize the role of Dion, but in the beginning, he was not in favour of it. In fact, when the Act was brought to cabinet, there was only one vote in favour, and it was Jean Chrétien. Everyone else was against or unsure, including Dion. We tried twice to get Jean Charest to carry the ball for the Act. We met him twice, Dion and me, but he refused. There was one meeting in the spring and another in the autumn of 1999. The package was ready, the law was printed and it was ready to be introduced.