Martin's First Year
Throughout Jean Chretien's term as Prime Minister, Paul Martin ominous presence in the shadows was constant. The entire nation was keenly aware of the fact that Mr. Chretien's successor had already been chosen. In fact, during the last days of the Chretien government the population eagerly awaited Mr. Martin's rise to power. As Chretien's Liberals became mired in scandal, the nation held high hopes that Paul Martin would 'save the party'. Sadly, the first year of the Martin regime has conclusively proven that this faith was misplaced.
Mr. Martin's government has failed to live up to expectations on nearly every account. National unity has continued to suffer, as special status for Quebec has become generally accepted and a new row has developed in the maritimes. Despite promises, Health Care has not been saved for a generation, perhaps a decade at best. Our role in the world has yet to improve and our relations with our neighbours have yet to improve enough to open the border to Alberta beef. Perhaps most dramatically, the Prime Minister is now mired in the Sponsorship Scandal as former cabinet ministers have hinted that the then Finance Minister was actively involved in the Sponsorship program.
Given the massive sense of anticipation ten years waiting in the wings created, Mr. Martin's first year have been an unequivocal failure. Should he hope to match the reputation of his predecessor -- or even get re-elected -- the Prime Minister must lead a rapid turn around of the government, and the party.