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Paul Martin Sr.

Paul Martin
Martin Sr. in 1943
Secretary of State for External Affairs
In office
April 22, 1963 – April 19, 1968
Prime MinisterLester Pearson
Preceded byHoward Charles Green
Succeeded byMitchell Sharp
Member of Parliament
for Essex East
In office
October 14, 1935 – April 19, 1968
Preceded byRaymond Morand
Succeeded byRiding abolished
Senator for Windsor-Walkerville, Ontario
In office
April 20, 1968 – October 30, 1974
Appointed byPierre Trudeau
Personal details
Joseph James Guillaume Paul Martin

(1903-06-23)June 23, 1903
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
DiedSeptember 14, 1992(1992-09-14) (aged 89)
Windsor, Ontario, Canada
Political partyLiberal
Eleanor Alice "Nelly" Adams
(m. 1937)
Children2, including Paul Martin
Alma materUniversity of Toronto
Osgoode Hall Law School
Graduate Institute of International Studies
OccupationDiplomat, lecturer, barrister, lawyer

Joseph James Guillaume Paul Martin[1][2] PC CC QC (June 23, 1903 – September 14, 1992), often referred to as Paul Martin Sr., was a noted Canadian politician and diplomat. He was the father of Paul Martin, who served as 21st prime minister of Canada from 2003 to 2006.

Early life

Martin was born in Ottawa, Ontario, the son of Lumina (née Chouinard) and Joseph Philippe Ernest Martin.[1] His Irish Catholic paternal grandfather's family immigrated from County Mayo, and his mother and paternal grandmother were French Canadian with deep roots in the country.[1][3]

Martin contracted polio in 1907,[4] which left him permanently blind in one eye and with a severely weakened left arm.[5]

Martin was raised in Pembroke, Ontario, in the Ottawa River Valley, although he attended high school at Collège Saint-Alexandre in Gatineau, Quebec. He completed his university education at the University of Toronto, and earned his law degree from Osgoode Hall Law School. Later, Martin studied at the Graduate Institute of International Studies, Geneva, on a scholarship.

Martin later opened a law practice in Windsor, Ontario. In 1939-1940, Martin defended the gangster Rocco Perri at his trial for the corruption of public officials.[6] The trial ended on 1 February 1940 with Perri being acquitted.[6]


Member of Parliament

A member of the Liberal Party of Canada, he was first elected to the House of Commons in 1935 and entered the cabinet in 1945. He went on to serve as a noted member of the cabinets of four Prime Ministers: William Lyon Mackenzie King, Louis St. Laurent, Lester B. Pearson and Pierre Trudeau.

Martin was viewed as one of the most left-wing members of the Liberal cabinet, and as Minister of National Health and Welfare from 1946 to 1957 he played an important role in the fight against polio and overseeing the creation of hospital insurance in Canada, and is sometimes recognized as a father of medicare. Martin served as Secretary of State for External Affairs in the Pearson government, and was instrumental in the acquisition of U.S. nuclear weapons for Canadian Forces.[7]

Hon. Paul Martin (left) and Rt. Hon. W. L. Mackenzie King attending the opening session of the United Nations General Assembly, 23 October 1946

Liberal leadership bids

He ran for the Liberal leadership three times, in 1948, in 1958 and 1968, but was defeated at all three Liberal leadership conventions, first by Louis St. Laurent, then by Lester B. Pearson, then by Pierre Trudeau.

Senator and beyond

Trudeau appointed him to the Senate in 1968. He served as Leader of the Government in the Senate until 1974 when he was appointed High Commissioner to the United Kingdom. He also served as chancellor of Wilfrid Laurier University from 1972 to 1977, as a result of which the university named the Paul Martin Centre in his honour. Until his death Paul Martin was an adjunct professor of political science at the University of Windsor.

His two volume memoirs, A Very Public Life, was published in 1983 (ISBN 0888790929) and 1986 (OCLC 165756245 A very public life: So many worlds Volume 2 of A very public life at Google Books).


