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Liberal prime minister Jean Chrétien's decision to break with U.S. President George W. Bush on the 2003 invasion of Iraq was a very public and rare expression of Canadian sovereignty that many critics here feared would jeopardize U.S.-Canada relations for years.

Privately for Chrétien, it was also one of the defining moments of his 40-year political career, including a decade as prime minister –- a bold declaration of independence and one that many Canadians supported despite this country’s record of joining previous U.S. military efforts, including the 1990-91 Persian Gulf War, Afghanistan War and Korean War.

“There was no big bitterness. There...

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