Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
|Term of Office:||December 12, 2003 - Present|
|Date of Birth:||August 28, 1938|
|Place of Birth:||Windsor, Ontario|
|Spouse:||Sheila Ann Cowan|
The Right Honourable Paul Edgar Philippe Martin, PC, MP, (born August 28, 1938 in Windsor, Ontario) is the 21st Prime Minister of Canada, succeeding Jean Chrétien on December 12, 2003. He is leader of the Liberal Party of Canada and was re-elected with a minority government on June 28, 2004. This is the first minority government in 24 years. The Liberals won 135 of 308 seats in the Canadian House of Commons. He has been recently jokingly labeled Mr. Dithers.
A businessman and politician, Paul Martin is from a prominent Canadian political family. His father, Paul Joseph James Martin, served 33 years as a member of the Canadian House of Commons and was a cabinet minister in four Liberal governments. Martin Jr. had a bicultural upbringing. His father was a Franco-Ontarian, and his mother, Eleanor "Nell" Adams, was a Scottish Canadian. He was raised in an English-speaking environment in Windsor and Ottawa. To give him the opportunity to improve his French, his parents enrolled him in a private French-language middle school, Ecole Garneau in Ottawa. He then attended the French-Catholic University of Ottawa secondary school.
Martin graduated with a B.A. in history and philosophy from St. Michael's College, University of Toronto, in 1961. He followed his father's path to the University of Toronto Law School where he received his LL.B. in 1965. He was called to the Ontario bar in 1966.
In 1965, Martin married Sheila Ann Cowan. They have three sons, Paul, Jamie and David.
Before entering politics, Martin had a long private-sector career. He served as:
- President, CEO, and Director of the CSL Group Inc.
- Chairman and CEO of Canada Steamship Lines Inc.
- Corporate Director for C.B. Pak Inc, Redpath Industries Ltd., Fednav Ltd. , Manufacturers Life Insurance Co. , Canadian Shipbuilding & Engineering Ltd. and Imasco Corp .
- Read law with Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt, Toronto
- Lawyer (called to the bar in 1966)
- Vice-President of Power Corporation of Canada
By 1988, he was a successful businessman and a multi-millionaire. His declaration of assets upon entering Parliament included ownership of dozens of companies around the world, 33 ships, office buildings, apartment blocks and movie theatres. In 2004 Forbes.com estimated Martin's personal wealth at $225 Million USD.
In 1988, Martin was elected as the Member of Parliament for the electoral district of LaSalle—Émard in Montreal. He was a candidate at the 1990 Liberal leadership convention, losing to Jean Chrétien in a bitter race that resulted in lasting animosity between the two men and their supporters. Nonetheless, the Liberal Party won the 1993 election and Martin was appointed minister of finance by the new prime minister, Jean Chrétien. At the time, Canada had one of the highest annual deficits of the G7 countries and was on the verge of financial crisis. As finance minister, Martin erased a $42 billion deficit, recorded five consecutive budget surpluses, paid down $36 billion in debt, and cut taxes cumulatively by $100 billion over 5 years, making it the largest tax cut in Canadian history.
During his tenure as finance minister, Martin was responsible for lowering Canada's debt-to-GDP ratio from a peak of 71 per cent to about 50 per cent in the mid-1990s. In December 2001, he was named as a member of the World Economic Forum's "dream cabinet". The global business and financial body listed Martin along with United States Secretary of State Colin Powell and United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan as top world leaders.
Rise to Prime Minister
Prime Minister Chrétien and Martin frequently clashed while in office. It was often reported that Chrétien had never forgiven Martin for running against him in the Liberal leadership convention of 1990, and privately often condemned Martin in bitter terms to his aides. After Chrétien's third electoral victory in the 2000 election, there was much speculation in the media and in Ottawa that Martin was after Chrétien's job and wanted to force the prime minister into early retirement.
The conflicts between the two men reached a peak in 2002; Martin was dismissed from Cabinet, and was replaced by John Manley as Finance Minister. Soon after, Martin formally declared his intention to run as leader of the Liberal Party at the next party convention. Over the summer of 2002, Martin toured the country campaigning to succeed Chrétien while his Liberal organizers prepared to challenge Chrétien's leadership during a review vote in January 2003. During the fall, Chrétien announced that he would resign in the spring of 2004 after less than half of caucus agreed to sign a commitment to support him. The Liberal party called a leadership convention for the fall of 2003.
After that, Martin's opponents for leadership quickly dropped out the race. On September 21, 2003, he easily defeated his sole remaining opponent, former Deputy Prime Minister Sheila Copps by securing 92% of the party delegates from across the country. On November 14 he was formally declared the winner at the Liberal leadership convention, capturing 3,242 of 3,455 votes. On December 12, he was appointed by Governor General Adrienne Clarkson as the 21st Prime Minister of Canada.
