Paul Martin Jr. (born August 28, 1938) is a Canadian politician. He was the 21st Prime Minister of Canada. He was also the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. He became prime minister December 12, 2003, when Jean Chrétien stepped down. He won an election on June 28, 2004, because the Liberals won more seats than the other political parties; but they did not win a majority of the seats, so he led a minority government. There was another election on January 23, 2006; his party lost this election, so Stephen Harper became the next prime minister.
Martin was greatly respected, as a Finance Minister, around the world for his fiscal management, because of the growth in the economy and for taking the government out of deficit. His tenure as Prime Minister is generally seen as a disaster by most Canadians.
Martin was born in Windsor, Ontario. His father was a member of the Canadian House of Commons for thirty-three years and was a part of the cabinet. Martin graduated from the University of Toronto in 1961 with a B.A. in history and philosophy and from the University of Toronto Law School in 1965. He married Sheila Martin in 1965.
He was elected to parliament from the riding of LaSalle-Émard in Montreal, Quebec in 1988. He was finance minister from 1993 until 2002. He became known for balancing the budget (ending government borrowing of money). In 2003, he was elected leader of the Liberal party, and was appointed prime minister one month later.
Mr. Martin's government made same-sex marriage legal. It also had problems with the Sponsorship scandal in 2004. In 2006, Parliament passed a vote of no confidence, which forced a national election to be held on January 23. The Liberals lost the election and Martin lost his position as prime minister. Soon afterwards, he resigned his position as leader of the Liberal Party.