OTTAWA, July 31, 2002 ( – Canada’s political landscape may soon shift dramatically with the ouster of two of its longest-serving figures. Jean Chretien, who has sat in the House of Commons on and off since 1963, and Joe Clark, first elected in 1972.  Public supporters of popular Finance Minister Paul Martin’s mounting coup, including pro-life backbench Liberal M.P. Dan McTeague, want Chretien to state clearly by next month whether he intends to retire. “I think he has to clear the air very quickly,” said McTeague. “There is not much room left for him to manoeuvre. … The prime minister is clearly learning day by day the extent to which the Canadian public and the Liberal rank-and-file are expecting him to step aside.” At the same time, Quebec Liberals are mobilizing to support Martin’s long-awaited bid for power.  Ideally, Chretien must announce his departure by November 12, when delegate selection starts for the Liberal convention next February. One exit strategy reportedly popular in party ranks would oblige Chretien to announce before November—and to step down next April after his 40th anniversary as an M.P. This would subvert a February review and entail another convention in the latter half of 2003.  Meanwhile, another political dinosaur faces a possible leadership challenge. Only weeks away from a party vote on his stewardship, Joe Clark is reported as having lost the support of at least half of his 12-member Progressive Conservative caucus, according to a Toronto Star survey. Notably, Deputy Leader Elsie Wayne, who is pro-life, will not give Clark her public endorsement and says she is awaiting the verdict of grassroots members.  To read the Canadian Press story on Martin’s coup see:   To read about Joe Clark’s leadership problems see:


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