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Posts Tagged ‘Paul Martin’

ChretienIt helps to have thick skin if you’re contemplating serving as Prime Minister of Canada. One only has to look at the many books about recent leaders that take a negative — even hostile — stance. In fact, in the past 50 years the number of diatribes about PMs has kept pace with the number of dispassionate biographies.

Here’s a sampling:

  • His Pride, Our Fall: Recovering from the Trudeau Revolution 
  • Breaking Faith: The Mulroney Legacy of Deceit, Destruction and Disunity
  • Jean Chretien: A Legacy of Scandal
  • Paul Martin: CEO for Canada?
  • Rogue in Power: Why Stephen Harper is Remaking Canada by Stealth
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feb102005: Paul Martin appears before the Commission of Inquiry into the Sponsorship Program and Advertising Activities that occurred during the period of Jean Chrétien‘s government. He set up the commission the year before, appointing Justice John Gomery as its chair.

Martin becomes the first sitting Prime Minister to appear publicly before a Royal Commission. Two days earlier, his predecessor Chrétien testified at the hearings.

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There have been eight.

Since the creation of the Order of Canada on July 1, 1967, only two former Prime Ministers have not received it. John Diefenbaker was still an MP at the time of his death in 1979; sitting politicians are ineligible for the honour. Paul Martin stepped down as an MP in 2008; presumably he’ll receive the recognition in the next few years. His father was made a Companion of the Order in 1976.

For the record, PM Companions have been Louis St. Laurent, Lester Pearson, Pierre Trudeau, Joe Clark, John Turner, Brian Mulroney, Kim Campbell and Jean Chretien.

Interesting side note: Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party and a sitting politician, belongs to the Order. She received the honour before entering politics.

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Realistically, there were eight. Four of them were francophones: Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Louis St. Laurent, Pierre Trudeau and Jean Chretien. Four were English: Joe Clark, Brian Mulroney, Paul Martin and Stephen Harper.

The PM with the broadest facility for languages was English-speaking Sir Robert Borden who had a working knowledge of French, German, Greek and Latin.

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Five of the seven Prime Ministers still living are Roman Catholics. Although, historically, most Catholic leaders tended to be French Canadians, that profile began to disappear by the late 1970s. Of the five living Catholic PMs — Joe Clark, John Turner, Brian Mulroney, Jean Chretien and Paul Martin — only one is French Canadian.

For the record, we have had 9 Roman Catholics (the others are Thompson, Laurier, St. Laurent, Trudeau), 4 Anglicans (Abbott, Tupper, Borden, Campbell), 3 Presbyterians (Macdonald, Meighen, King), 3 Methodists/Uniteds (Bowell, Bennett, Pearson), 2 Baptists (Mackenzie, Diefenbaker), and 1 Christian & Missionary Alliance (Harper) in the Prime Minister’s office.

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Interested in being the Canadian Prime Minister? Consider becoming a lawyer. That’s the exactly the kind of job training two-thirds of the country’s leaders had prior to their shift into politics. Prime Ministers called to the bar were Sir John A. Macdonald, Sir John Abbott, Sir John Thompson, Sir WIlfrid Laurier, Sir Robert Borden, Arthur Meighen, R.B. Bennett, Louis St. Laurent, John Diefenbaker, Pierre Trudeau, John Turner, Brian Mulroney, Kim Campbell, Jean Chretien, and Paul Martin.

All five Prime Ministers named John were lawyers.

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Seven of Canada’s 22 Prime Ministers have represented Quebec while leading the country (Abbott, Laurier, St. Laurent, Trudeau, Mulroney, Chretien and Martin), making it the most fertile ground for leaders since Confederation.

Three provinces have had no Prime Ministers serving in Ottawa (New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland), although King was a PEI  MP before becoming PM. None of the territories have been represented by the country’s leader.

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