Making Medicare:  The History of Health Care in Canada, 1914-2007 Back to Timeline Back to Timeline
Key Players: 1989–2007 Key Players: 1978-1988 Key Players: 1989–2007

Paul Martin, Jr.

Born in Windsor, Ontario in 1938, Paul Edgar Philippe Martin is a lawyer, businessman and politician. Martin lived in Windsor until 1946, when his family moved to Ottawa, where his father, Paul Martin, Sr., was the Minister of National Health and Welfare. After graduating from the University of Toronto Law School, Martin pursued a business career in Montréal with Power Corporation and Canada Steamship Lines. He entered politics in 1988 as a Liberal and became Jean Chrétien’s Finance Minister in 1993, after competing with Chrétien for leadership of the Liberal Party in 1990. As Finance Minister, Martin was lauded and loathed for reducing the federal deficit by cuts to social programs, federal transfer payments (amounting to 7 billion dollars) and the civil service. He was criticized for dismantling his father’s legacy but defended his government’s actions by arguing that balanced budgets provided the basis for future improvements. After succeeding Chrétien as Prime Minister in 2003, Martin failed to win a parliamentary majority in June 2004. The future of medicare had been a key election issue and, in September 2004, Martin negotiated a Ten-Year Plan to Strengthen Health Care, which increased federal funding, and “sets targets for 24/7 primary care coverage and reform, and reduction of waiting times” (Gregory P. Marchildon, Health Systems in Transition: Canada, ed. Sara Allin and Elias Mossialios [Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2006], p. 112). After being defeated in January 2006, Martin resigned from politics.

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    Date Created: March 31, 2010 | Last Updated: April 21, 2010