This image of Paul Martin, was taken on National Aboriginal Bay during the 2003 election campaign.  He’s singing with my drum group and lead singer Laval Williams.  This image was used in the video tribute tonight at the Liberal Leadership Convention.

MONTREAL – As the tribute to Paul Martin began, and speaker after speaker bestowed the virtues of his leadership and service to Canada, I couldn’t help but think: “What the heck are we thinking?”
How could we accept this man’s resignation? ¼br> How could be have elected such a narrow-minded, intolerant and less-visioned government during the last election? ¼br> Why elect a new leader, when this is the best man for the job?
It wasn’t just a love-in or a tribute to his 13 years of politics, it was a true portfolio of The Right Honourable Paul Martin, and a manual on how to run a great, socially and fiscally responsible country.
Just look at the facts:  

Under his leadership as Finance Minister:

  • Paul Martin has balanced budget after budget following years of irresponsible deficits and poor fiscal policy.  

  • He took the first steps to pay down the National Debt.  

  • He repaired the Canada Pension Plan, and now our pensions are safe for the next 70 years.  

  • He introduced the National Child Tax benefit, in an effort to address child poverty and look after our children.  

  • He gave Canada the strongest performance of any economy in the G8.

In his short time as Prime Minister:

  • Paul Martin have us a truly National child care program, 

  • He developed a fully funded Kyoto Package, and 

  • of course, the historic Kelowna Accord.  

Could you imagine what Canada and world would look like if these proposals were allowed to be seen to fruition?
This evening, Former General, Senator Romeo Delaire gave his account of his first meeting as Senator with Prime Minister Martin.  He was asked: “what are we going to do about the situation in Darfur, Sudan.”  Delaire recalled that nobody — absolutely nobody wanted to commit to anything, citing the tremendous need in our own country and in the Middle East. It was Paul Martin itself who took a stand to support African Union in protection the 2.5 million people in Darfour. He’s the only one who said it. The man really cares and believes in social justice and responsibility.

Notable Quotes:

During Paul Martin’s speech, what was most evident was the display of his personal values, which he described as being intrinsically Liberal values: 

“We are the party of the Charter and your rights will not depend on the state of your pocketbook,” said Martin.

“By the time the 1993 campaign began, you could feel it at the doorstep, on the street, in the air – our country wanted change.  Jean Chretien provided that change and I am proud to have served in his cabinet.”“We’re a big country not only in geography but vision.”

“There are those who will say, have said, that we tried to do too much. Well, I would rather have tried to do too much than be guilty of caring too little.”

“Send a message here this weekend, that our goals for a progressive society may be delayed, but our progress will not be denied.”

Great performances: 

  • “One Drum” by Leela Gilday

  • “Into the Mystic” by Colin James

  • Natalie MacMaster