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1994 - Mr Major’s Joint Doorstep Interview with Jean Chretien

Below is Mr Major’s joint doorstep interview with the Canadian Prime Minister, Jean Chretien, held in London on Friday 3rd June 1994.


PRIME MINISTER:

I was delighted to have had the opportunity of talking to the Prime Minister today. This morning we had the pleasure of attending a ceremony in which Her Majesty the Queen unveiled a memorial to the one million Canadians who fought with us during the Second World War. In that was 100,000 Canadians died, a very remarkable contribution by Canada and I was delighted to be present this morning at the unveiling of that remarkable monument as it sits in Green Park and so close to Buckingham Palace.

This afternoon the Prime Minister and I have had the opportunity of reviewing the Anglo-Canadian relationship, but to be frank we have spent more time on international affairs, Anglo-Canadian relationships are in good heart, we have no bilateral problems, the Prime Minister is one of the few Western Heads of Government who has a growth rate larger than the British at present and he is very pleased about it and I am also pleased that Canada is doing so well.

Internationally we looked at Bosnia, Canada has a very remarkable record at peace-keeping, has had troops in Bosnia, we discussed and reviewed the situation there. We took the opportunity of looking forward to the G7 summit at Naples where I know the Prime Minister has a number of matters that he wishes to raise and we touched upon other international matters, I will not weary you with a full list of those, no doubt you may wish to ask questions in a few moments.

JEAN CHRETIEN:

Thank you, Prime Minister, I think that you said everything I have to say. I think that we had a good meeting and will have the occasion to have other discussions over the weekend and we will be crossing the Channel together on the Britannia so the weather will probably be good and we might have other occasions to discuss, but the subjects that he mentioned to you are exactly the same subjects that I do have to raise.


QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

QUESTION:

[In French and not translated].

JEAN CHRETIEN:

[In French and not translated]

QUESTION:

Could you elaborate on your discussions about Bosnia and whether there was any desire on the part of Mr Major for Canada to commit to a further six months on that, was there any discussion of that, I know that New Zealand is just going in there?

PRIME MINISTER:

We spent some time reviewing the present situation, we talked about the discussions in the contact group, we have looked at what has happened on the ground. One point that I think is often not discussed when people think of Bosnia at present is the extent to which what has happened in Bosnia has been successful, there were worries, one will remember, that the way might spread beyond Bosnia when that first started, that has not happened. The second point I think of considerable progress is that right across central Bosnia a peace has been establish that was not there some time ago, there is still further to go but we ought not under-estimate the progress that has been made. We both have to decide what happens later on in the year, I think we are both committed to making sure that there is a proper humanitarian operation in Bosnia and I think that will continue, but the Prime Minister no doubt will wish to add something to that.

JEAN CHRETIEN:

I agree entirely with the Prime Minister about the progress and we have decided that we will keep in consultation because it is better to have a common front there and we have to maintain the humanitarian aspect of it. We all hope that there will be a negotiated peace soon in the interests of everybody but we have to wait and see what will be the development in the next few months. We do not have to review our mandate before the end of September so at this time it is purely hypothetical, we are there and we will stay there until the end of September.

QUESTION:

Did you discuss the situation of British pensioners now living in Canada whose pensions have been frozen at the 1977 rate?

JEAN CHRETIEN:

I mentioned the problem but it is a problem for the British government and with financial consequences and I was told that the Canadians are not alone in that situation, that there are other citizens of other nations who are receiving the same type of pension. I mentioned the problem and the Prime Minister recognised that there was a problem but he did not offer a solution.

QUESTION:

[Inaudible].

PRIME MINISTER:

It happens in a number of countries, it is not just a problem for Canada and it is not a problem to which I have a solution today.

QUESTION:

Was there any discussion of Quebec’s sovereignty?

JEAN CHRETIEN:

We discussed that, yes indeed, he was interested to know my views and I was happy to report to the Prime Minister that in a poll in Canada today the majority of the Quebec people approved of the visit of Mr Bush [inaudible] to promote separation and good support for the position that I have taken and my government that the pre-occupation for Canadians is of growth and job creation and talking constitution. I know that I campaign against this subject so I am not going to start to discuss the Canadian constitution in England, I am not talking about it in Canada.