What Paul Martin Said

As a result of a post over at Trudeaupia, , Tony pointed me to a speech made by Paul Martin back in 1995. More interesting reading.

“Not long ago, one of my sons asked me a question. He was reading my Father’s memoirs — the history not only of one Canadian, but the history as well of the evolution of the Liberal Party over some 60 years. He wanted to know whether the Liberalism as set out in the recent budget, differed from the Liberalism his grandfather so strongly believed in.

That is in fact the question you have asked me today.

It is one I am delighted to begin to answer, in both its facets: to respond, on the one hand, to those who feel that we have focused too much on the deficit compared to previous Liberal governments; and to respond, on the other hand, to those who would call for an end to the historic partnership embedded in Liberal philosophy — a partnership between the people, their government and the market. A partnership some would end because they feel the consequences of debt and deficit mean government can no longer stay in the game!”

It’s nice, Paul, that your sons had a chance to review their grandfather’s memoirs. I have to admit I’ve heard of your father, but know little about him. I do recall when I was younger, he wanted to be the leader of the Liberal Party, and one day be Prime Minister of Canada. I understand that you had always hoped to fullfill your father’s dream.

But one thing your introduction helped to clarify: You use “Big L” Liberalism, and not “small l” liberalism. So really, you’re not really meaning liberalism. There is a difference.

But I don’t know what you mean by this “historic partnership embedded in Liberal philosophy” stuff. Sounds like a lot of bluff to me. A partnership between “the people?” What people, exactly, Paul?

” To the former — those who feel we have turned our backs on our past — let me make two points: first, economic failure has never been a tenet of Liberalism; second, Liberalism is a belief in a better future, it is not a set of programs fixed in time.

Sir Wilfrid Laurier made that point almost 120 years ago. “Experience,” he said, “has established that institutions, which at the outset were useful, often end by becoming intolerable abuses owing to the simple fact that everything around them has changed…and they have not.”

Well, as in Laurier’s time, so too in ours.”

Well, Paul, if you are using “Big L” Liberalism, you’re most definitely wrong. Economic failure has become a tenet of Liberals everywhere. Economic failure is waste of any money, and you’re gang has done a merry job of that.

Interestingly, Medicare is often referred to as a “Canadian Liberal Tradition.” Medicare programs came into effect during the late 1960’s and early 70’s. I am NOT trying to draw a conclusion regarding Medicare and Public Debt & Deficits; instead what must be recognized that if Medicare is a Liberal Canadian tradition, then so is the National Debt and Budgetary Deficits. All three began in earnest with Liberal Governments. As you later point out in your speech, the Canadian Government, as of 1995, was paying close to 50 Billion Dollars in interest charges alone.

So, you’re most definitely wrong here, Paul. As long as you choose to call some program that has been in existence for less than 40 years a “tradition,” then you must also recognize that enormous debt and deficits are also a “Liberal tradition.” You can’t have it both ways, my friend.

“The essence of Liberalism is, in fact, innovation and reform. Liberal principles are constant, but our policies and programs have continually evolved because the world, and the needs of Canadians, have continuously evolved. Liberals have never seen nostalgia as the foundation for policy. Nor have we ever sought success in following old ruts in old roads.”

To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, who said something like, “our mid western farmers have an expression for this that begins with B and ends in T,” this is Bullshit.

Liberals in the late 20th and early 21st century certainly do seem to base their policies on nostalgia.

As far as your understanding of the theory of evolution, it’s dead wrong. Evolution of programs under the recent Liberal Governments have been filled with very harmful mutations. Cancerous mutations that suck the lifeblood from individuals; suck away their freedom; suck away at their morale; suck away at their abilities to make decisions for themselves.

