Opinions

Martin's the man for most Canadians

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Since the 1988 federal election when the Progressive Conservatives won their second straight government under the leadership of Brian Mulroney, no party has come close to contending with the Liberals.

In 1993, Jean Chretien led the Liberals back into government and has remained Prime Minister for three straight terms spanning ten years. Chretien recently decided to retire from politics meaning the Liberal Party of Canada will hold a leadership convention in November. The winner of this convention will be named Prime Minister. There are three candidates running for the top spot: Paul Martin, John Manley and Sheila Copps.

Recently, the trio of hopefuls embarked on a cross-country leadership debate tour that included stops in six cities, ending Sat., June 14 in Montreal. When the dust settled, it was obvious that one candidate was far and away the favourite to win: Paul Martin. Recent polls have shown Martin is not only ahead of the competition in the race for the Liberal leadership, but he is also the country's top choice to be the next Prime Minister.

So, why does Paul Martin have so much support while every other candidate has fallen so desperately far behind?

The standard answer is that he faces no opposition. Any time a person takes a commanding lead or knocks off the competition early it is assumed they had no competition. However, this is hardly the case for the upcoming federal election.

The Progressive Conservatives, New Democrats and Canadian Alliance have all elected new party leaders since the last federal election and all have high hopes for their candidates.

As for the Liberal party leadership, both Manley and Copps have been Members of Parliament since the 1980s and both have been Deputy Prime Minister. Manley has also been Minister of Finance, Industry and Foreign Affairs while Copps has been both Environment and Heritage Minister. Paul Martin's competition is obviously quite strong.

So why is it that Paul Martin stands out as the majority's clear choice in this illustrious crowd?

Quite simply, people know what they are getting when they vote for Martin. Also elected as an MP for the first time in the 1980s, Martin has since risen to the status of arguably the most powerful cabinet minister in Canadian history before becoming a backbench MP a year ago.

In 1993, he became Minister of Finance and never looked back. During his time holding the post, Canada recorded five consecutive budget surpluses, erased a $42-billion deficit, paid down more than $36-billion in debt, invested in health care and other key areas and enacted the largest tax cuts in Canadian history. His budgetary prowess earned him international fame as he was named inaugural chair of the G-20, an international group composed of G-7 nations and emerging market nations in September 1999.

Along with his accomplishments, Paul Martin brings a list innovative and fresh initiatives to the table that will advance Canada both domestically and globally. Initiatives to make Western Canada a bigger partner in policy development, to kick-start a new and revitalized era of foreign relations with the US and the rest of the world, to gather waiting list data and work with the provinces to ensure that Canadians can travel to other parts of the country to access health care in a timely fashion if necessary, and to create a new deal with cities that would give them predictable and reliable funding.

Martin vows to lead a dramatically different government with a renewed sense of purpose, far greater consultation and contact with young people and his number one institutional reform is increasing the efficiency of the House of Commons.

Paul Martin has proven himself time and time again in Parliament and Canada is ready to give him a chance to lead the country. He is the only potential candidate that can offer not only an impressive list of accomplishments and leadership in the past but also new policy and innovation for the future. He is experienced and steady while remaining fresh and open to new ideas.

For all these reasons it is clear why Paul Martin has become the early leader in the race for our countries next Prime Minister.

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Comments

Even from the depths of the centre of Canada, Tyler still is still singing

"O Canada Vote Paul for the PM,
He'll be the one,
The one in which we stand,
He is glorious O Paul Martin,
We stand on guard with him..."


This is a bed rendition of O Canada, but it is surely the one that T-Dog sings! But hey Tyler, nice to hear from you again!

[We have not verified that the above post was by anyone with the name "Sheila Coppss".]

Is the Gauntlet now a forum for Liberal propaganda? Am I wrong in thinking Tyler Johnson's status as a paid and active member of the Liberal party should have been disclosed to readers along with this tripe? Will the Gauntlet now be making campaign contributions to the Liberal party?

You erred in judgement in allowing this to run as an unqualified opinion....at the very least it should have been one half of a point-counterpoint. At best, it's a letter. I expect to see space given in the next few weeks to supporters of the other major parties so they have the equal opportunity to present the advantages of those entities.

Otherwise, what's the point of calling yourselves a newspaper? You might as well be the Liberal recruiting pamphlet.

Nopolitix: Rest assured that the editorial pages will soon fill with right-wing tripe from myself and the other non-Liberals around the office, to counterbalance the left-wing tripe you and others dislike.

