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Chrétien: "My Balls Saved Canada"


Testifying before the Gomery Inquiry into the sponsorship scandal, former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien indicated that it was his "small-town cheap" golf balls that in fact saved the country.

"After the referendum, we realized that we needed to take action to win the hearts and minds of Quebecers. If it weren't for my personally monogrammed balls, there's no way Québec would still be part of Canada today," Chretien told the inquiry. "The separatists, they would have overrun us."

"I can't tell you how many people came up to me to tell me how much they loved hitting my balls," the former Prime Minister added. "My balls, they saved the country, no doubt about that. You'd have to go through surly border guards at the Mackenzie King bridge today if it weren't for my balls."

Chretien then held up one of his balls for all to see, as proof of their effectiveness in promoting national unity.

Just after the 1995 Québec referendum on sovereignty, Chretien ordered 300 golf balls bearing his signature under the federal SAVE CANADA sponsorship fund. They were given to golfers throughout Québec at a total cost of $1,200.

Showing off his balls
"If it ensured that just one person gave themselves to le Canada because of my balls, it was all worth it," said Chrétien, who defended himself in his typically scrappy manner.

Raymond Latourtiere of Grand-Mère, Québec, was one of the recipients of the Prime Minister's balls. Testifying before the inquiry three weeks ago, when nobody was paying attention, the 46-year-old roofing contractor corroborated Chrétien's bold declaration about the effectiveness of his balls.

Latourtière said he received a package of three of the PM's 'signature' balls as a prize at his wife's office tournament in 1998, and immediately saw the light. "I was a total separatist for sure back then," admitted the now-committed federalist before Mr. Justice John "Best Show in Town" Gomery. "But then, I got a sleeve of golf balls with the Prime Minister's signature on them, and I realized, instantly, that I really loved Canada."

"I'd do it again. My signed balls were the best investment we ever made," concluded a defiant 'petit gars de Shawinigan,' before the inquiry broke for martinis and a trip to the indoor driving range.

Posted on February 9th, 2005


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