Honorary Degree Citation - Paul Martin

by Mohsen Anvari, November 1998

Mr. Chancellor, I have the honor to present to you the Honorable Paul Martin, Canada’s Minister of Finance, Liberal Member of Parliament for the riding of Lasalle-Émard.

Born in Windsor, Ontario, in 1938, Paul Martin was educated at the University of Ottawa and then the University of Toronto, where he graduated with an Honors Degree in Philosophy. He went on to study law at the University of Toronto Law School and was called to the Ontario Bar in 1966.

Mr. Martin’s illustrious business credentials are well known, particularly as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Canada Steamship Lines. What is not well known is the fact that his career in shipping industry began as a merchant seaman on the Mackenzie River, in the High Arctic and on the Atlantic Ocean. He also gained some hands-on experience working in Alberta oil field, prior to entering the corporate world.

Much of Paul Martin’s career as a business executive was, in fact, spent in the boardroom, first with Power Corporation and later with Canada Steamship Lines. He has also served as a corporate director for seven major Canadian companies.

Mr. Martin’s association with Concordia University began in 1982, when he was invited to join the University’s Board of Governors. In 1987, he was elected Vice-Chairman of the Board, a post he held until December, 1988, when he was elected to parliament. He did, however, continue his association with the university as a member of Advisory Board of Concordia’s School of Community and Public Affairs until 1994.

In Ottawa, as a member of the official opposition, Mr. Martin served as a critic for a variety of economic and social portfolios, including Environment Critic and Associate Finance Critic. He chaired the Liberal Caucus Committee on Sustainable Development and the Liberal Task Force on Housing issues. Less than two years alter his election to the House of Commons, Mr. Martin was a candidate for his party’s leadership, finishing second among the five contenders.

He was instrumental in the formulation and development of the Liberal Party platform for the 1993 federal election which bought the Liberal Party to power. He was appointed Minister of Finance in 1993, and was re-appointed to the post in 1997.

In addition to his professional responsibilities, Paul Martin has been active in a wide range of community and service organizations. He has served on the boards of Amnesty International, the Centre for Research and Action on Race Relations and the Canadian Centre for Arms Control. He is also a Founding Director of the North-South Institute and the Canadian Council for the Native Business.

Mr. Chancellor, it is my privilege and an honor to present to you, on behalf of the Senate and the Board of Governors, Paul Martin, so that you may confer upon him the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.