25 Years Ago PM Jean Chrétien Gave The Shawinigan Handshake & Could You Imagine If That Happened Today

You can almost imagine the outrage that would happen today if Canada’s top politician gave someone the Shawinigan Handshake. That doesn’t mean we didn’t see outrage 25 years ago when Prime Minister Jean Chrétien wrapped his hands around a mans neck and gave him the infamous Shawinigan Handshake. 

Jean Chrétien was Canada’s 20th Prime Minister at the time of the famous incident. 

The Shawinigan handshake happened when an anti-poverty protestor by the name of Bill Clennett approached the Prime Minister aggressively. Chrétien then placed one hand behind the mans neck and one on his chin and forced him out of the way. 

Chrétien exuded so much force that he actually broke the mans tooth. 

This wasn’t even the end of it. With the Prime Minister leaving he then knocked a mega phone out of the hands of another protestor. 

By the end of the bedlam the media was proclaiming the end of the popular Prime Minister’s tenure, it didn’t stop with the media either. Reform Party member, who remembers the Reform Party?, Deborah Grey nicknamed Prime Minister Chrétien “The Shawinigan Strangler”.

Could you imagine what would happen today if Prime Minister Justin Trudeau or even Ontario’s Premier Doug Ford grabbed a protester? It was a different time and to quote Prime Minister Jean Chrétien “some people came my way… and I had to go, so if you’re in my way….”

At the time some people even loved him for it. 


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