2nd Session, 43rd Parliament
Volume 152, Issue 7
Thursday, October 29, 2020
The Honourable George J. Furey, Speaker
The Late Aline Chrétien
Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, I rise today to honour the life of Aline Chrétien. In addition to being the wife of former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, Madame Chrétien was a highly respected Canadian, and I am very proud to have the honour and privilege to call her my dear friend.
Sadly, on September 11 of this year, while surrounded by her family in her preferred place — Shawinigan, Quebec — she passed away peacefully. It is well known to Canadians that Madame Chrétien was a pillar to our Prime Minister Chrétien, her three children France, Hubert and Michel, as well as her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Following the passing of Madame Chrétien, there was an outpouring of tributes from Canadians all across the country giving testament to what an elegant, authentic, intelligent and warm person she was. Everyone who had the privilege of knowing Madame Chrétien had a story they could tell about her dedicated service to Canadians.
I would like to share with you my experiences with Mr. and Mrs. Chrétien. In 1993, while accompanying them on the campaign trail, we travelled to the interior of British Columbia. I remember clearly, just before Mr. Chrétien was about to speak at an event, Madame Chrétien took him aside to encourage him. I observed she would always give him frank and often tough but constructive commentary. Mr. Chrétien truly saw her as an equal partner. I really admired that. Mr. Chrétien deeply respected her opinion and often sought her sage advice.
Madame Chrétien was a very loyal friend to me, particularly in my role as President of the Women’s Liberal Commission. When I was running for a second term, I was confronted with several challenges. During this time I was a beneficiary of Madame Chrétien’s sage advice. I believe it was her confidence in me that allowed me to be successful in my campaign for a second term. I will never forget what Madame Chrétien did for me.
When I was appointed to the Senate, she wanted to make sure I felt at home in Ottawa. Many times she invited me to her home for lunch or a cup of tea. During those visits, I found out what an accomplished pianist she was, as well as being quadrilingual: besides English and French, she spoke Italian and Spanish. Aline Chrétien was truly an amazing woman. She gave her all to Mr. Chrétien, their family and all Canadians. We are all privileged to have been served by her.
Madame Chrétien, you were so dear to me and to Canadians. I will miss you very much, Rest in peace, my friend. Thank you.