David William Kilgour is a human-rights activist, former lawyer, Canadian politician. He is a Senior Fellow to the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights. Kilgour graduated from the University of Manitoba in economics in 1962 and the University of Toronto law school in 1966. From crown attorney in northern Alberta to Canadian Cabinet minister, Kilgour ended his 27-year tenure in the House of Commons of Canada as an Independent MP. Upon retirement, he was one of the longest current serving members of parliament and one of the few, elected under both the Progressive Conservative and Liberal banners. Kilgour was elected as a member of the Progressive Conservative Party in 1979. However, his first attempt at election, in the 1968 federal election in the riding of Vancouver Centre as a Progressive Conservative was unsuccessful, he ran again as a Tory in the 1979 election in Edmonton, was a member of parliament for about 27 years. In October 1990, he, along with Pat Nowlan of Nova Scotia and Alex Kindy of Calgary, were expelled from the Tory national caucus in protest over their vote against the Goods and Services Tax.
He sat as an independent for several months before joining the Liberals. In the Liberal government, he served as the Deputy Speaker and Chairman of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons, Secretary of State, Secretary of State. In the Conservative governments of Joe Clark and Brian Mulroney he served as Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Privy Council, the Minister for CIDA, the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs, the Minister of Transport; as a Secretary of State, Kilgour was continuously vocal on many human rights violations around the world. In 2001 while visiting Zimbabwe, Kilgour was vocally critical of Mugabe's farm-invasions policy and pushed for increasing international pressure. In December 2004, he was among the Ukrainian election monitor delegation of the federal run-off elections. In April 2005, he received media attention when he speculated about quitting the Liberal Party because of his disgust with the sponsorship scandal, saying that the issue made Canada look like "a northern banana republic".
On April 12, 2005, he announced that he would sit as an independent MP. He cited Canada's lack of action on the crisis in Darfur, Sudan, as reasons for quitting, he asserted that he has no plans to move back to the Conservatives, stated that he had no plans to run for re-election. From 1979 to 1988, he represented the riding of Edmonton—Strathcona, but with shifting constituency lines moved to the Edmonton Southeast in 1988, again to Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont in 2004 which he represented until he retired from politics at the 2006 election; because of the unusual structure of the 38th House of Commons, in May 2005, David Kilgour's lone vote had the power to bring down or support the government. He used this influence to urge the Martin government to send peacekeepers to Darfur, he is an endorser of the Genocide Intervention Network. Then-Prime Minister Paul Martin agreed to send humanitarian support but in the end, no peacekeepers were sent. While being a lifelong practicing Christian, Kilgour has worked on issues such as inter-faith dialog, personal freedoms, democratic government throughout his career.
In Parliament, he was active in prayer groups while at venues and publications across the country he has spoken on religious themes and politics. His topics have been on global religious and political persecutions, he serves as a fellow of the Queen's University Centre for the Study of Democracy. His personal religious beliefs landed him in the news in 2003 when he abstained from the same-sex marriage bill and was reprimanded by Prime Minister Chrétien. In 2006, allegations emerged that a large number of Falun Gong practitioners had been killed to supply China's organ transplant industry. With David Matas he released the Kilgour-Matas report, which stated "the source of 41,500 transplants for the six-year period 2000 to 2005 is unexplained" and "we believe that there have been and continue today to be large-scale organ seizures from unwilling Falun Gong practitioners". In 2009, they published an updated version of the report as a book, they traveled to about 50 countries to raise awareness of the situation.
In 2012, State Organs: Transplant Abuse in China, edited by David Matas and Dr. Torsten Trey, was published with essays from six medical professionals, Ethan Gutmann, David Matas and an essay co-written by Kilgour. Ethan Gutmann interviewed over 100 witnesses and estimated that 65,000 Falun Gong practitioners were killed for their organs from 2000 to 2008. David Kilgour The Epoch Times Organ Pillaging from Falun Gong in China Subcommittee on Human Rights of European Parliament, Brussels, 1 December 2009 Uneasy patriots: Western Canadians in confederation Inside Outer Canada Betrayal: The spy Canada abandoned Uneasy Neighbours: Canada, The USA and the Dynamics of State and Culture with David T. Jones Bloody Harvest: The Killing of Falun Gong for Their Organs with David Matas Throughout his parliamentary career, Kilgour has been awarded a wide range of awards, including: the Kaputiman Award from the Council of Edmonton Filipino Associations.
