Introduction to the Right Honourable Paul Martin (November 2016)


15 November 2016

Let me begin by extending a warm StFX welcome to our students who are here, my colleagues the faculty and staff of St. F. X. University, special guests, returning alumni, community members and friends all, to this wonderful, wonderful event. Before I do the formal introduction, I would also like to extend a warm StFX welcome to a couple other people. From the class of 2000, the Minister of Finance for Nova Scotia, the Honourable Randy Delorey, is here today. Also not only will you get to hear directly from Chief Prosper, I think it is important on behalf of the Board of Governors, several of whom are here this evening, who had the vision to understand that if StFX was going to go down this path of more appropriately exploring the changes and challenges in the work that we can do as an institution and community with Indigenous peoples of Canada - in particular the Mi'kmaw people and in particular the community closest to us, Paq'tnkek - would it not make sense to extend our reach and extension of the Board of Governors? And the fact that Chief Prosper has joined the Board of Governors to help guide us in the coming years is going to be a wonderful thing. Chief, thank you very much. And although Dr. Bickerton did introduce Mr. MacEachen, I can tell you that from a personal point of view it is a thrill for me. Growing up in New Glasgow and having a parent from Antigonish, I would often hear the tales and the stories of Allan J. spending time with my grandparents in this community, sipping tea on a warm evening and talking about the challenges of the country. And so anytime that we have Allan J. MacEachen back on this campus, it is a blessing. So sir, thank you for joining us again.

The Right Honourable Paul Martin was Prime Minister of Canada from the year 2003-2006 and he was our Minister of Finance from 1993-2002. During his tenure as Minister of Finance, he erased Canada's deficit, subsequently recording five consecutive budget surpluses while paying down our national debt, and setting Canada's debt to GDP ratio on a steady downward track. (Slightly off script - the dinner before this, our Finance Minister Randy Delorey listened attentively to the question of how did you do that sir?) Mr. Martin was an originator of the finance ministers G20 and in September of 1999 was named its inaugural Chair. During his tenure as Prime Minister, Mr. Martin set in place a 10-year, $41 billion dollar plan to improve healthcare and reduce wait times. He signed agreements with the provinces and the territories to establish the first national early learning and childcare program and created a new financial deal for Canada's municipalities. Under his leadership, the Canadian government reached a historic agreement with the Aboriginal people of Canada to eliminate existing funding gaps in health, education, and housing, in something that we know as the Kelowna Accord. After leaving politics, Mr. Martin founded the Martin Family Initiative, focused on elementary and secondary education for Aboriginal students, and the Capital for Aboriginal Prosperity and Entrepreneurship (the CAPE Fund). Its purpose was that it was an investment fund, investing in Aboriginal businesses. Mr. Martin has advised the African Development Bank and he works closely with the Advisory Council of the Coalition for Dialogue on Africa, sponsored by the African Union, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and the African Development Bank. He was a founding co-chair of the Congo Basin Forest Fund, a $200 million dollar fund, British-Norwegian-Canadian Poverty Alleviation and Sustainable Development Fund for the Congo basin rainforest. And Mr. Martin was also a commissioner for the Global Ocean Commission. Before entering politics he had a distinguished career as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The CSL Group, the largest self-unloading shipping company in the world. Its acquisition by Mr. Martin in 1981 represented the most important leveraged buyout in Canada at that time.

So to deliver the 2016 Allan J. MacEachen Lecture in Politics, the 21st Prime Minister of Canada, the Right Honourable Paul Martin.


Political Science Department

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Antigonish NS B2G 2W5