I can't help but recall an earlier prime minister, a guy we called "Mike," and a second-tier minister of state he appointed - again and again. That guy's name was Jean.
It was Lester Pearson who appointed Jean Chretien as his parliamentary secretary in 1965. He made Chretien parliamentary secretary to Mitchell Sharp, minister of finance, in 1966. Sharp mentored Chretien until, in January, 1968, Pearson appointed Jean Chretien minister of national revenue.
I read somewhere that Pearson knew Chretien was disappointed at being given the parliamentary secretary roles but the prime minister explained that he didn't want to put him in a minor cabinet portfolio where he might falter or fade into obscurity. The secretary of state post would give the young man political exposure while he readied himself for a power position.
Pearson knew a thing of two. He recruited, and groomed, three young men who went on to become prime ministers: Pierre Trudeau, John Turner and Jean Chretien.
|"Mike" and his Proteges|