Manitoba is a province at the longitudinal centre of Canada. It is considered one of the three prairie provinces and is Canada's fifth-most populous province with its estimated 1.3 million people. Manitoba covers 649,950 square kilometres with a varied landscape, stretching from the northern oceanic coastline to the southern border with the United States; the province is bordered by the provinces of Ontario to the east and Saskatchewan to the west, the territories of Nunavut to the north, Northwest Territories to the northwest, the U. S. states of North Minnesota to the south. Aboriginal peoples have inhabited. In the late 17th century, fur traders arrived on two major river systems, what is now called the Nelson in northern Manitoba and in the southeast along the Winnipeg River system. A Royal Charter in 1670 granted all the lands draining into Hudson's Bay to the British company and they administered trade in what was called Rupert's Land. During the next 200 years, communities continued to grow and evolve, with a significant settlement of Michif in what is now Winnipeg.
The assertion of Métis identity and self-rule culminated in negotiations for the creation of the province of Manitoba. There are many factors that led to an armed uprising of the Métis people against the Government of Canada, a conflict known as the Red River Rebellion aka Resistance; the resolution of the assertion of the right to representation led to the Parliament of Canada passing the Manitoba Act in 1870 that created the province. Manitoba's capital and largest city, Winnipeg, is the eighth-largest census metropolitan area in Canada. Other census agglomerations in the province are Brandon, Portage la Prairie, Thompson; the name Manitoba is believed to be derived from the Ojibwe or Assiniboine languages. The name derives from Cree manitou-wapow or Ojibwa manidoobaa, both meaning "straits of Manitou, the Great Spirit", a place referring to what are now called The Narrows in the centre of Lake Manitoba, it may be from the Assiniboine for "Lake of the Prairie". The lake was known to French explorers as Lac des Prairies.
Thomas Spence chose the name to refer to a new republic he proposed for the area south of the lake. Métis leader Louis Riel chose the name, it was accepted in Ottawa under the Manitoba Act of 1870. Manitoba is bordered by the provinces of Ontario to the east and Saskatchewan to the west, the territories of Nunavut to the north, the US states of North Dakota and Minnesota to the south; the province meets the Northwest Territories at the four corners quadripoint to the extreme northwest, though surveys have not been completed and laws are unclear about the exact location of the Nunavut–NWT boundary. Manitoba adjoins Hudson Bay to the northeast, is the only prairie province to have a saltwater coastline; the Port of Churchill is Canada's only Arctic deep-water port. Lake Winnipeg is the tenth-largest freshwater lake in the world. Hudson Bay is the world's second-largest bay by area. Manitoba is at the heart of the giant Hudson Bay watershed, once known as Rupert's Land, it was a vital area of the Hudson's Bay Company, with many rivers and lakes that provided excellent opportunities for the lucrative fur trade.
The province has a saltwater coastline bordering Hudson Bay and more than 110,000 lakes, covering 15.6 percent or 101,593 square kilometres of its surface area. Manitoba's major lakes are Lake Manitoba, Lake Winnipegosis, Lake Winnipeg, the tenth-largest freshwater lake in the world; some traditional Native lands and boreal forest on Lake Winnipeg's east side are a proposed UNESCO World Heritage Site. Manitoba is at the centre of the Hudson Bay drainage basin, with a high volume of the water draining into Lake Winnipeg and north down the Nelson River into Hudson Bay; this basin's rivers reach far west to the mountains, far south into the United States, east into Ontario. Major watercourses include the Red, Nelson, Hayes and Churchill rivers. Most of Manitoba's inhabited south has developed in the prehistoric bed of Glacial Lake Agassiz; this region the Red River Valley, is flat and fertile. Baldy Mountain is the province's highest point at 832 metres above sea level, the Hudson Bay coast is the lowest at sea level.
