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“Politicians in Canada are hitting the campaign trails, but can any of them do what former prime minister Jean Chrétien can?” That’s the question the CBC poses to its readers after showing them a new video of 81-year old Jean Chrétien waterskiing in Quebec. They pitch it like a soft news story. Perhaps it is. Then again, maybe there’s more to this. This is an election campaign, and Chrétien is a Liberal. Is there greater meaning behind his little stunt?

Love ’em or hate ’em, the Liberals have been languishing in the polls. They aren’t sucking super hard, but they aren’t giving us much reason to think that they will form the next government. Not yet, anyway. Picture this: Jean Chrétien streaking by on a single waterski. He’s 81 years old. He’s still got it. And if he’s still got it, surely the Liberals do too! This motivates an electorate desperate for charisma. The Liberals march to victory. Could it happen? It’s too early to tell.

This isn't the traditional Shawinigan Handshake, but it will do for now.

This isn’t the traditional Shawinigan Handshake, but it will do for now.
Screenshot from video on CBC

Speaking of hypotheticals, is this waterski video a sign that Chrétien is “testing the waters” for another run at the federal Liberal leadership? Or, maybe even for a last minute run at representing Shawinigan, now part of St. Maurice-Champlain, in the next Parliament? Each represents a distinct possibility (in that it is distinct from other, more probable possibilities, like the idea that ol’ Jean just likes waterskiing). We’ll have to wait and see what happens.

For those in search of immediate results, we turn our attention to the latest polls. How are the Liberals doing in the post-Chrétien waterski era? Did they experience a much needed bump? Have they surpassed the Conservatives in vote-rich Ontario? Are they making inroads in Chrétien’s home province of Quebec? Unfortunately, there are no new polls since the waterski video hit the internet. So, as with everything else, we’ll have to wait and see what happens.