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Joseph James Guillaume Paul Martin, PC, CC, QC (June 23, 1903 – September 14, 1992), often referred to as Paul Martin, Sr, was a noted Canadianmarker politician. He was the father of Paul Martin (Jr.), who served as Prime Minister of Canada from 2003 - 2006.

Early life

Martin was born in Ottawamarker, Ontariomarker, the son of Lumina (née Chouinard) and Joseph Philippe Ernest Martin. His Irish Catholic paternal grandfather's family immigrated from County Mayomarker, while his paternal grandmother and mother were French Canadian. He was raised in Pembroke, Ontariomarker in the Ottawa Valley, although he did his high school studies at Collège Saint-Alexandre in Gatineaumarker, Quebec. He completed his university education at the University of Torontomarker, and earned his law degree from Osgoode Hall Law Schoolmarker. Later, Martin studied at the Graduate Institute of International Studies, Geneva, on a scholarship. He opened a law practice in Windsor, Ontariomarker.



A member of the Liberal Party of Canada, he was first elected to the House of Commons in 1935 and entered the cabinet in 1945. He went on to serve as a noted member of the cabinets of four Prime Ministers: William Lyon Mackenzie King, Louis St. Laurent, Lester B. Pearson and Pierre Trudeau.

Martin was viewed as one of the most left-wing members of the Liberal cabinet, and as Minister of National Health and Welfare from 1946 to 1957 he played an important role in the fight against polio and overseeing the creation of hospital insurance in Canada, and is sometimes recognized as a father of medicare. Martin served as Secretary of State for External Affairs in the Pearson government, and was instrumental in the acquisition of U.S. nuclear weapons for Canadian Forces.

Liberal leadership

He ran for the Liberal leadership three times, in 1948, in 1958 and 1968, but was defeated at all three Liberal leadership conventions, first by Louis St. Laurent, then by Lester B. Pearson, then by Pierre Trudeau.

Senator and beyond

Trudeau appointed him to the Senate in 1968. He served as Leader of the Government in the Senate until 1974 when he was appointed High Commissioner to the United Kingdommarker. He also served as Chancellor of Wilfrid Laurier Universitymarker from 1972-1977, as a result of which the university named the Paul Martin Centre in his honour. Until his death Paul Martin was an Adjunct Professor of Political Science at the University of Windsormarker.

His two volume memoirs, A Very Public Life, was published in 1983 (ISBN 0888790929) and 1986 (ISBN 0888781216).


In 1976 he was made a Companion of the Order of Canada. In recognition of his accomplishments, Martin was granted the right to use the honorific Right Honourable in 1992, a rare honour for one who has never been Prime Minister, Governor-General or Chief Justice of Canada. The University of Windsormarker has a Paul Martin Chair in law and political science, recently held by former Manitoba Premier Howard Pawley (until his retirement from the University of Windsor). The City of Windsor had also re-named their "Post Office Building" the Paul Martin Sr. Buildingmarker in his honour on November 18, 1994.

Honorary Degrees

See also


  3. Clearwater, J. "Canadian Nuclear Weapons.", Chapter 1. Dundurn Press, 1998.

External links

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