Sunday, January 29, 2006

A Eulogy

Brothers and Sisters will you stand for a moment of silence
Thank you, you may be seated. I would like to call upon Brother Paul to say a few words on behalf of the deceased.

Thank you Pastor Paul

Brothers and Sisters, we are gathered here to pay our respects to the political memory of Paul Edgar Philippe Martin, a man who desired and dedicated his life to one goal and that was to be what his father, the late and loved Paul Martin Sr couldn't.

Brother Martin was born and raised in the little city of Windsor Ontario, a place he called home, unless he was in Quebec, where he would never admit to being raised in Ontario. But I digress, Mr. Martin revealed a great acumen for business, and following graduation from the University of Toronto, he entered the legal and business profession. One of his prides was that of the Liberian, no sorry, Bahamian, again, my apology the Canada Steamship Lines. But all his success in business did not take away from his desire to remove the shame of his family. His secret desire was to have a Martin become both the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada and Prime Minister, a post his father attempted to attain thrice but never succeeded. To a family such as the Martin's this was a blot that had to be erased.

When the time came, Paul was able to win a seat in Montreal, which was the headquarters of the CSL. There he prepared for the day, the day he would be Prime Minister. Opportunity came in 1990 when a leadership convention was called to replace John Turner, a good man who proved to be totally inept as a leader. He challenged Jean Chretien for the position. The two men struggled against each other and used questionable tactics against each other. The result was a victory for Jean Chretien but the legacy was animosity bordering on hatred by both men for each other.

Still they worked together and in 1993, the Liberals, on the non-promise of scrapping the GST won the election and formed the government. However it was Jean Chretien who was the Prime Minister and Paul Martin felt the same sting of bitterness that had plagued his father.

For all the animosity, M. Chretien did recognize Mr. Martin's ability as a businessman, something he was not. He appointed Paul as Minister of Finance and allowed him the authority to tackle the economic problems of Canada. The task was daunting but Brother Paul took them on. He slashed the deficit and culled back the debt. He did by raising taxes and slashing federal transfer payments and gutting the Canadian Healthcare system. In other words, he attacked the deficit by cutting back on services that people depended on. He directed an army of the poor, the sick and the economically dependent

Brother Paul could you speed it up a bit.

Sorry Pastor Paul; needless to say his work won the plaudits and applause of business. He was considered one of the best Finance Ministers ever in Canada. he was so beloved that when a joke article appeared stating Mr. Martin had resigned, the markets sank. It was an April Fool's Day joke and the effect was a loss of value in the stock market.

Beneath all the applause was two things, hatred for Chretien and a lusting after the job of Prime Minister. Things came to a head in 2002 when M. Chretien fired Mr. Martin. The gloves were off and Mr. Martin became blatant in his desire for the job. Free of his cabinet responsibility, Mr. Martin toured the country drumming up support for his run at the top job and also gathering forces for a direct attack against M. Chretien. Chretien, perhaps seeing the handwriting on the wall, decided to retire as leader of the Liberal Party. A leadership convention was called, and as expected, Paul Martin won the job as leader of the Liberal Party.

It was then that tragedy struck the life of Paul Martin. His tragedy was not a death of a close loved one, or a debilitating disease, his was the greatest of all tragedies, he achieved his desire. All his life he wanted to be Prime Minister and finally it was his. He at last could remove the shame of his family and yet in that very fact, he added to the shame.

To say Martin was a bust as Prime Minister is to say the sun will rise in the east and that the atomic weight of cobalt is 58.9332 Amu. Within the space of 12 months, he went from the greatest finance minister to being referred to, by Clyde Sanger, the Ottawa correspondant of the Economist Magazine as Mr. Dither. His first challenge was to face the electorate. Af first it looked like a cake walk, but then people quickly cooled to the vision of Mr. Martin and quickly a sure win was turning into a sure loss. It was only after Mr. Martin reminded the people of Ontario that his opponent Stephen Harper was an Albertan and therefore evil did he manage to pull off a minority win. For the next 18 months, Prime Minister Martin danced and ducked and tried to stave off the inevitable. Also at the same time, the Gomery Report was released pointing out the corruption of the Liberal Party of Canada. The Liberal government, the report found had diverted hundreds of millions of dollars from federal coffers into the hands of Liberal friendly advertising firms, who would turn around and donate the money to the Liberal Party of Canada. The news shocked and angered Canadians, and Paul Martin, was left to explain it all. His defense was that as Finance Minister, the man whose job was to protect the public purse didn't have a clue what was going on. Needless to say this defence impressed no one. It did however energize the opposition and eventually the three parties gathered together and brought down the government.

It must be said here the election campaign of Paul Martin will be studied and discussed for years. People will write and declare the Liberal campaign of 2005-06 to be the most incompetent campaign of all time. It will go down in history as the Keystone Kops of campaigns. In fact the Martin campaign will probably be the new buzz phrase for unadulterated incompetence. To pull a Martin may be a phrase that will describe such complete ineptitude in future days. From making policy almost on the run without thinking, to RCMP investigations to managing to insult practically everyone in Canada, Martin's re-election seemed doomed. It was, on January 23rd the electorate spoke, and the Liberals were defeated. The fact that it is a minority Conservative government speaks more for the stupidity of the people of Toronto than anything Mr. Martin could have done.

The story ends that night, in front of the television cameras, Prime Minister Martin did the only honourable thing, he resigned as leader of the Liberal Party. This act saved the party from putting on an almost daily public performance of the assassination scene from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, with Paul Martin playing the title role.

With that we say farewell to the late, the lamented and the loutish Paul Martin.


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