While Justin Trudeau may be biting his tongue when it comes to his dealings with President Donald Trump, one of his predecessors is not. Jean Chrétien, who served for 10 years as Canada’s Prime Minister and was elected in the majority three times, isn’t holding back on the Trump criticism in his new book, My Stories, My Times.
The book — due out October 23 — is full of anecdotes from the former PM’s time in office as well as his political musings about the current world order. Naturally, his views on Trump stand out.
“It’s been very sad to observe the monumental error our neighbours to the south made in November 2016,” he writes.
“I fear that Hillary‘s defeat, and the arrival of the fanatical Trump, mark the true end of the American Empire. You can understand why Aline [his wife] and I are so happy to have the Clintons as friends, and almost as proud to be removed as far as possible from the unspeakable Donald Trump.”
The friendship between the Clintons and the Chrétiens is well documented since the majority of Bill and Jean’s terms overlapped and they remained close in the years following. The former Canadian leader clearly has another beef as well when it comes to bonds formed while he was in office — NAFTA, which he was instrumental in renegotiating and ratifying in 1993. Now the USMCA, Chrétien calls the new trade agreement “a lot of talk for nothing.”
“He [Trump] changed the name and not much else,” Chrétien told The Canadian Press in a book interview. “[The USMCA is] a little bit of an adjustment but basically we still have a free trade agreement with them that will work about the same way that it was working before.”
It’s all part of Donald Trump’s America First plan, right? Well, Chrétien thinks that’s exactly what’s going to lose the United States its position at the hypothetical top of the world.
“I feel that their influence is going down very rapidly … If you want to be in isolation, that’s fine. But you have less influence,” he said, adding that in his travels he’s noticed a distinct shift in the way other people view the U.S. He told CTV that there’s “a lot of laughter” which is something “you have to worry about.”
Don’t miss TV! Former Prime Minister Jean Chretien chats about his new book with @DonMartinCTV AND his honest thoughts about U.S. President Donald Trump. The full interview today at 5pmET on @CTV_PowerPlay @CTVNewsChannel pic.twitter.com/9T7YEhXPP3
— Michel Boyer (@BoyerMichel) October 10, 2018
“You know, empires disappear,” he adds. “A lot of people are nostalgic about the British empire. A lot of people in France still dream of Napoleon; he’s dead since a long time. Life is like that.”
Some might be quick to dismiss Chrétien’s opinions as drabble from a former leader aged past his prime, but that would be wrong. Chrétien may have retired from politics in 2003, but even at the age of 84, he’s still working as a lawyer at globally respected multinational law firm, Dentons.