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Hon. Raymond Chrétien

Canada Institute Advisory Board Member

Professional affiliation

Former Canadian Ambassador to the United States; Companion to the Order of Canada

Full Biography

Raymond Chrétien was born May 20,1942 in Shawinigan, Quebec. He attended the Séminaire de Joliette (B.A.) and Laval University (LL.L). In 1966 he passed the Quebec Bar examination. Later that year he joined the Legal Affairs Bureau in the Department of External Affairs.

Over the next twelve years he had assignments in Ottawa with the Privy Council Office, the Treasury Board and the Canadian International Development Agency. Outside Canada, he served at Canada's Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York and the Embassies in Beirut and Paris.

In 1978 Mr. Chrétien was named Canada's Ambassador to Zaire with joint accreditation to Rwanda, Burundi and the Congo Republic. He returned to Ottawa in 1981 where he was respectively Policy Director for Industry, Investments and Competition (81/82), Assistant Under-Secretary of Manufacturing, Technology and Transportation (82/83) and Inspector General (83/85), in the Department of External Affairs.

In 1985 he was appointed Canada's Ambassador to Mexico. Upon completing his service there he was awarded the Order of the Aztec Eagle, the highest award the Mexican government has presented to a Canadian. He then left Mexico to be named Associate Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs, the second highest position in the Department.

Mr.Chrétien served as Canada's Ambassador to Belgium and Luxemburg from 1991 to 1994 and, in January 1994 he became Canada's eighteenth representative to the United States of America.

In October 1996, Mr. Chrétien was appointed as the Secretary General of the United Nations' Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region of Central Africa to undertake an assessment of the crisis in the Great Lakes Region and to make recommendations on how the UN should respond. He presented his report and recommendations to the Security Council in December 1996.

In July 1998, Mr. Chrétien received a Certificate of Honorary Membership in the Bar of the United States Court of Appeal for the Armed Forces. In October 1999 Brock University awarded Mr. Chrétien the Degree of Doctor of Letters (honoris causa) in recognition of his contributions to Canadian public life and Canada's role in the international community. In June 2001, M. Chrétien received from his alma mater, the Université Laval of Quebec, a Doctorat in Law (honoris causa). In December 2002, the State University of New York (SUNY) confered upon M. Chrétien and Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws for his outstanding support of the Canadian Studies activities at SUNY.

Over the years Mr. Chrétien made many speeches and attended numerous seminars and conferences on international affairs in Canada, the United States, France and the United Kingdom. He appeared on many television and radio shows in Canada and abroad. You will find below some of his works accessible via the Internet.

From September 2000 to November 2003, Mr. Chrétien was Ambassador of Canada to France. Upon his departure from France, he was made "Commandeur de la Légion d'Honneur". He retired from the Federal Public Service at the beginning of 2004.

He is married to Kay Rousseau. They have a daughter, Caroline, and a son, Louis-François.

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