Nopolitix, you are wrong in thinking. Although I am an active member of the Liberal party I have never been paid by them.

Nopolitix,

The way the Gauntlet works is that students who are interested in contributing can and we welcome all of them to do so. We also welcome pieces from Gauntlet alumni, which Mr. Johnson happens to be.

Tyler wrote for us consistently last year and, as an individual interested and involved in Canadian politics, I welcome his contributions at any time. The same goes for yourself. Let your voice be heard, by writing a letter or volunteering at the paper.

Mr. Johnson is one of many voices at the Gauntlet and, like Mr. Li said, many of us do not share his centrist Liberal Party views. Don't worry too much about balance, the Opinions section is my "jurisdiction" if you will and a simple look back at the 2001/02 editorial year (when I was Opinions Editor) should reassure you that there will be balance between left and right, serious and light, political and non-political commentary.

Cheers,

Lawrence Bailey
Editor-in-Chief, the Gauntlet

As reassured as I am to hear that I'll see balance by the end of the year in the Gauntlet's editorial section...

I maintain that any writer with strong political ties should disclose those before running opinion pieces in the paper, if for no other reason than to make readers aware of what sources of information the writer might be predisposed to use, which "recent polls" they might be paying attention to, etc. I know it's an opinion section and if Tyler wants to preach Paul Martin as the second coming of Christ, fine....but he should qualify whether some of his statements that read as facts are coming from Ipsos-Reid or The World According To the Grits Handbook. And if he won't do that of his own volition, then readers should be told about the possible reasons why, IE active devotees of the Liberal party aren't likely to admit that "The World According to the Grits Handbook" as their only source for "Paul Martin IS the best, most qualified man to rule the world." Kind of goes to the credibility of the whole piece.

And when I said "paid and active," I was trying to convey that he'd paid for a membership....not that he was paid by the party. Sorry.

Nopolitix: How much should be bluntly stated and how much should be left to the reader to figure out?

In this case, it should be clear from reading that Mr. Johnson supports the Liberal Party and Paul Martin. Similarly, when a certain late-20s lawyer who supports a certain right-wing party write about Kyoto or Canadian politics in the Calgary Sun, it is obvious what poltical affiliation that writing carries.

I was not party to the particular instance of editorial process which saw the publication of Mr. Johnson's piece, but we have run tags in the past with editorial content stating affiliations of the author(s) involved, and in doing so we've received the comment that such information takes away from the piece by artifically spinning it with a particular bias in the mind of the reader. Some readers skip pieces altogether and pass immediate judgement when they see that the author is affiliated with interest X, without having read the content, which is quite unfortunate especially if the content has nothing to do with the interest (not this case).

In short, like everything else, we are discussing a balance which attempts to serve the greatest number of people. I understand your point of view in desiring more disclosure, but as important a question would be "Does it make a difference that he is a Liberal if he wrote it on his own behalf without the knowledge or support of the Liberal Party?" The correct response to both clearly includes some combination of 'Yes' and 'No'.

-Ben

I agree with Mr. Li on this one.

While Mr. Johnson does have obvious political ties, by stating that he is a member of the Liberal Party would be overkill for anyone who read the piece. In my opinion, Mr. Johnson's affiliations are obvious once you read his opinion.

All Tyler is at this point is a member of the party, an active member yes, but a member nonetheless. Were we to preface every political piece with who belonged to what party and what organization every story would have a disclaimer. Tyler wrote this as an independent citizen, not as a Liberal Party member. He is stating his personal views which happen to also be those of the party he supports.

The times when we do run a title or a statement of affiliation are when the individual is writing on behalf of said group. For example, Gavin Preston could very well write us a letter as a student or as Students' Union VP Op-Fi. Depending on the issue and the tone he wishes to take it is his discretion which hat he chooses to wear.

As a paper, I think we should respect that. The decision of affiliation is one the author makes the majority of the time.

Lawrence Bailey

I'll be interested to see how all this rhetoric translates to action over the next 12 months. Thanks for your responses.

I agree with the statement that the sources of recent polls that I used in my article should be disclosed. The problem is I was limited in the amount of words I could use in the article and got edited as it was. As this is just an opinions article and not an academic paper I didnít reference everything. However the original article encouraged people to visit a website that would provide all the information asked for. www.paulmartintimes.ca has all the news and information about Mr. Martins campaign, this website should answer any questions.