Riding Mountain, the Pembina Hills, Sandilands Provincial Forest, the Canadian Shield are upland regions. Much of the province's sparsely inhabited north and east lie on the irregular granite Canadian Shield, including Whiteshell and Nopiming Provincial Parks. Extensive agriculture is found only in the province's southern areas, although there is grain farming in the Carrot Valley Region; the most common agricultural activity is cattle husbandry, followed by assorted grains and oilseed. Around 12 percent of Canada's farmland is in Manitoba. Manitoba has an extreme continental climate. Temperatures and precipitation decrease from south to north and increase from east to west. Manitoba is far from the moderating large bodies of water; because of the flat landscape, it is exposed to cold Arctic high-pressure air masses from the northwest during January and February. In the summer, air masses sometimes come out of the Southern United States, as warm humid air is drawn northward from the Gulf of Mexico.
Temperatures exceed 30 °C numerous times each summer, the combination of heat and humidity can bring the humidex value to the mid-40s. Carman, Manitoba recorded the second-highest humidex in Canada in 2007, with
Minister of Canadian Heritage
The Minister of Canadian Heritage is the Minister of the Crown in the Canadian Cabinet who heads the Department of Canadian Heritage, the federal government department responsible for culture, media and the arts in Canada. The position was created in 1996 to combine the posts of Minister of Multiculturalism and Citizenship and Minister of Communications; the "Status of Women" was merged from the Minister responsible for the Status of Women in 2006. In 2008, the Status of Women portfolio was transferred to a Minister of State. On August 16, 2013, the multiculturalism portfolio was assigned to the Hon. Jason Kenney, appointed Minister for Multiculturalism in addition to his other portfolios; those portfolios and responsibilities such as for the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, were returned to the Heritage Minister with the swearing in of the 29th Canadian Ministry in November 2015. The present Minister of Canadian Heritage, since 18 July 2018, is the Hon. Pablo Rodriguez. Rodriguez is responsible for the National Capital Commission, under the senior Ottawa-area cabinet minister under the Harper government, the Canadian Secretary to the Queen, under the Privy Council Office.
Key: Prior to 2003, their responsibilities included National Parks and historic sites. The Minister of Canadian Heritage is responsible for: The Minister's general powers and functions are set out by section 4 of the Department of Canadian Heritage Act, which provides as follows: The powers and functions of the Minister extend to and include all matters over which Parliament has jurisdiction, not by law assigned to any other department, board or agency of the Government of Canada, relating to Canadian identity and values, cultural development and heritage; the Minister’s jurisdiction referred to in subsection encompasses, but is not limited to, jurisdiction over the promotion of a greater understanding of human rights, fundamental freedoms and related values. In addition, sections 42 to 44 of the Official Languages Act confer certain other responsibilities on the Minister of Canadian Heritage. Our Ministers and Secretaries of State "Full list of Justin Trudeau's cabinet 31-member cabinet includes 15 women, attempt at regional balance".
CBC News. 2015-11-04
Yukon is the smallest and westernmost of Canada's three federal territories. It has the smallest population of any province or territory in Canada, with 35,874 people, although it has the largest city in any of the three territories. Whitehorse is Yukon's only city. Yukon was split from the Northwest Territories in 1898 and was named the Yukon Territory; the federal government's Yukon Act, which received royal assent on March 27, 2002, established Yukon as the territory's official name, though Yukon Territory is still popular in usage and Canada Post continues to use the territory's internationally approved postal abbreviation of YT. Though bilingual, the Yukon government recognizes First Nations languages. At 5,959 m, Yukon's Mount Logan, in Kluane National Park and Reserve, is the highest mountain in Canada and the second-highest on the North American continent. Most of Yukon has a subarctic climate, characterized by brief warm summers; the Arctic Ocean coast has a tundra climate. Notable rivers include the Yukon River, as well as the Pelly, Peel and Tatshenshini rivers.
