Canada - Personal background

Joseph Jacques Jean Chrétien was born in rural Shawinigan, Quebec, on 11 January 1934, the eighteenth of nineteen children. His father was a machinist who was deeply committed to the Liberal Party and acted as an organizer in local politics. Young Jean inherited his father's love of politics and by the age of 12 was working for the Liberal Party. After attending schools in Shawinigan, Jollette, and Trois-Rivieres, Chrétien entered Laval University to study law. Admitted to the bar in 1958, Chrétien joined a law firm in Shawinigan and served as director of the bar of Trois-Rivieres in 1962–63. He was first elected to the House of Commons in 1963, representing the constituency of St. Maurice-Lafleche. Jean Chrétien married Aline Chaine in 1957. They have three grown children.

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