There was no love lost between former Ontario Progressive Conservative premier Mike Harris and former Liberal prime minister Jean Chrétien -- as viewers of the CBC and Radio-Canada's documentary on the 1995 Quebec referendum, Breaking Point, were reminded.
In a pointed interview for the two-part film, which concludes tonight on CBC, Harris recalls the "arrogance" of the federalist forces and sharply criticizes Chrétien and his advisers for not listening to outsiders like, say, the premier of Ontario.
He notes they thought he should spend his time on reforming the welfare system and cutting taxes and leave the constitutional thinking to the grownups in Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City.
Despite the sour relations over this and other issues, sources say Harris always remembered to phone Chrétien to wish him happy birthday every Jan. 11.
"Bonne fete, mon ami," Harris would say in his annual call, using practically every word of French he knows.
Perhaps it was on one of these calls that Chrétien took his -- and former Reform Party leader Preston Manning's -- advice and introduced the Clarity Act to ensure Quebec secessionist does not happen as the result of a murky referendum question.