Who was Paul Martin, Sr?
Paul Martin was a distinguished politician from Canada. He is also known as Paul Martin Sr., and was a member of the Liberal Party of Canada. Besides, this famous personality is also the father of Paul Martin Jr., who became the 21st Prime Minister of Canada. Initially, he studied law at Harvard, before taking the plunge into politics. Referred to as a father of Medicare, he served as the Minister of National Health and Welfare and brought about a good number of welfare measures in the medical field for the public. The dedicated politician was instrumental in the creation of hospital insurance and introduced federal system of health grants to support general public health services, tuberculosis and venereal disease control, mental health care, cancer control, prevention and control of crippling conditions in children, professional training, public health research and hospital construction. He also contended for Liberal leadership thrice, but was not successful. Subsequently, he was made Senator, and later the High Commissioner to the United Kingdom. Martin continued to be the Adjunct Professor of Political Science at the University of Windsor till his death at the ripe age of 89. This famed politician was also affected by polio since his childhood, but owing to his undeterred spirit he rose to great heights in his career.
Childhood & Early Life
Paul Martin was born on 23 June 1903 to Lumina and Joseph Philippe Ernest Martin in Ottawa, Ontario. In 1907, he contracted polio.
He attended Coll�ge Saint-Alexandre in Gatineau, Quebec and later enrolled at the University of Toronto. He obtained his degree in law from Osgoode Hall Law School. He also attended the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva.
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Paul Martin was a member of the Liberal Party of Canada. In 1935, he won a seat in the House of Commons for the first time. However, it was only in 1945 that he entered the cabinet.
In 1946, he was made Minister of National Health and Welfare. During this time, he ensured that comprehensive steps were taken for the prevention of polio in Canada.
In 1948, he introduced a a federal system of health grants to support general public health services, tuberculosis and venereal disease control, mental health care, cancer control, prevention and control of crippling conditions in children, professional training, public health research and hospital construction.
In 1948, he contested for the Liberal leadership for the first time, but did not succeed. Later on, he also ran for Liberal leadership in 1958 and 1963 but lost both the times.
He played an important role in passing the 1957 Hospital Insurance and Diagnostic Services Act, according to which provinces that satisfied certain criteria were given federal funding for health care.
Apart from the field of Medicare, Martin was also the Secretary of State for External Affairs under Prime Minister Pearson, when the Canadian forces acquired nuclear weapons from the U.S.A.
In 1968, Prime Minister Trudeau appointed Martin to the Senate, as the Leader of the Government in the Senate.
In 1983 and 1986, he brought out his memoirs in two volumes titled ‘A Very Public Life’.
During his tenure, he introduced the system of health grants which formed the basis of a more inclusive health insurance plan for the entire country.
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Despite objections, Martin introduced the universal vaccination program in Canada to wipe out the threat of the infectious diseases from the country.
Awards & Achievements
Paul Martin Sr. was made a Companion of the Order of Canada in 1976.
In 1992, in view of his achievements, he was permitted to use the title Right Honourable, even though he was never a Prime Minister or Chief Justice or Governor-General of the country.
He was also awarded honorary degrees by the Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia and the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.
Personal Life & Legacy
He married Eleanor ‘Nelly’ Adams, and had two children—Paul Martin Jr. and Mary Anne.
His illustrious son Paul Martin Jr. was born in 1938 and served as the Prime Minister of Canada from 2003 to 2006.
He died on September 14, 1992 at the age of 89.
In 1988, the Right Honourable Paul Martin Sr. Award was instituted in honour of this politician-lawyer.
In 1994, the Post Office Building in Windsor was named after him.
This illustrious Canadian politician was a prominent member of the cabinets of four Canadian Prime Ministers, namely, William Lyon Mackenzie King, Louis St. Laurent, Lester B. Pearson and Pierre Trudeau.
In addition to fighting a personal battle against polio, this famous Canadian politician’s son was also affected by polio in 1946.
This Canadian politician was regarded as one among the left-wing members of the party, while his more famous son is considered to belong to the right wing.