No one could better exemplify the University’s efforts to foster community engagement than the Right Honourable Paul Martin. His career, which spans the fields of law, business, politics, diplomacy and philanthropy, stands as a true testament to his deep commitment to Canada and to the world.
Although he briefly attended the University of Ottawa, Paul Martin completed both his undergraduate degree and law school at the University of Toronto, and was called to the Ontario Bar in 1966.
Before entering politics, he was a captain of industry. He rose to become Chairman and CEO of CSL Group Inc., and his 1981 acquisition of that company was the largest leveraged buyout in Canada at that time.
But the call of public service was too strong, and in 1988 he decided to follow in his father’s footsteps: he ran for Parliament and represented the Montreal riding of LaSalle-Émard until his retirement from politics.
As Minister of Finance from 1993 to 2002, he erased Canada’s record 25-year deficit and virtually paid off Canada’s foreign debt, then the highest of the G7. He engineered five consecutive budget surpluses and restored the financial integrity of the Canada Pension Plan. Thanks to his regulatory initiatives, Canada is now viewed as an international model of 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.
From 2003 to 2006, Paul Martin was the twenty-first Prime Minister of Canada.
Currently, Mr. Martin chairs a $200 million poverty alleviation and sustainable development fund for the Congo Basin Rainforest. He also sits on the advisory council of the Coalition for Dialogue on Africa, which deals with critical pan-African issues under the sponsorship of the African Union, the UN Economic Commission for Africa and the African Development Bank.
In Canada, he is committed to fostering a genuine partnership with Aboriginal peoples, namely through the Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative, which seeks to improve educational opportunities for Canada’s indigenous peoples, and through the Capital for Aboriginal Prosperity and Entrepreneurship Fund, which helps establish and grow successful Aboriginal businesses, both on and off reserve.