In 1976 he was made a Companion of the Order of Canada. In recognition of his accomplishments, Martin was granted the right to use the honorific Right Honourable in 1992, a rare honour for one who has never been Prime Minister, Governor-General or Chief Justice of Canada. He died on September 14, at the age of eighty-nine.

The University of Windsor has a Paul Martin Chair in law and political science, recently held by former Manitoba Premier Howard Pawley (until his retirement from the university), and the Paul Martin Law Library. The City of Windsor had also renamed their "Post Office Building" the Paul Martin Sr. Building in his honour on November 18, 1994.

Honorary Degrees

Location Date School Degree Gave Commencement Address
 Nova Scotia 1950 Dalhousie University Doctor of Laws (LL.D) [8]
 Ontario 1952 University of Toronto Doctor of Laws (LL.D) [9]
 Ontario Spring 1954 University of Windsor Doctor of Laws (LL.D) [10]
 Ontario 22 October 1954 University of Western Ontario Doctor of Civil Law (DCL) [11]
 British Columbia 2 June 1966 University of British Columbia Doctor of Laws (LL.D) [12]
 Ontario May 1967 Waterloo Lutheran University Doctor of Laws (LL.D) [13]
 Ontario 1983 Law Society of Upper Canada Doctor of Laws (LL.D) [14]
 Ontario June 2017 Algonquin College [15][16] Awarded Posthumously commencement address delivered by his son Paul Martin Jr.
This list is incomplete; you can help by adding missing items. (August 2020)

Electoral record

Essex East
1935 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal MARTIN, Paul 7,562 39.25 -4.31
Conservative MORAND, Hon. Raymond D. 6,493 33.71 -22.73
Co-operative Commonwealth LEVERT, Joseph Ben 4,106 21.32
Reconstruction MCPHARLIN, J. Gabriel 1,102 5.72
Total valid votes 19,263 100.00
1940 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal MARTIN, Paul 9,811 46.39 +7.14
National Government MORAND, Hon. Raymond D. 8,060 38.11 +4.40
Co-operative Commonwealth LEVERT, Joseph Ben 2,879 13.62 -7.70
Labour HICKS, Roy Robert 398 1.88
Total valid votes 21,148 100.00
1945 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal MARTIN, Hon. Paul 16,165 56.21 +9.82
Progressive Conservative BYRNE, James E. 8,244 28.67 -9.44
Co-operative Commonwealth MACDONALD, William C. 4,349 15.12 +1.50
Total valid votes 28,758 100.00
1949 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal MARTIN, Hon. Paul 16,709 52.89 -3.32
Progressive Conservative TURNBULL, James Russell 8,204 25.97 -2.70
Co-operative Commonwealth RIGGS, William Charles 5,213 16.50 +1.38
Labor–Progressive PRINCE, Cyril 1,464 4.64
Total valid votes 31,590 100.00
1953 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal MARTIN, Hon. Paul 19,946 67.16 +14.27
Progressive Conservative KENNEDY, Aloysius 5,530 18.62 -7.35
Co-operative Commonwealth OWEN, Kenneth Edwin 3,013 10.14 -6.36
Labor–Progressive KENNEDY, Michael J. 1,212 4.08 -0.56
Total valid votes 29,701 100.00
1957 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal MARTIN, Hon. Paul 22,023 57.15 -10.01
Progressive Conservative HICKS, Roy R. 10,593 27.49 +8.87
Co-operative Commonwealth METEER, Jack 5,917 15.36 +5.22
Total valid votes 38,533 100.00
1958 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal MARTIN, Hon. Paul 18,074 41.98 -15.17
Progressive Conservative HICKS, Roy R. 16,451 38.21 +10.72
Co-operative Commonwealth BURR, Fred A. 8,530 19.81 +4.45
Total valid votes 43,055 100.00
1962 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal MARTIN, Hon. Paul 24,969 58.69 +16.71
New Democratic DRURY, George 8,888 20.89 +1.08
Progressive Conservative DEMERS, Roland Lionel 8,210 19.30 -18.91
Social Credit CORY, T.R. 476 1.12
Total valid votes 42,543 100.00
1963 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal MARTIN, Hon. Paul 25,727 59.82 +1.13
Progressive Conservative GOURLIE, David 8,894 20.68 +1.38
New Democratic MCCONVILLE, Hugh 7,648 17.78 -3.11
Social Credit GIGNAC, Frank 740 1.72 +0.60
Total valid votes 43,009 100.00
1965 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal MARTIN, Hon. Paul 26,094 63.78 +3.96
Progressive Conservative GOURLIE, David 8,142 19.90 -0.78
New Democratic MCCONVILLE, Hugh 6,133 14.99 -2.79
Communist MAGNUSON, Bruce A.H. 543 1.33
Total valid votes 40,912 100.00


