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The Right Honourable Paul Martin

Martin Aboriginal Initiative

The Right Honourable Paul Martin was the twenty-first Prime Minister of Canada from 2003 to 2006.

He was the Minister of Finance during the period 1993 to 2002, during which time he erased Canada’s record deficit which had been built up over 25 years and virtually paid off Canada’s foreign debt the highest of the G7 at that time. He then recorded five consecutive budget surpluses and restored the financial integrity of the Canadian Pension Plan (the Canadian equivalent of US Social Security). 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.

As Prime Minister, Mr. Martin’s many achievements included setting in place a 10 year, $41 billion plan to improve health care and reduce wait times; Under his leadership, the Canadian Government reached an historic consensus with provinces, territories, First Nations, Métis Nation, and Inuit leaders (later known as the Kelowna Accord) that would eliminate the gaps between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians in the areas of health, education, housing, economic opportunity, and accountability.


Currently, Mr. Martin is the chair of a two hundred million dollar British-Norwegian poverty and sustainable development fund for the ten nation Congo Basin Rainforest. His co-chair up until recently was the late Nobel Peace Prize laureate Wangari Maathai. He also sits on the advisory council of the Coalition for Dialogue on Africa, an initiative sponsored by the African Union, the UN Economic Commission for Africa and the African Development Bank that deals with critical Pan African issues.

Domestically, he is responsible for two initiatives. First, the Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative which focuses on improving the elementary and secondary school education of Canada’s Indigenous peoples. Second, he founded with his son David, the Capital for Aboriginal Prosperity and Entrepreneurship Fund, which helps establish and grow successful Aboriginal businesses both on and off reserve.


Before entering public life he was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The CSL Group Inc, which operates the world’s largest fleet of self-unloading vessels and offshore transshippers.  Its acquisition by Mr. Martin in 1981 represented the most important leveraged buyout in Canada at that time.

Mr. Martin graduated in honours philosophy and history from St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto and is a graduate of the University of Toronto Law School. He was called to the Ontario Bar in 1966.

He married Sheila Ann Cowan in 1965. They have three sons: Paul, Jamie and David and three grandchildren Ethan, Liam and Finn.