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Biography Paul Martin

> Canada > Politicians > Liberal Party of Canada > Paul Martin, Jr.
Paul Martin Paul Martin
Paul Martin
Was the 21st Prime Minister of Canada and leader of the Liberal Party of Canada from 2003 to 2006.


Paul Martin Biography



Paul Edgar Philippe Martin, PC, CC (born August 28, 1938), also known as Paul Martin, Jr., is a Canadian politician who was the 21st Prime Minister of Canada and leader of the Liberal Party of Canada.


On November 14, 2003, Martin succeeded Jean Chrétien as leader of the Liberal Party and became prime minister on December 12, 2003. After the 2004 election, his Liberal Party retained power, though it was reduced to a minority government. Forced by a confidence vote, the 2006 general election produced a minority government for the opposition Conservative Party, making Stephen Harper prime minister. Martin stepped down as parliamentary leader after the election, handing the reins to Bill Graham for the interim. Martin stayed on as party leader until he resigned on March 18, being eventually succeeded by Stephane Dion.


Martin served as the Member of Parliament for the riding of LaSalle—Émard in Montreal from his election in the 1988 election to his retirement in 2008. He served as Minister of Finance from 1993 to 2002. He oversaw many changes in the financial structure of the Canadian government, and his policies had a direct effect on eliminating the country's chronic fiscal deficit by reforming various programs including social services.


Martin was born in Windsor, Ontario. His father, Paul Joseph James Martin, a Franco-Ontarian of Irish and French descent, served thirty-three years as a member of the Canadian House of Commons, and was a Cabinet minister in the Liberal governments of Prime Ministers W.L. Mackenzie King, Louis St. Laurent, Lester B. Pearson, and Pierre E. Trudeau. His mother, Eleanor "Nelly" Alice (née Adams), was of Scottish, Irish, and Métis descent. He has one sister, Mary Anne. In 1965, Martin married Sheila Ann Cowan, with whom he has three sons: Paul, Jamie and David.


Political career

  • Candidacy for the Liberal Party leadership

In 1988, Martin was elected as the Member of Parliament for the Western Montreal riding of LaSalle-Émard. He was reelected at every election since then without much difficulty. After the leadership convention, Martin co-authored the election platform "Creating Opportunity," colloquially known as the Red Book. The Liberal Party won a landslide majority government in the 1993 election. 

  • Finance Minister

After the Liberals formed the government, Martin was chosen as Minister of Finance by Prime Minister Chrétien, and appointed by Governor General Ray Hnatyshyn. 

  • Prime Minister

On December 12, 2003, he was appointed by then Governor General Adrienne Clarkson as the twenty-first Prime Minister of Canada. When sworn in as Prime Minister, Martin held the flag that flew on Parliament Hill when the elder Martin died. Both father and son had served as cabinet ministers and contested the Liberal leadership on multiple occasions; their attempts from 1948 to 1990 were unsuccessful. Martin's election as leader and becoming Prime Minister was described as fulfilling a family dream. Both also earned the honorific prefix The Right Honourable.

  • 2004 election

The Liberals were facing a united Conservative Party led by Stephen Harper, while the Bloc Québécois and NDP were also buoyed by the Sponsorship Scandal. Martin advised Governor General Adrienne Clarkson to call an election for June 28, 2004. 

  • Foreign relations

On February 24, 2005, Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew told the House of Commons that Canada would not participate in the American National Missile Defense Program, and that he expected to be consulted in the case of a missile being launched over Canadian air space. Martin's decision came with much praise, but others saw that the government was distancing itself from the U.S. His government continued to cooperate with the United States on border control, refugee claimants, and defence, and he appointed seasoned Liberal politician Frank McKenna as Canada's ambassador to Washington.

  • Appointment of Governor General

On August 4, 2005, the government announced that Martin had advised Queen Elizabeth II to appoint Michaëlle Jean as governor general. The reception to the appointment was mixed: some, including Harper, applauded the move, while accusations that her husband had both dined with former members of the terrorist organization, FLQ, and had been supportive of Quebec separatism in the past surprised others. Subsequent to her appointment, she reaffirmed her commitment to federalism and the issue died down. 

  • 2006 federal election

Martin campaigned on a vision of Canada different from that of the Conservatives, centering on issues of health care, daycare, tax cutting, and national autonomy. However for much of the campaign, the Liberals were frequently on the defensive due to corruption within the party, as a result of revelations of details regarding the Sponsorship Scandal. Choosing not to take on the office of Leader of the Opposition, Martin stepped down as parliamentary leader of his party on February 1, and the Liberal caucus appointed Bill Graham, MP for Toronto Centre and outgoing Defence Minister, as his interim successor. For his last years of public office after resigning as Prime Minister, Martin was a backbencher and appeared infrequently in the House of Commons, instead devoting his time to projects related to improving educational opportunities for Aboriginals and protecting the Congo Basin rain forest. In the 2008 federal campaign, Martin did not run for re-election to Parliament. 



CTV in November 2008 reported that Martin would be a member of a four-person council of economic advisers to a hypothetical coalition government formed by the Liberals and the NDP if they succeed in toppling the Harper government.However, the proposed coalition ending up came to nothing, as outgoing Liberal leader Stéphane Dion was immediately forced out and replaced by Michael Ignatieff, who quickly distanced the party from the coalition.


Martin published his memoirs, entitled Hell Or High Water: My Life In And Out of Politics (ISBN 0771056923), in late 2008. The book, published by McClelland & Stewart, draws heavily upon interviews conducted by Sean Conway, a former Ontario Liberal provincial cabinet minister, which were carried out for the Library and Archives Canada.


Martin is chair of the Congo Basin Forest Fund, addressing poverty issues in a ten-nation region in Africa. Since his retirement from politics, he has been an adviser to the International Monetary Fund, and to the Coalition for Dialogue on Africa. He also works with the Martin Aboriginal Educational Initiative, which assists First Nations youth.







Paul Edgar Philippe Martin (né le 28 août 1938 à Windsor, Ontario) est un homme politique canadien. Il a été premier ministre du Canada du 12 décembre 2003 au 6 février 2006.


Né à Windsor, en Ontario, le jeune Paul Martin est marqué par les campagnes électorales de son père, parlementaire et membre du gouvernement libéral sous quatre Premiers ministres différents. Après des études de philosophie, d’histoire et de droit à l’université de Toronto, il est reçu au barreau de l’Ontario en 1966, mais entreprend finalement une carrière dans les affaires au sein d’une société d’investissement basée à Montréal (Power Corporation du Canada). En 1968, il s’offre une parenthèse politique de quelques mois pour diriger la campagne de son père, engagé pour la deuxième fois dans la course au leadership du Parti libéral canadien (PLC). De retour aux affaires, il prend la direction de la Canada Steamship Lines, une compagnie de transport maritime, qu’il rachète en 1981 — et dont il transmet la gestion à ses fils en 2003.

En 1988, les libéraux sont dans l’opposition et en quête de nouvelles personnalités. Sur les conseils de son père, Paul Martin se présente dans la circonscription de LaSalle-Émard (Montréal) et entre à la Chambre des communes. Quand John Turner abandonne la direction du parti l’année suivante, Paul Martin se présente à sa succession et termine deuxième derrière Jean Chrétien, qui lui confie la rédaction de son programme électoral en vue des prochaines législatives.




updated: 22.11.2012

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