Paul Edgar Phillippe Martin was the 21st Prime Minister of Canada from 2003-2006.
Martin was born on August 28, 1938 in Windsor, Ontario, to Nell and Paul Martin (Senior), who was a noted politician himself serving in the cabinet of 4 other prime ministers. Martin would spend much of his early life in Ontario, being educated at the University of Toronto, and becoming a lawyer in 1968.
Paul Martin was elected as a Liberal Member of Parliament for the Montreal riding of LaSalle—Émard in 1988, and was selected to be the Minister of Finance from 1993 to 2002 in Jean Chretien's cabinet. Martin was faced with a large deficit when he took the office, but undertook many changes in the financial structure of the Canadian government, by reducing transfer payments to the provinces, reducing social services and paying less to ministries such as Defence and Foreign Affairs. His policies were very successful in eliminating Canada's fiscal deficit. This combined with a strengthening economy allowed Martin to ride into the Office of Prime Minister, after a public clash with Jean Chretien who would fire Martin from the position of Finance Minister.
However Martin's time as Prime Minister was short because he was affected by the sponsorship scandal, a program by the former Prime Minister to show the name of Canada in Quebec, but also put money into the pockets of Liberal Party sponsors in that province. When Martin called an election in 2004, the Liberal party was reduced to a minority, in part because of the combined Conservative Party of Canada vote and his own party's unpopularity in Quebec. Martin would govern in a style different from Chretien, seeking input from all sides, but he would gain the title "Mr. Dithers" because it appeared he could not make a decision. Despite voting against same-sex marriage in a 1999 vote, Martin would call another vote to legalize same-sex marriage across Canada after various court rulings in 2003 and 2004. The House of Commons passed the Civil Marriage Act in June 2005 in a late night, last-minute vote before Parliament closed down, with several members of Martin's own party voting against the bill. It received Royal Assent on July 20, 2005. This made Canada the fourth country in the world to allow same-sex marriages.
Martin was defeated after the other parties passed a motion of Non-Confidence in the Parliament and an election was called for January 24, 2006. Martin would lose support in Ontario and Quebec, vital to any Canadian Prime Minister. The Conservatives, under Stephen Harper won the most seats and formed the next government.
As a Liberal Minister and Prime Minister, Martin was widely considered a fiscal conservative, and on the right of his party.