This is a scary kind of evolution, Paul. In fact, some of those old ruts in the roads are the best way to travel. What you guys have created are new, deeper ruts, that are tiring to travel in. Your economic policies have dug the ruts deeper, and then filled those ruts in with quick sand. The quicksand of false economics. The quicksand of false promises. The quicksand of theft.<blockquote“The fact is that our country today faces forces and facts that no Canadian government has ever had to face. We live in a world where the global village is real, not rhetoric. Where Canada must compete with dozens of countries whose productive capacities a mere ten or fifteen years ago were but a speck on the horizon compared to what they are today.”
You were wrong, Paul. Your premise is wrong. If you mean by “our country,” you mean “the entrepreneurs, the working folk, the people with dreams, the explorers, the risk takers, the miners, the doctors, the coffee shop workers, the auto workers,” then maybe you were right. But they’ve done ok. And it’s not because of the Government. Your comparison to “the country” and “Canadian government” is a false analogy.

What those who reside in Canada faced was increased productivity from those who resided in other countries. Increased productivity depends on motivated individuals. Not whiny public servants employed by government.

“It is a world where the old levers of nationalism no longer work. It is a world where many of the old instruments of economic sovereignty have eroded. A world, for instance, where no country not even Japan or the United States is able to control the fate of their own currencies on global markets.”


Ummmm… Paul… your first sentence is pretty close to the truth.. nationalism won’t work. Planned economies never have (We are talking about productivity and economics here, aren’t we, in a round about way?) But… your next sentence is a bit weird. Do you have any understanding of currencies and money? Do you have any understanding of trade? This is nutcakeness. Time for you to go back to Economics class. The problem with the United States and Japan, and the United Kingdom, or any other country trying to control the value of their currency is because of socialist ideas in the first place, and trying to interfere with trade and control trade. Attempts at trying to unbenchmark currencies against Gold and Silver Standards. Issuing currency and trying to control the economy to ensure taxes get paid. You really ought to have a better understanding of the history of currency, Paul. You don’t seem to understand that what it is, is simply a currency like any other commodity.<blockquote”It is a world where old economic assumptions are giving way in the face of new technologies, and the requirement for new skills. In short, it is a world that demands new kinds of leadership.”
Paul… it’s not that economic assumptions are giving way in the face of new technologies. It’s actually that your economic assumptions are false! The fact that new technologies have arisen over the past ten years is simply a red herring. This has nothing to do with the fact that your economic assumptions of the past have been wrong. The two have nothing to do with each other.

But I’d certainly agree, it’s a world that demands new kinds of leadership. Leadership that recognizes that leaders of nations should do as little as possible to interfere with the markets. Less control. More liberty. You should, if you want to be a ‘leader’ of Canada, actually spend more time on the golf course than trying to interfere with the day to day business of Canadians.


We live in a society where many of our social programs, reflecting a pattern of life that has long since changed, simply do not match modern needs. And, finally, we live in a reality where the possibility of governments spending still more money is simply not on. Where the necessity of spending less is crystal clear.

The fact is governments don’t have money, they are given money — money from the pockets of hardworking Canadians from coast to coast. And that means government must behave as if every dollar counts, because every dollar does.”

Dead on, Paul. Actually, you missed one part. Hard working Canadians don’t “give” to government in the normal sense of the word ‘give’. In fact, they are forced to give at the threat of force. That’s an important distinction.

And the other thing Paul. You gave this speech in 1995. How do you explain the fact that your Liberal governments have not behaved as if every dollar counts? Boy, thems were nice words in the late 20th century, huh?

“It is a fact that no Liberal government ever before has had to confront the cancer of compound interest. Twenty years ago, our interest charges were a little over $3 billion a year. By this year, they’ll be close to $50 billion. And if we do nothing about the deficit, in 10 years our annual interest bill will approach $100 billion. Compound interest is not ideology, it’s arithmetic. It’s reality as cold and as hard as it gets.

Our new interest charges this year alone were over $6 billion. That is money we did not have to pay last year. It is a new charge on the future of each and every Canadian — not because of new government spending, but because of old government debt.”


Ummm.. Paul.. what were the interest charges 60 years ago? Hey Paul.. you happen to remember some guys named Pearson, Chretien, and Trudeau? Yeah.. those guys that introduced big deficits, tried to control economies, brought in wage and price controls, less freedom, and made terrible economic assumptions? Yeah.. those guys were Liberals. They started it, Paul. Wasn’t that when your ‘auld man’ was around?

