Book Reviews

New Autobiography by the Prime Minister, Jean Chrétien

Book jacket of By Da BallsBy Da Balls

By Jean Chrétien
Reviewed by Crusty Blanche-Froid
795 pages, $41.95, Rattail Press

The Prime Minister's new book, apparently written just after the World Trade Center bombings, is expected to have brisk sales after it appears in book stores this week. This new book, of the 'tell all' genre, is designed to bolster the Prime Minister's image as a fearless street fighter who overcame all odds to become the most popular and powerful prime minister in the nation's history.

It is an amazing tale, full of courage and determination, one that describes the trials and tribulations of a young man from a rural Quebec constituency who despite a total lack of discernible talents overcame enormous mental and physical deficiencies to become 'da boss' of a one party dictatorship ruling an indifferent and supine nation of over 31 million people.

The book is written in the second person singular, which is unusual for an autobiography, but every now and then the editor allows him to puts things in his own words. This technique can be jarring since it makes it seem he didn't actually write the book at all, but I have to admit these excursions into his usual fractured baffelgab give the book a certain earthy charm like Jean is just chatting to a group of rich golf buddy pals around the watering hole after a strenuous game. 

The opening line sets the tone for the entire book and explains its title: "I am just getting up and I am sitting in de batroom of Sussex Drive while Aline is telling de Mountie cook how I am wanting my eggs (lightly over) and frites (no poutine) and I am tinking, How is it dat I am having de peoples by de balls and yet I am still having high polls dat is proving dat dey love me? "

The Prime Minister then goes on for 795 pages (returning to the second person singular) to describe his amazing career that takes him through 30 odd years of parliamentary skullduggery starting with his service to his hero and mentor Pierre Trudeau (who one suspects despised him) through an amazing number of government portfolios where he honed his skills at double dealing and back stabbing. The story of his tussles with John Turner are told in all their depravity and the mind boggles with the number of lies told beyond count to get to his present position of total power. And he doesn't spare the reader from self-serving apolgias about the situations that were dangerous for him personally: The time he had to wrestle a street mugger to the ground in Hull, and how he escaped criminal prosecution by using his power in l'affaire Grand-Mere; and finally, the peril he put himself in by standing in the dangerous rubble of the WTC site while he comforted the Canadian volunteer relief workers who couldn't get permission to hand out doughnuts and hot coffee.

The book is apparently in response to criticism that he was slug footed, indecisive, and showed precious little leadership in mobilizing the nation after the Trade Center bombings. The fact that it was put together in only two weeks gives credence to the charge that he didn't actually write the book. The word is out that the real author is Warren Kinsella, a purported wordsmith and a long-time Liberal backroom hack and confidante of the Prime Minister. Mr. Kinsella is also the author of another tell-all book, the forthright Kissing Ass, (reviewed below) which outlines the realpolitik of media and elites manipulation that underlies the Liberal strategy and explains how the Liberals will continue to run a one-party dictatorship until Canadians wake up to what has happened to their country. 

KISSING ASS In Canadian Politics
By Warren Kinsella


Book jacket for 'Kissing Ass' by Warren Kinsella

Liberal strategist and kingmaker, Warren Kinsella, in his new book details in frank, graphical language how he masterminded the Liberals' takeover of Canada.

Excerpt: "Kissing ass, is the surest way to get ahead in Canadian politics, and I've got the chapped lips to prove it. I kissed so many asses in my fast-rising career that I gave new meaning to the term liposuction.

At the beginning, when I ran unsuccessfully for political office, I just wish I hadn't been such a nice guy, trading only on my rich tapestry of natural talents.

I'm rich now, and a Liberal Party bigwig, so it doesn't hurt so much that I lost.

But I learned a valuable lesson: when you're on the make, above all, go on a wild ass kissing orgy and you can't help but get to be a top Liberal under a man like Jean Chrétien who loves being surrounded by ass kissers."

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