Former prime minister was the architect of the 2005 Kelowna Accord
Few Canadian leaders know the issues raised by Idle No More better than former prime minister Paul Martin.
As Canada’s 21st prime minister, Martin will be remembered as the architect of the 2005 Kelowna Accord, which envisioned the investment of $5 billion over 10 years for education and social welfare programs for aboriginal Canadians. The project fell apart when Stephen Harper took over that year as prime minister, and cut the funding.
Martin’s interest in the lives and problems of aboriginal peoples dates back to his teenage years in the 1950s, when he worked on the shores of Hudson’s Bay and as a deck hand on tugboats going up and down the Mackenzie River. There, he saw firsthand the inequities faced by aboriginal friends, and it left a deep impression.
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