The Right Honourable Paul Martin was the twenty-first Prime Minister of Canada from 2003 to 2006 and the Member of Parliament for LaSalle-Émard during the period 1988 to 2008. He was the Minister of Finance during the period 1993 to 2002, during which time he erased Canada’s forty-two billion dollar deficit and recorded five consecutive budget surpluses. In September 1999, Mr. Martin was named the inaugural chair of the G-20.
His many achievements during his tenure as Prime Minister include: the setting in place of a major forty-one billion dollar initiative to improve healthcare; the signature of a landmark agreement with the provinces and territories for a national early learning and childcare program; the creation of a new financial deal for municipalities and the redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples. Further, he achieved a historic consensus with the provinces, territories and Canada’s aboriginal leadership on an agreement entitled the Kelowna Accord, the objective of which was to ensure the provision of equal opportunity for Canada’s aboriginal population.
Currently, Mr. Martin is the co-chair, with Nobel Peace Prize laureate Wangari Maathai, of a two hundred million dollar British-Norwegian poverty alleviation and sustainable development fund for the ten nation Congo Basin Rainforest. He also sits on the advisory council of the Coalition for Dialogue on Africa, an initiative that examines critical issues facing the continent. It is sponsored by the African Union, the UN Economic Commission for Africa and the African Development Bank.
Domestically, he is responsible for two new initiatives. First, the Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative which aims at reducing the Aboriginal youth dropout rate and at increasing the number of Aboriginal students attending post-secondary institutions. Secondly, he founded with his son David, the Capital for Aboriginal Prosperity and Entrepreneurship Fund, which helps establish and grow successful Aboriginal businesses both on and off reserve.
Before entering politics, he had a distinguished career in the private sector as a business executive at Power Corporation of Canada, in Montreal and as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The CSL Group Inc.
Mr. Martin 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 of Ontario in 1966.
He married Sheila Ann Cowan in 1965. They have three sons: Paul, Jamie and David and they are the proud grandparents of Ethan and Liam, children of David and his wife Laurence.