Paul Martin has just resigned. Delivering a very good speech, one he can be proud of, the now former Prime Minister has once again become Paul Martin, M.P. This must have been a very hard decision for a man who has wanted the position of PM for more than 20 years. A man who saw his father lose to Pierre Trudeau for Liberal Party leadership in 1968. Paul Martin Jr. was fulfilling, for his family, what had been hoped for, for his father.
Unfortunately, a rather messy transition from Prime Minister Jean Chretien to Martin left the Liberals wounded. For most of the 2nd and 3rd terms of the Chretien government, the Martin team had worked against the very successful PM. The effects from this transition saw innumerable Liberals sitting on the sidelines for this election – probably more than had in the previous election. (Read Warren Kinsella’s blog to hear the voice of a former Liberal insider as well as his Macleans blog post here.)
Now, Mr. Martin will become a footnote in Canadian history as Prime Minister. If remembered at all, it will be as a successful Finance Minister in the Chretien government. A legacy he can be proud of – even if it wasn’t the one he wanted to leave. Au revoir, Monsieur Martin. Bonjour, Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
UPDATE: From Mark Steyn:
This is a man who set out to reach the top of the greasy pole at all odds, only to find he had no idea of what he wanted to do when he got there. And the price of winning the big prize was a fractured party whose lean mean efficiency dissipated day by day. Ruthlessness is all very well but inept ruthlessness has little to commend it. [Steyn & Macleans Blog HT: Peaktalk]
[Martin pic: CTV. Election graphic: CBC]