“Think of it, $6 billion in new burden in one year alone. That’s the federal government’s entire R&D; budget. It’s three times what we spend on culture. It’s more than what we spend on the child tax credit. That interest is money that cannot go to social programs, cannot go to child poverty, cannot go to science & technology, cannot go to the lowering of taxes. It robs this country of its potential. It robs our children of their future. And ladies & gentlemen, if we don’t deal with it, it will rob the Liberal party of its purpose.”


Holy Moly, Paul. Not only that, it’s money I can’t share with my children. Money I could never share with my parents. Money I couldn’t spend on what was important to me. It’s money that Liberalism (traditional Liberalism the way you seem to look at it) has taken from me and my friends and my family.

“The fact is chronic deficits threaten to put the social conscience of government out of business. If we are to keep that from happening — and we must we simply have to put the deficit behind us and we will.”


What the hell is a “social conscience of government??” Is that the part that taxes me to death? Restricts my freedom? I always thought that the Goverment was supposed to be separated from religion. “Consience” is quite a religious concept. Socialism, in fact, is a religion. Governments don’t have a conscience in the first place, Paul. You really ought to stay away from philosophical terms here as they are obviously above you.

“The deficit is not what defines us as Liberals, it isn’t what motivates us as Liberals. But no responsible government can shirk it — certainly no government that ever dreamt of preserving Medicare, or fighting child poverty, or investing in the economic levers of the future. Today’s Liberal challenge goes well beyond getting our finances in order. It requires reforming the very role of government itself. To rethink it, not simply shrink it.”


And Paul, how have you succeeded on both accounts over the past 9 years; shrinking and rethinking it? You proud of your rethinking and so-called shrinking? How many Ministers do you have in your own Government this year? You call that “shrinking and rethinking?”

“The Liberal Party is founded, above all, on an unconditional belief in the equal worth of the individual, their right to freedom, and their responsibility to each other in exercising that freedom. For Liberals, every Canadian has an equal right of access to the avenues of success. To get there, we believe in a government that gives people a helping hand when they need it, and a government that knows enough to step aside when they don’t.”


Paul, don’t you see the complete and utter illogic of that last sentence with your first two sentences in this paragraph? Equal worth, right to freedom, and responsibility is completely at odds with governments choosing to whom should get helping hands. Adscam, may I remind you, is a good example of this problem that you have created for yourself by suggesting a government helping hand can live beside free individuals.

“Liberals believe that the role of government is to expand individual freedom. We do not believe that survival only of the fittest is any way to build a civil society. This is a fundamentally different perspective than exists on the right-wing, some of whom see government as a bunker from which to protect privilege. Others see government as either something to occupy or to abolish.”


Paul, you’re the Queen of Semantics. How do you propose to expand individual freedom, while at the same time, taking away freedom? You think freedom is some commodity, that can be traded between those you think deserve more freedom than others deserve? That it is the Government’s job to decide who will survive and who won’t? Actually, your health care policies certainly seem to suggest this. Those big city folks will have more access than those who risk their lives in mines and exploration and entrepreneurial activities that will benefit big city folk.

It ain’t just the right wing that sees Government as some bunker. You yourself have managed to put your own business interests in Canada in such a position that they only pay 3% in income taxes per year, while the majority of Canadians pay in excess of 30 and 40%. But the fact is Paul, whether you like it or not, you cannot expand freedom while continuing to regulate and intimidate smaller political units like Provinces and Cities, while playing games with those rural folk who want nothing to do with big city life. It’s impossible, so give up the rhetorical lies.

” Our agenda includes the elimination of the deficit. It does not include the elimination of government. Let there be no doubt. strong, activist government in the future must be very different than what it was in the past. We must provide a government with the wisdom to do that which only it can do best, leaving the rest for those who can do better.”