The territory is named after the longest river in Yukon. The name itself is from a contraction of the words in the Gwich'in phrase chųų gąįį han, which means white water river and refers to "the pale colour" of glacial runoff in the Yukon River. Long before the arrival of Europeans and southern Yukon was populated by First Nations people, the area escaped glaciation. Sites of archeological significance in Yukon hold some of the earliest evidence of the presence of human habitation in North America; the sites safeguard the earliest First Nations of the Yukon. The volcanic eruption of Mount Churchill in 800 AD in what is now the U. S. state of Alaska blanketed southern Yukon with a layer of ash which can still be seen along the Klondike Highway, which forms part of the oral tradition of First Nations peoples in Yukon and further south in Canada. Coastal and inland First Nations had extensive trading networks. European incursions into the area began early in the 19th century with the fur trade, followed by missionaries.
By the 1870s and 1880s gold miners began to arrive. This drove a population increase that justified the establishment of a police force, just in time for the start of the Klondike Gold Rush in 1897; the increased population coming with the gold rush led to the separation of the Yukon district from the Northwest Territories and the formation of the separate Yukon Territory in 1898. The territory is the approximate shape of a right triangle, bordering the U. S. state of Alaska to the west and northwest for 1,210 km along longitude 141° W, the Northwest Territories to the east and British Columbia to the south. Its northern coast is on the Beaufort Sea, its ragged eastern boundary follows the divide between the Yukon Basin and the Mackenzie River drainage basin to the east in the Mackenzie mountains. Most of the territory is in the watershed of the Yukon River; the southern Yukon is dotted with a large number of large and narrow glacier-fed alpine lakes, most of which flow into the Yukon River system.
The larger lakes include Teslin Lake, Atlin Lake, Tagish Lake, Marsh Lake, Lake Laberge, Kusawa Lake and Kluane Lake. Bennett Lake on the Klondike Gold Rush trail is a lake flowing into Nares Lake, with the greater part of its area within Yukon. Canada's highest point, Mount Logan, is in the territory's southwest. Mount Logan and a large part of Yukon's southwest are in Kluane National Park and Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Other national parks include Ivvavik National Vuntut National Park in the north. Other watersheds include the Mackenzie River, the Peel Watershed and the Alsek–Tatshenshini, a number of rivers flowing directly into the Beaufort Sea; the two main Yukon rivers flowing into the Mackenzie in the Northwest Territories are the Liard River in the southeast and the Peel River and its tributaries in the northeast. Notable widespread tree species within Yukon are white spruce. Many trees are stunted because of severe climate; the capital, Whitehorse, is the largest city, with about three-quarters of the population.
British Columbia Northwest Territories Alaska, United States While the average winter temperature in Yukon is mild by Canadian arctic standards, no other place in North America gets as cold as Yukon during extreme cold snaps. The temperature has dropped down to −60 °C three times, 1947, 1954, 1968; the most extreme cold snap occurred in February 1947 when the abandoned town of Snag dropped down to −63.0 °C. Unlike most of Canada where the most extreme heat waves occur in July and September, Yukon's extreme heat tends to occur in June and May. Yukon has recorded 36 °C three times; the first time was in June 1969 when Mayo recorded a temperature of 36.1 °C. 14 years this record was beaten when Forty Mile recorded 36 °C in May 1983. The old record was broken 21 years in June 2004 when the Mayo Road weather station, located just northwest of Whitehorse, recorded a temperature of 36.5 °C. The 2016 census reported a Yukon population of 35,874, an increase of 5.8% from 2011. With a land area of 474,712.64 km2, it had a population de
Constitution Act, 1867
The Constitution Act, 1867 is a major part of Canada's Constitution. The Act created a federal dominion and defines much of the operation of the Government of Canada, including its federal structure, the House of Commons, the Senate, the justice system, the taxation system; the British North America Acts, including this Act, were renamed in 1982 with the patriation of the Constitution. Amendments were made at this time: section 92A was added, giving provinces greater control over non-renewable natural resources; the Act begins with a preamble declaring that the three provinces New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and the Province of Canada have requested to form "one Dominion...with a Constitution similar in Principle to that of the United Kingdom". This description of the Constitution has proven important in its interpretation; as Peter Hogg wrote in Constitutional Law of Canada, some have argued that, since the United Kingdom had some freedom of expression in 1867, the preamble extended this right to Canada before the enactment of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1982.