There is a Paul Joseph Martin fonds at Library and Archives Canada.[17]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Martin, Paul (1983). A Very Public Life: Far from home. Deneau. p. 2. ISBN 0-88879-092-9.
  2. ^ "Heads of Post List". Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada. Archived from the original on October 4, 2013.
  3. ^ "A boy's life". CanWest MediaWorks Publications. November 16, 2004. Archived from the original on November 7, 2012.
  4. ^ "Famous People Who Had and Have Polio". Disabled World. 27 October 2019. Retrieved 10 April 2022.
  5. ^ Andrew-Gee, Eric (12 December 2020). "Rhesus monkeys, 'pizza boxes,' and armed robbery: Canada's history shows that, when it comes to vaccination, details matter". Globe and Mail. Retrieved 28 November 2021.
  6. ^ a b Nicaso 2004, p. 173.
  7. ^ Clearwater, J. "Canadian Nuclear Weapons.", Chapter 1. Dundurn Press, 1998.
  8. ^ "Honorary Degrees". Dalhousie University. Archived from the original on August 16, 2006.
  9. ^ "Last updated: June 23, 2022 University of Toronto Honorary Degree Recipients Chronological 1850-2022" (PDF). University of Toronto. 23 June 2022. Retrieved 15 August 2022. 1952 Martin, The Hon. Paul Doctor of Laws
  10. ^ "HONORARY DEGREES CONFERRED (Chronological)" (PDF). University of Windsor. p. 1. Retrieved 15 August 2022. First convocation (Spring 1954) ... Paul Joseph James Martin - Doctor of Laws (External Affairs Minister)
  11. ^ "Western University - Canada. HONORARY DEGREES AWARDED 1881 - PRESENT" (PDF). University of Western Ontario. August 2020. Retrieved 15 August 2022. Martin Paul Joseph James D.C.L. honoris causa
  12. ^ "The Title and Degree of Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) Conferred at Congregation, June 2, 1966: Paul Martin". University of British Columbia. Retrieved April 14, 2020.
  13. ^ "Honorary Degrees | Wilfrid Laurier University".
  14. ^ "Honorary LLD". Law Society of Ontario. Retrieved 15 August 2022. The Honourable Paul Joseph James Martin, 1983
  15. ^ "Former Prime Minister Paul Martin to Speak at Pembroke Campus Convocation Ceremony as late Father Bestowed an Honorary Degree" (PDF). Algonquin College. February 27, 2017. Retrieved April 14, 2020.
  16. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "AC 2017 Convocation - Paul Martin Honorary Degree Presentation & Convocation Address". YouTube.
  17. ^ "Paul Joseph Martin fonds, Library and Archives Canada". 20 July 2017. Retrieved September 10, 2020.

Further reading

  • Donaghy, Greg. Grit: The Life and Politics of Paul Martin Sr. (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2015). Pp. 480
  • Nicaso, Antonio (2004). Rocco Perri The Story of Canada's Most Notorious Bootlegger. Toronto: John Wiley & sons. ISBN 9780470835265.
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Paul Martin Sr.
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