The Power Of AmbitionBook - 2003
The first in-depth profile of the 21st prime minister of Canada. On June 2, 2002, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien sent a brief fiveparagraph letter to Paul Martin, his Minister of Finance. "Dear Paul," the letter said. "It is with sadness that I confirm that you are leaving the cabinet..." The awkward wording reflected the profound bitterness that had come between the two men. Chrétien maintained that Martin had resigned. Martin maintained that he had been fired. The distinction did not matter, but the letter signalled the end of one of the most successful partnerships in Canadian political history. Even before their final split, Martin was the overwhelming favourite to succeed Chrétien as the leader of the Liberal party and the next prime minister. He had never tried to hide his ambition- in fact, he had already started to build a sophisticated campaign organization-and that, inevitably, was an increasing source of irritation between the two men for more than a decade. Martin got his first taste of politics as a boy, following the career of his father whom he adored. Paul Martin Sr. was on the national political scene for 40 years, a cabinet minister for 24 of those years. Twice he ran for the Liberal party leadership, and twice his dream of becoming prime minister was crushed. The younger Martin came to politics relatively late in life, but those who knew him in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when he was first seen on the fringes of the Liberal party, marked him as a man with political ambition. Until recently, Martin never acknowledged his ambition to be prime minister. But his father's memoirs testify that his ambition is of long standing. John Gray traces the course of Martin's early life and his success in business when he rose from his role as a corporate trouble-shooter for Paul Desmarais at Power Corp., to the presidency and ownership of Canada Steamship Lines. Six months after he left business for politics, he announced that he would be a candidate for the leadership of the Liberal party. His reach for the leadership in 1990 was a failure, but that did not stop him. Martin has vowed that, unlike his father, he will not fail twice. This first in-depth biography comes at a critical time, as Paul Martin stands ready to reach for the reins of power.(October 2003)
Publisher: Toronto : Key Porter Books, 2003.