In an open letter published Saturday morning in several newspapers, former prime minister Jean Chrétien says he is ashamed of Stephen Harper.

Chretien wrote in the Globe and Mail, La Presse and Le Devoir that Harper's reaction to the refugee crises in Syria and Iraq have helped to cast Canada as a "cold-hearted" nation in the international community, and that he has "shamed Canada."

'What has happened to the country that was a model for peace and stability in a tumultuous world? These questions evoke great sadness in me.' - Jean Chrétien

"In my travels around the globe, I am regularly asked: What has happened to Canada? What has happened to the advanced, peace-seeking, progressive country Canada once was? What has happened to the country that was a model for peace and stability in a tumultuous world? These questions evoke great sadness in me," Chrétien wrote.

"I am sad to see that in fewer than 10 years, the Harper government has tarnished almost 60 years of Canada's reputation as a builder of peace and progress."

Chrétien, of Shawinigan, Que., served as prime minister of Canada between 1993 and 2003.

He implored Canadians to "choose a government in line with our great tradition of peace-building, initiated by Mr. Pearson and promoted by all of his successors until the arrival of the Harper administration.

"Let's take back our place in the world."