I was surprised by that, but - when I sought his permission - Jean Chretien wasn't. "Help them," he said. "I don't want them to win anytime soon, but I don't want them held hostage by goddamn Nazis, either."
That line resonates with me on so many levels. What I like the most, I think, is the idea of Kinsella asking for permission to do the right thing, but for an adversary - and his boss putting the common good above all else.
It could have been a golden opportunity to inflict all kinds of brand-damage on an opponent. In today's political climate, it almost certainly would have been.
But that's not what leadership is about. Leaders are never willing to put a short-term win ahead of the long-term sustainability of the whole.
There's a lesson in here for any aspiring political leaders out there.
That's what leadership is all about.