On February 9, 2004, Martin and the Liberals were rocked by a report from Auditor General Sheila Fraser that sponsorship contracts designed to increase the federal government's status in Quebec resulted in little to no work done. Many of the agencies had Liberal ties, and roughly $100 million of the $250 million in program spending went missing. Martin has stated that there has to have been political direction but denies involvement in, or knowledge of, the sponsorship contracts, and has called a public inquiry into what has come to be known as the Sponsorship Scandal. Opponents, however, state that as finance minister he must have known about these activities.
Immediately after becoming Prime Minister, Paul Martin enjoyed record approval ratings and it looked as if he might win a record number of seats in an election. Support slumped, however, as a result of the scandal and a desire for change. Nonetheless, Martin decided to call an election for June 28.
Polls placed the Liberals in a dead heat with the Conservatives. During the campaign, it was predicted the Liberals would lose by only a few seats, possibly producing a Conservative minority government. The Liberals ended up winning a minority of seats and another term in office, but, as the average length of a minority government in Canada is 18 months, Paul Martin's long term future will depend on his ability to push his agenda through a "wheeling and dealing" House of Commons.
The minority government
The first real test of the Liberal minority came following the Speech from the throne in the fall of 2004. The Conservative Party announced plans to move an amendment to the speech. In this they were supported by the separatist Bloc Quebecois. The fall of the government was averted only when Martin agreed to accept a watered-down version of the amendment.
In the fall of 2004, Martin met with the provincial premiers and stuck a deal with increased fundraising for healthcare. It was not a "deal for a generation" as promised in the election, but it was a decade long funding commitment that was expected to lower the heat in federal-provincial relations, which had taken a turn for the worse during the government of Jean Chrétien.
That same fall, Martin introduced changes the equalization program, under which the federal government transfers money to provinces that have less ability to raise revenues through taxation than wealthier provinces. This was hailed in the "have not" provinces as a great accomplishment, but it was not enough for Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador. Danny Williams, premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, created a scene over offshore resources and, in December 2004, order that all Canadian flags be removed from provincial government buildings. Martin resolved the dispute by negotiating a deal to give 100% of all offshore resource revenues to the two provinces.
Same-sex marriage has proven to be a defining issue of Martin's mandate. Martin, a Roman Catholic, opposed same-sex marriage in the past but changed his view over time. In the midst of various court rulings in 2003 and 2004 that legalized same-sex marriage in seven provinces and one territory, his government proposed a bill to legalize same-sex marriage across Canada.
The 2005 federal budget was presented in the House of Commons on February 23, 2005. It was criticized as an "election budget" for spending money in a wide variety of areas which was seen by some as an attempt to attract support to the Liberal Party. The budget included an array of new spending on the armed forces, the environment, and for a national child care program. It also included tax cuts, stretched out over the next five years. In fact, much of the budget, and particularly the tax cuts, was "back-loaded" -- many of the new spending and tax cuts proposals take effect several years down the road.
On February 24, 2005, Martin dispatched Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew to the House of Commons to announce that Canada would not participate in the American National Missile Defense Program (See: National Missile Defense in Canada). The decision proved to be controversial, in large part because Martin, who had recently been dubbed "Mr. Dithers" by the influential British magazine The Economist, quickily followed up upon the annoucement of Canada's refusal by announcing that he expected to be consulted in the case of a missile being launched over Canadian air space. Recent polls have suggested that Canadians do not wish to be involved with the US Missile Defense Program. Martin's decision came with much praise from the left, but on the right was seen as another way the government was distancing itself from the US. Recently, the Liberal party has suffered a large decline in public support, according to public opinion polls, after a sponsorship scandal involving kickbacks and "donations" from Quebec advertising agencies and corporations. The Gomery Commission inquiry into the sponsorship scandal is still in progress and likely will finish by this fall.
Regarding the proposal that homosexual couples be limited to civil unions, instead of being allowed to marry: "Put simply, we must always remember that separate but equal is not equal."
|- style="text-align: center;"
| width="30%" |Preceded by:
Claude Lanthier , Prog. Cons. | width="40%" style="text-align: center;" |Member of Parliament for LaSalle—Émard
1988-present | width="30%" |Succeeded by:
|26th Ministry - Government of Jean Chrétien|
|Cabinet Posts (1)|
|Minister of Finance|
|Special Cabinet Responsibilities|
|Minister responsible for the Federal Office|
of Regional Development - Quebec
- Prime Minister of Canada - Premier ministre du Canada, official website
- PaulMartinTimes.ca, his official website
- PaulMartinsBlog.com, parody website
- Paul Martin Time.ca, critical analysis and satire on Martin
- Waiting for Martin, a documentary on the PM
- NDP site discussing Paul Martin's operation of Canada Steamship Lines
- Making of the Paul Martin myth
- CBC article examining Martin's alleged conflict of interest
- CBC documentary on Martin's business practices
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