The Life and Politics of Paul Martin Sr

Book - 2015
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In Grit, Greg Donaghy examines the career Paul Martin Sr. as a politician and a liberal reformer.
Publisher: Vancouver :, UBC Press,, [2015]
Copyright Date: ©2015
ISBN: 9780774829113
Characteristics: xv, 456 pages : illustrations


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Sep 09, 2015

There is often times asked the question, "Who is the greatest Prime Minister that Canada NEVER had?" There are several, but there are two names that often come up. One is Edward Broadbent, who ran for PM four times as the socialist nominee in the 70s and 80s, and remains three decades later a moral voice of reason in the ever increasingly messier world of the Ottawa machine. The other is Liberal Party powerhouse Paul Martin Sr, who was a dominant force in politics for five decades as a Cabinet minister, Senator and diplomat but never quite fulfilled his promise. Indeed, he ran to be his party's nominee to be PM three times in three different decades - and lost all three times (to Louis Saint-Laurent, Lester Pearson and Pierre Trudeau, respectively; but still wound up playing important roles in their administrations). The book, to a great extent, also talks about how he toed between big business and organized labour to ensure opportunities for all; as well as his role in building the core of the social safety net, including pensions and single-payer health care. It is worth noting the publisher of the book is the C.D. Howe Institute, very well known for its right-wing views - but it carefully selected an author who looked in detail at what made this unrepentant left-winger tick, and what made him fail. The publishers promise future volumes in the series will also be dedicated to exploring other less remembered but still key figures in Canada's history. This is the first volume of the set, and a fine one in that effort.

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