In New Brunswick Broadcasting Co. v. Nova Scotia, the leading Canadian case on parliamentary privilege, the Supreme Court of Canada grounded its 1993 decision on the preamble. Moreover, since the UK had a tradition of judicial independence, the Supreme Court ruled in the Provincial Judges Reference of 1997 that the preamble shows judicial independence in Canada is constitutionally guaranteed. Political scientist Rand Dyck has criticized the preamble, saying it is "seriously out of date", he claims the Act "lacks an inspirational introduction". The preamble to the Act is not the Constitution of Canada's only preamble; the Charter has a preamble. Part I consists of just two sections. Section 1 gives the short title of the law as Constitution Act, 1867. Section 2 indicates that all references to the Queen apply to all her heirs and successors; the Act establishes the Dominion of Canada by uniting the North American British "Provinces" of Canada, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia. Section 3 establishes that the union would take effect within six months of passage of the Act and Section 4 confirms "Canada" as the name of the country.
Section 5 lists the four provinces of the new federation. These are formed by dividing the former Province of Canada into two: its two subdivisions, Canada West and Canada East, renamed Ontario and Quebec become full provinces in Section 6. Section 7 confirms that the boundaries of New Brunswick are not changed, and Section 8 provides. Section 9 confirms that all executive powers remain with the Queen, as represented by the Governor General or an administrator of the government, as stated in Section 10. Section 11 creates the Queen's Privy Council for Canada. Section 12 states that the executive branches of the Provinces continue to exist and their power is exercised through the Lieutenant Governors, that the powers exercised by the federal government must be exercised through the Governor General, either with the advice of the privy council or alone. Section 13 defines the Governor General in Council as the Governor General acting with the advice of the Privy Council. Section 14 allows the Governor General to appoint deputies to exercise his powers in various parts of Canada.
The Commander-in-Chief of all armed forces in Canada continues with the Queen under Section 15. Section 16 declares Ottawa the capital of the new federation; the Parliament of Canada comprises the Queen and two chambers, as created by section 17. Section 18 defines its powers and privileges as being no greater than those of the British parliament. Section 19 states that Parliament's first session must begin six months after the passage of the Act and Section 20 holds that Parliament must hold a legislative session at least once every twelve months; the Senate has 105 Senators, most of whom represent one of four equal divisions: Ontario, the Maritime Provinces and the Western Provinces. Section 23 lays out the qualifications to become a Senator. Senators are appointed by the Governor General under Section 24, the first group of senators was proclaimed under section 25. Section 26 allows The Crown to add four or eight Senators at a time to the Senate, divided among the divisions, but according to section 27 no more senators can be appointed until, by death or retirement, the number of senators drops below the regular limit of 24 per division.
The maximum number of senators was set at 113, in Section 28. Senators are appointed for life, under Section 29, though they can resign under Section 30 and can be removed under the terms of section 31, in which case the vacancy can be filled by the Governor General. Section 33 gives the Senate the power to rule on its own disputes over vacancy; the Speaker of the Senate is appointed and dismissed by Governor General under Section 34. Quorum for the Senate is set at 15 senators by Section 35, voting procedures are set by Section 36; the composition of the Commons, under Section 37, consists of 30
1997 Canadian federal election
The 1997 Canadian federal election was held on June 2 to elect members of the House of Commons of Canada of the 36th Parliament of Canada. Prime Minister Jean Chrétien's Liberal Party of Canada won a second majority government; the Reform Party of Canada replaced the Bloc Québécois as the Official Opposition. The election results followed the pattern of the 1993 election; the Liberals swept Ontario. Reform made sufficient gains in the West to allow Preston Manning to become Leader of the Official Opposition, but lost its only seat east of Manitoba; the most significant change was major gains in Atlantic Canada by the New Democratic Party and the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada. The Liberals faced major losses, including two cabinet ministers; the Liberals' victory was not in doubt, though some commentators on election night were predicting that they would be cut down to a minority government, that Chrétien might lose his seat. Chrétien narrowly won his riding, the Liberals maintained a four-seat majority thanks to gains in Quebec at the expense of the Bloc.
