November 7, 2002
Anne Dawson and Bill Curry
'I don't want to be the Mulroney of Liberals': PM's speech to caucus: Warns that divisions could bring defeat
OTTAWA - Jean Chretien told his caucus yesterday that he was disappointed 56 Liberal MPs voted against his government on Tuesday and warned that unless the party pulls together it risks losing the next election.
In a 20-minute speech that some MPs described as "rambling", the Prime Minister shifted back and forth, attempting to assure his caucus that discipline is necessary to keep the party united and almost threatening them that he holds the keys to their futures.
Anne Cools, a Liberal Senator, said Mr. Chretien is losing the "moral force" to govern.
"What you're dealing with is a leader engaged against his own supporters, his own caucus," she said. "It's a continuing disaffection with his own caucus. I fear for him, because that disaffection can become disrespect, which can then become contempt. So I fear for him and his ability to lead and head the government."