The Right Honourable Paul Martin was Prime Minister of Canada from 2003 to 2006 and Minister of Finance from 1993 to 2002.
As Minister of Finance, he erased Canada’s record deficit which was the highest of the G7 at the time and reduced Canada’s national debt. He then recorded five consecutive budget surpluses and restored the financial integrity of Canada’s national pension plan. He also strengthened the regulations governing Canada’s financial institutions, with the result that Canada is now viewed as an international model for sound financial regulation.
In September 1999, having initiated the concept, Mr. Martin was named the inaugural chair of the Finance Ministers’ G-20. As Prime Minister he pushed strongly for its elevation to the Leaders’ level which subsequently occurred in 2008.
During his tenure as Prime Minister, Mr. Martin’s many achievements included setting in place a ten year, forty-one billion dollar plan to improve health care. He initiated agreements with the provinces and territories to establish a national early learning and child care program and created a new fiscal deal for Canada’s municipalities. Under Mr. Martin’s leadership in November 2005, the Canadian Government reached an historic consensus with Canada's provinces, territories, First Nations, Métis and Inuit leaders that would eliminate the gaps between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians in the areas of health, education, housing and economic opportunity. This agreement became known as the Kelowna Accord. Further, he introduced the Civil Marriage Act, which redefined the traditional definition of marriage to include same-sex couples.