Well, Paul. You’re in the shipping business. Obviously, you think Canada Steamship Lines can do a better job of shipping cargo. So, why do we still have the albatross of Canada Post? And why have you allowed Canada Post to expand it’s mandate and get involved in the business of what other private business can do, and do very well? Why have you allowed a Crown Corporation to compete against private business in this country?

Why do you insist that private medical facilities, which obviously must be fulfilling a need, not exist? If they are able to exist, the only reason is because the nationalized health care system cannot provide a need, and the private ones are able to do it better, competing in fact, against your public system. So if this is possible, why do you hold onto another albatross that is milking the public dry, all in the name of some principle that you claim you need to be flexible about, and change as needs change?

Can you name one thing, other than the military (and even that is debatable) that the Government can provide better service as a whole, than any private service can provide? Hmmm? I’m waiting….

“Ours must be a government that does not define its strength by the power it accumulates, but by the partnerships its has constructed with others. That’s why we are privatising Crown Corporations. Our view is straightforward, if government doesn’t need to run something, it shouldn’t, and in the future, it won’t.”


Bullshit, Paul. 8 years has passed since this speech of yours.. oh sure, the Government has created partnerships all right. Partnerships which have been based on cronyism, fraud, illegal activities, and which have sucked the life from legitimate non tax supported ventures.

And in fact, you’re still running things that don’t need to be run by an Government. So Paul, where’s the beef?

“Liberals have always been able to distinguish between principles and programs. As I said at the outset, principles last forever, but programs exist to serve a need, and needs change.”

Ok. You meant this statement as practice for a Saturday Night Live comedian show, right? Right? No? You mean you were serious? Paul, Paul.. you mean we just elected such a naive Prime Minister? Or you forgot to take your medication the day of this speeck in 1994?

“That’s why when we look at the need to reform our social programs, we are following in the footsteps of their Liberal authors. Their purpose was not programs written in stone, it was programs that worked, that evolved with evolving needs. The Liberals who created UI more than half a century ago, did not intend it to become an obstacle to a better future. Their goal was to give the unemployed a better chance to find the right job, and that must be our goal today.”


Really? Not written in stone? I’m sure that’s a relief to our folk in long lineups for health care. The only problem is… it seems to take you just as long to erase the writing in stone as it did to write it all on paper. And in the meantime, people’s lives are being wasted. I’m still not sure what programs you mean by ‘working’ – but you use the example of UI. Ummm.. has that goal worked, Paul? I have a few thoughts on UI myself. Care to listen to them? Exactly how did UI have the goal of giving unemployed a better chance to find the right”The authors of our system of transfers to the provinces did not intend that bureaucratic rules would prevent innovation, preclude, for example, the use of those transfers to fund school lunch programs for poor children.”
Nope. The authors of system of transfers wanted to centralize power, instead of letting smaller groups manage their own affairs. Tax more, and pretend to give back. Remember.. it was you that said, “The fact is governments don’t have money, they are given money — money from the pockets of hardworking Canadians…” But I guess as a fake economist, you’ve forgotten that the Government has created more poor folk than any other system.

“So, today, we must not see innovation and new flexibility as contrary to compassion, but essential to it. For Liberals, the burden of proof is not on those who challenge conventional wisdom, the burden of proof is on those who advocate the status quo.”


Yup. More rhetoric. So Paul, when would you like to have a little debate about your own status quo? This would actually be a good thing, if you truly believed in your statement above. There’s a whole bunch of us waiting to challenge so-called conventional “Liberal” wisdom. It won’t be that hard either. So when does the debate start?

“Lester Pearson stated the challenge twenty-five years ago when he said: “The principles of Liberalism are as old as humanity, and as deep-rooted as the instinct for freedom. We must stand firm on our historic foundations,” he said, but then went on to say “but that is not enough, It is building on them that matters.””


Well, Pearson was wrong. Principles of Liberalism are not as old as humanity. Principles of liberty and liberalism are as old as humanity, however.