Jean Charest's Tories and Alexa McDonough's NDP both regained official party status in the House of Commons. A change of 718 votes in just five ridings from the Liberals to the second place candidate would have resulted in a minority government; this was the first time that five political parties held official party status in a single session of Canada's Parliament. Voter turnout was 67.0% low at the time for Canadian elections. Prime Minister Jean Chrétien announced his approved request by Governor General Roméo LeBlanc to dissolve Parliament on April 26, 1997, with an election to be held on June 2 of that year. Chrétien's election call was one year and a half before the mandate of the government would expire, aside from the 1911 election, the earliest called by a party with a majority. Opinion polls at the time predicted that the Liberal Party was expected to win a landslide victory capturing at least 180 to 220 of the 301 seats in the House of Commons, with the fragmentation of the opposition meaning that one party was not expected to be able to defeat the government.
The election call was controversial both for being early and for occurring during Manitoba's recovery from the Red River Flood earlier in the year. Reg Alcock and several others inside the Liberal Party had opposed the timing of the vote, the poor results prompted Paul Martin's supporters to organize against Chrétien; the Liberal Party under Jean Chrétien campaigned on promising to continue to cut the federal deficit to allow for a budget surplus, to spend one half of the surplus on repaying Canada's national debt and cutting taxes while the other half of the surplus would be used to increase funding to health care, assistance for Canadian children in poverty, job creation. The platform was called Securing Our Future Together; the Liberal Party was attacked by the opposition parties for failing to keep many of the promises that the party campaigned on in the 1993 federal election. The Liberals attacked the Progressive Conservatives and the Reform Party for prematurely calling for tax cuts while a deficit still remained while attacking the New Democratic Party for proposing to increase government spending while Canada faced a deficit.
The Liberals suffered from a number of gaffes in their campaign. In one incident, when Jean Chrétien was questioned by reporters over the cost of the Liberals' election proposal of a national pharmacare program, reporters claimed that Chrétien was unsure of what the cost would be. Chrétien turned down invitations for interviews by Canada's national media outlet, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and MuchMusic. In the televised debates between the five major political parties, Chrétien apologized to Canadians for his government having cut funding for social programs to reduce the deficit. On election day, the Liberals won with a reduced majority. While they lost much of their support in Atlantic Canada, they won all but two seats in Ontario and improved on their numbers in Quebec, they were only assured of a majority. The Reform Party under Preston Manning campaigned on preserving national unity through decentralization of multiple federal government powers to all of the provinces, cutting taxes, reducing the size of government, reducing spending, opposing distinct society status for Quebec.
Feeling that the general acceptance of deficit reduction at the federal and provincial level had been encouraged by their party, Reform saw a chance to make the party a national in scope by making political inroads outside of the west in Ontario. Their platform was titled the Fresh Start for all Canadians; the Reformers ran a full slate of candidates in Quebec, making this the first and last election in which it would run candidates in every region of Canada. Reform's campaign ran into multiple problems; the party was accused by other parties and the media of holding intolerant views due to comments made by a number of Reform MPs during the writ period. Critics had accused the party's performance during the 1993-1997 parliament of being disorganized. Tension between the party's democratic nature and the leader-centric model of modern campaigning led to Manning's leadership abilities being questioned by a number of former members, including Stephen Harper, who accused Manning of inappropriately using a C$31,000 personal expens
Joseph Jacques Jean Chrétien is a Canadian politician who served as the 20th prime minister of Canada from November 4, 1993, to December 12, 2003. Born and raised in Shawinigan, Chrétien is a law graduate from Université Laval, he was first elected to the House of Commons of Canada in 1963. He served in various cabinet posts under Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, most prominently as Minister of Justice, Minister of Finance, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, he served as Deputy Prime Minister in John Turner's short-lived government. He became leader of the Liberal Party of Canada in 1990, led the party to a majority government in the 1993 federal election, he was reelected with further majorities in 1997 and 2000. Chrétien was opposed to the Quebec sovereignty movement and supported official bilingualism and multiculturalism, he won a narrow victory as leader of the federalist camp in the 1995 Quebec referendum, pioneered the Clarity Act to avoid ambiguity in future referendum questions.
