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The Right Honourable Paul Martin

21st Prime Minister of Canada
December 12, 2003 - February 6, 2006

"More and more of our future together as Canadians will be built - brick by brick, idea by idea - at the local level. Our speed at innovating on the ground - in practices, in financing and in partnerships - will be one of the keys to Canada's success in a very competitive world."

Paul Edgar Philippe Martin, May 31, 2002


  • August 28, 1938, Windsor, Ontario
  • University of Toronto
The Right Honourable Paul Martin
The Right Honourable
Paul Martin
Personal Status
  • Married 1965, Sheila Ann Cowan
  • Three sons
Professional Life
  • Lawyer (called to the Bar of Upper Canada in 1966)
  • Businessman
  • Liberal
  • 2003 - 2006 Party Leader
  • 1988 - Present LaSalle-Émard
Other Ministries
  • 1993 - 1996 Minister responsible for the Federal Office of Regional Development - Quebec
  • 1993 - 2002 Minister of Finance
The Right Honourable Paul Martin
The Right Honourable
Paul Martin in 2017
Political Record
  • Inaugural chair of the G-20
  • Co-author of Creating Opportunity: The Liberal Plan for Canada
  • Co-authored the 1993 Liberal "Red Book"
  • While Martin was serving as Minister of Finance, Canada recorded five consecutive budget surpluses
  • $42 billion deficit to largest surplus in history
  • Inaugural Chair, Group of Twenty (G-20)
  • Opposition Critic for Urban Affairs and Housing, Treasury Board, and Environment

    Where is he now?
    As of 2012, The Right Honourable Paul Martin is Co-Chair of The Congo Basic Forest Fund, Advisor to the International Monetary Fund, and on the Board of Governors for the United Nation's Coaltion for Dialogue on Africa. He also works with the Martin Family Initiative, which assists First Nations youth.

    Descriptive Biography

    Martin is the Member of Parliament for LaSalle-Émard in Montreal, Quebec. He was first elected federally in 1988. In 1990, he ran for the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada and finished second at the leadership convention. In 2003, he won the leadership and became Prime Minister in January 2004.

    From 1991 to 1993, Martin was associate finance critic and critic for the environment for the Liberal opposition in the House of Commons. In 1993, he played a key role in developing the Liberal platform for the federal election and co-authored Creating Opportunity: The Liberal Plan for Canada, better known as the “Red Book.”

    Liberals were returned to power in the 1993 vote and Martin was sworn in as Minister of Finance. He served in that role from November 1993 until June 2002. During his time as finance minister, Canada recorded five consecutive budget surpluses, erased a $42 billion deficit, paid down more than $36 billion in debt, invested in health care and other key priorities and put in place the largest tax cuts in Canadian history.

    As Canada’s finance minister, Martin was highly regarded on the world stage and represented Canada at a series of international summits. In September 1999, he was named inaugural chair of the G-20, an international group composed of G-7 nations and emerging market nations. He is respected internationally in part for his leadership in forging a new world financial order in which emerging economies would be prevented from plunging into ruinous financial crises.

    Martin was born in Windsor, Ontario in 1938. He has a sister, Mary Anne. His mother, Eleanor (“Nell”), died in 1993. His father, a distinguished Parliamentarian, died in 1992. The Honourable Paul Martin, Sr. has been an enduring influence. He served almost two dozen years in Liberal cabinets under four different prime ministers: William Lyon Mackenzie King, Louis St. Laurent, Lester Pearson and Pierre Trudeau. He was an influential cabinet minister and is regarded as an architect of post-war social policy that is an enduring part of the Liberal legacy.

    Paul studied philosophy and history at St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto and is a graduate of the University of Toronto Law School. He was called to the bar in Ontario in 1966. Before entering politics, he had a distinguished career in the private sector as a business executive Power Corporation of Canada, in Montreal, and as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Canada Steamship Lines. In addition, he has been active with a wide range of community and service organizations.

    He married Sheila Ann Cowan in 1965. Their first son, Paul, was born in 1966. Their second son, Jamie was born three years later and their youngest son, David, was born in 1974.

    SOURCE: Library and Archives Canada.

  • See also
    Former Prime Ministers of Canada

    External Links
    The Congo Basin Forest Fund
    International Monetary Fund
    Coaltion for Dialogue on Africa
    The Martin Family Initiative

    Copyright Craig I.W. Marlatt