It’s too bad that Pearson had a warped view of freedom, as well. What do you envision when you read the word ‘freedom’ Paul? I’d love to hear your views on that.

“That is why our economic policy must be one of entrepreneurship. That’s why we support small business — today’s job creators, tomorrow’s multinationals.”


Well, get on with it already! Quit taxing us, forcing us to spend time in red tape, pay roll taxes, subsidies to big corporations, playing favorites with loans and regional grants, and let us do our thing. Stop regulating us. What are you, a moron or something? Oh.. I forgot.. a politician.

“That is why we must be a government, as the Prime Minister has so effectively demonstrated, that sees trade policy as the new industrial policy not just on this continent, but on all continents.”


Shuttup already. All you’ve done is put roadblocks against trade! If you really mean what you say, you’d remove all regulation and all law against trade, and let the markets be what they can be. Just go away, why don’t you? I keep running up against your roadblocks, and it is really pissin’ me off.

“That is why we must foster a national science and technology effort, focused on Canada’s strengths, forged in partnership with the best minds Canada has to offer.”


You need to foster nothing. You really ought to get this problem of yours, of needing to be a nanny, out of your mind. Are you co-dependent by any chance? There’s help for that, you know.

“Twenty years ago, the Microsoft Corporation did not even exist. Today, it’s near the top of the Fortune 500. Bill Gates, Microsoft’s founder, has said that their biggest single source of new recruits is our University of Waterloo. That is a great tribute to a great Canadian university, but it also raises one fundamental question — If we have the talent, why isn’t Microsoft a Canadian company?”


You really have to ask that question? The Soviets often why some of their brightest minds defected to America. Let me let you in on a secret, Paul. It ain’t about talent. It’s about opportunity. And the more the government tries to ‘do something’, the less opportunity there is. Bill Gates would never come to Canada. And we all know why. So why are you asking?

“Creating the climate to make that happen ten years from now must be a Liberal priority today.”


Well, ten years of majority Liberal government has passed by, Paul. Did you achieve your goals or not? If not, why not?<blockquote”A hundred years ago, Laurier was not afraid to look ahead. He predicted that the 20th century would belong to Canada. Some have said he was wrong. Well, he was right. Not according to the crude calculus of power or empire, but because of the quality of our Canadian life. Not because of any single value we have pursued, but because of the many values we have advanced together our freedom, our compassion, our security, our prosperity, the peace we enjoy and the tolerance we show towards each other.” Well, based on that criteria, the 20th century has belonged to any third world nation that has had the benefits of American capitalism close by. You really ought to get out more, Paul. The 20th century has ended with Canada being a two bit nation that means diddly squat in the whole scheme of things. And Laurier would roll over in his grave if he could see what the Liberal party has amounted to in the latter half of the 20th century. You do Sir Wilfred a whole lot of injustice.

“The answer is it is time to provide Canadians with a new vision of what their country can be. A place where our equality is deeper, our social programs more focused and our economy equipped to take-on the very best the world has to offer.”


Equality is “deeper?” Ummmmm ok. I guess you haven’t read much Socrates, have you? A deeper equality? Whoa.. define please. Deeper equality. Yeah that’s it.

“If Canada is judged one of the best places in the world in which to live, it is not because of our prairies or the peaks of our mountains. It is because of the actions and the achievements of our people.”


Actions and achievements in spite of our Government, Paul. In spite of this so called attempt at “deeper equality.”

The more I learn about you, Paul, the more I am very afraid about my freedom. My liberty. My children’s freedom and liberty. Your track record over the past 8 years or so ain’t too good. Your logic is pathetic. Your premises are terrible. Here’s a challenge, Paul: Grant me freedom. Absolute freedom. Freedom to own property, freedom to have the thoughts I do, and freedom to be what I am. You up to it Paul? We’re waiting to hear from you on this freedom thing… </blockquote</blockquote</blockquote

3 thoughts on “What Paul Martin Said”

  1. Privilege for none, Freedom for all — Sir Wilfred Laurier —
    Can you imagine Paul Martin trying to run with that campaign slogan!

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