Paul Edgar Philippe Martin, Jr.

Martin, Paul Edgar Philippe, Jr., 1938–, Canadian politician, prime minister (2003–6) of Canada, b. Windsor, Ont. The scion of a politically active family (his father served in parliament and ran unsuccessfully for Liberal party leader three times), Martin became a lawyer (1966) and president of Canada Steamship Lines (1974), which he later purchased. Elected as a Liberal to parliament in 1988, he made an unsuccessful bid for the party leadership post two years later. In 1993, Martin became finance minister under Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, and by the late 1990s had brought the federal budget out of deficit, making a name for himself as a fiscal conservative. By 2001, Martin was actively maneuvering to succeed Chétien, a situation that led the prime minister to fire the more popular Martin as finance minister in 2002. In Oct., 2002, Chrétien announced he would not seek a fourth term, and Martin began campaigning openly for the leadership post, which he won in Nov., 2003. He succeeded Chrétien as prime minister the following month. Elections in June, 2004, returned Martin and his party to power, albeit as a minority government forced to contend with fallout from financial improprieties that occurred under Chrétien. His government fell in Nov., 2005, forcing him to call an election, which the Liberals lost (Jan., 2006), and Martin resigned as party leader.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Canadian History: Biographies