He advanced the Youth Criminal Justice Act in Parliament. Although his popularity and that of the Liberal Party were unchallenged for three consecutive federal elections, he became subject to various political controversies in the years of his prime-ministership, he was accused of inappropriate behaviour in the Sponsorship scandal, although he has denied any wrongdoing. He became embroiled in a protracted struggle within the Liberal Party against long-time political rival Paul Martin, he retired as prime minister in December 2003, left public life altogether in order to spend more time with his grandchildren. In retrospective polling, Chrétien ranks among scholars and the public. Chrétien was born on January 11, 1934, in Shawinigan, Quebec, as the 18th of 19 children, of Marie and Wellie Chrétien; the working-class Chrétien family was poor, Chrétien had to wear clothing, worn by his siblings as his parents were too indigent to buy new clothing for him. Chrétien's parents wanted their children to escape a working- class life in Shawinigan by attending classical colleges, which were the only way one could attend university in Quebec at the time.
Chrétien's older brother Maurice won a scholarship at the insurance company he was working for, which allowed him to attend medical school, with the profits from his medical practice to allow his younger siblings to attend the classical colleges. Wellie Chrétien was a staunch Liberal who once got to shake hands as a young man with his hero, Sir Wilfrid Laurier; the local parish priest, Father Auger, a supporter of the Union Nationale who hated all Liberals as "ungodly," and spread malicious rumours about the Liberal Chrétien family, saying he would never let a teenage girl go on a date unchaperoned with any of the Chrétien boys, which caused the young Jean Chrétien to have troubled relations with the Catholic church. As a young boy, Chrétien had to read the dictionary. During the Second World War, the Canadian nationalist Wellie Chrétien had attracted much public disapproval by being a staunch supporter of the war effort, by being one of the few French-Canadians in Shawinigan willing to publicly support sending the conscripts to fight overseas.
Under the 1940 National Resources Mobilization Act, the federal government could conscript Canadians only for the defence of Canada, until late 1944, only volunteers went to fight overseas. In 1940s Quebec, where many French-Canadians were opposed to Canada fighting in the war, to sending the "Zombies" overseas, this made Wellie Chrétien and his family outcasts. Furthermore, during the Grande Noirceur when Quebec society was dominated by the corrupt Union Nationale patronage machine, the Chrétien family were excluded because of Wellie Chrétien's support for the war; the Union Nationale Premier Maurice Duplessis had been an outspoken opponent of Canadian participation in World War Two. Until 1964, Quebec had no public schools, Chrétien was educated in Catholic schools. Chrétien disliked the Catholic priests who educated him and in turn was disliked by them with one of Chrétien's former teachers, Father François Lanoue, recalling that Chrétien was the only student he had to beat up in his classroom as was too unruly.
Chrétien in an interview called his education "unnatural" as he recalled an strict regime where the priests beat anyone bloody who dared to question their authority while teaching via rote learning. One of Chrétien's classmates recalled "We didn't have the right to have feelings or express them"; as a young man, Chrétien was well known for his love of violence, as someone who relished his reputation as a local tough guy, most happy when punching out his fellow students. One of Chrétien's classmates recalled that he was much feared on the account of his "atrocious temper". Chrétien studied law at Université Laval; as a student at Trois-Rivières, Chrétien recalled that his best day at that school was his first day when he attacked without provocation another student taller than himself, leading him to proudly remember that: "I socked it to him bad. In front of everybody!". Chrétien recalled that his assault was meant to send the message to the other students: "Don't mess with Chrétien!". When asked in an interview by his biographer Lawrence Martin about what subject he was best at in high school, Chrétien replied: "It was street fighting that I was best at".
Despite the thuggish image that he cultivated at Séminaire Saint-Joseph, Chrétien's grades were high, wit