Mr. Martin will speak to the importance of Indigenous children and youth in Canada, and the need to support communities across the country to improve not only their children’s education but also the wider determinants that influence their educational outcomes all within a context that is culturally relevant. From their earliest years through to high school graduation, First Nations, Metis and Inuit children have the same potential to succeed as any other Canadian, and must have the same opportunities to succeed.
The Right Honourable Paul Martin was Prime Minister of Canada from 2003 to 2006 and Minister of Finance from 1993 to 2002.
During his tenure as Minister of Finance, he erased Canada’s deficit, subsequently recording five consecutive budget surpluses while paying down the national debt and setting Canada’s debt-to-GDP ratio on a steady downward track. He was the co-founder of the Finance Ministers’ G-20, and in September 1999 was named its inaugural chair.
During his tenure as Prime Minister, Mr. Martin set in place a ten year, forty-one billion dollar plan to improve health care and reduce wait times; signed agreements with the provinces and territories to establish the first national early learning and child care program and created a new financial deal for Canada’s municipalities. Under his leadership the Canadian Government reached an historic deal with Aboriginal people of Canada to eliminate the existing funding gaps in health, education and housing known as the Kelowna Accord.
After leaving public life, Mr. Martin created the Capital for Aboriginal Prosperity and Entrepreneurship (CAPE) Fund, an investment fund investing in Indigenous business and founded the Martin Family Initiative (MFI) focusing on the early childhoods and elementary and secondary education of Indigenous children and youth. The mission of MFI is to walk alongside Indigenous experts, communities and leaders to ensure that the educational opportunities from birth through to secondary school for Indigenous children are as good as any in the country and are culturally appropriate.
Mr. Martin has advised the African Development Bank and works closely with the Advisory Council of the Coalition for Dialogue on Africa, sponsored by the African Union, the UN Economic Commission for Africa and the African Development Bank. He was a founding co-chair of the Congo Basin Forest Fund, a 200 million dollar British-Norwegian-Canadian poverty alleviation and sustainable development fund for the Congo Basin Rainforest. Mr. Martin was also a commissioner for the Global Ocean Commission.
Before entering politics, he had a distinguished career as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The CSL Group Inc., the largest self-unloading shipping company in the world. Its acquisition by Mr. Martin in 1981 represented the most important leveraged buyout in Canada at that time.