OTTAWA, May 2, 2003 ( – During Wednesday’s parliamentary Question Period, Canadian Alliance Foreign Affairs critic Stockwell Day confronted the prime minister about what might have been his real motives for keeping Canada out of the Iraqi conflict.  Day began his discourse by noting that France is leading a coalition of countries to divide NATO and that the “The Prime Minister supported France’s last adventure by not joining our allies to confront Saddam Hussein”.  The Alliance critic then asked why the PM is not loudly opposing France’s actions against NATO.  Day stated “it is legitimately in the public interest to know where the Prime Minister gets his advice on these important foreign affairs matters” and followed with a question on what CTVs Mike Duffy that evening said has been “the buzz that’s been in the corridors of Parliament Hill for a month now.”“I do not fault the Prime Minister’s family ties with his nephew, our Ambassador to France,” said Day “or with Paul Desmarais Sr. who is the largest individual shareholder of France’s largest corporation, TotalFinaElf, which has billions of dollars of contracts with Saddam’s former regime. With this valuable source of information and experience at his fingertips, has the Prime Minister ever discussed Iraq or France with his family or friends in the Desmarais empire?”  The Prime Minister responded with his typical approach of belittling the questioner for daring to make such insinuations.  Day has been concerned about the Desmarais/Chretien connection for some time. On November 5, 2000 the Sun Chain’s Canoe website reported on his comments about the “corrupting” centralization of power in Jean Chretien’s office. The article further stated Day “alluded to the ‘power elite’ and the ‘power corporation’ that surrounds Chretien in his office. That was taken as a veiled reference to Power Corp.,the Montreal holding company…”  Coincidentally, in recent weeks Financial Post columnist Dianne Francis has also been emphasizing the Chretien/Desmarais/France/TotalFinaElf connection. On April 1 she wrote that there was a deal “between Saddam Hussein and France’s largest corporation, TotalFinaElf, to exploit the country’s (Iraq) largest oil field on the Iranian border north of Basra”. The deal would have allowed TotalFinaElf to earn back its $4 billion investment in just 11 months.

Francis continued that Chretien has become “a dupe of Paris” and that “this is hardly surprising.” She explained “Total’s biggest shareholder is Montreal’s Paul Desmarais, whose youngest son is married to Prime Minister Jean Chretien’s daughter. Mr. Desmarais Sr. also sits on Total’s board of directors, along with other ranking members of France’s establishment. And then there is another French connection. The Prime Minister’s nephew, Raymond Chretien, who publicly disdained George W. Bush while Canada’s Ambassador to Washington, is now Canada’s lapdog to Jacques Chirac as Ambassador to France.”  The Iraqi war aside, this is the latest episode in the on-going controversy about whether Canada’s autocratic, UN world governance and de-population supporting Prime Minister is unduly influenced by strings to the wealthy Desmarais family.  See National Post report on Stockwell Day’s comments re: Desmarais connection