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Janvi Balani Mr. Chamberlain December 2017CHC2D3-02History EssayThe prime minister is the most powerful political figure in Canada. They have had tremendous effects on our government and society throughout history. Every Prime Minister or political leader has their own impact on our country in many different ways. Paul Martin and Stephen Harper were both previous leaders of Canada, which have had several impacts on this country. Paul Martin was Prime Minister from December 12, 2003, to February 6, 2006. Stephen Harper was Prime Minister from February 6, 2006 to November 4, 2015. Despite a few similarities, the differences between these leaders are striking. These differences can be observed through their determination due to their respective impacts on the economy, integrity through their work with the Aboriginal community and their profundity because of their skills in management of money. In these impacts, Paul Martin has been proven to be a more effective leader. Before all else, Paul Martin has shown a valuable impact on our economy. As the gross domestic product(GDP) was growing, an improvement in income in the hands of the households was not seen. Paul Martin was a Finance Minister for Jean Chrétien who was the prime minister at the time. The GPD had grown by 26.9% between 1993 and 2002, but real personal income per person rose by just 11.5% over this period, or by an average of only about 1% per year.1 With his determination, he had the strong intention to help the citizens. In order to that, Martin had regulated expenditures by cutting Employment Insurance  benefits and had also reduced dollars on welfare benefits. In 1993, there were 1.6 million unemployed workers on average over the year, 57% of whom collected regular EI benefits. By 2002, the number of unemployed citizens had fallen to 1.3 million, but just 38% of the unemployed now qualified for benefits.2 Although this task was not easy, Martin was able to plan and lead it in such ways which led to a decrease in unemployment. The time it was decided to decrease dollars on welfare, it coincided with major policy changes. However, Martin was not discouraged by this and was able to implement his plans. This was a clear representation of his determination as he had a desire to achieve having a positive impact on the economy and did exactly that. In comparison to Paul Martin, Stephen Harper did not have as much of an effective impact on the economy. Under Stephen Harper’s leadership, Canada had the worst economy and job growth since World War II. According to Statistics Canada, there were 1.32 million unemployed people in 2014. That is 250,000 more people than 2007 and 200,000 people since 2008. Furthermore, in 2014 the unemployment rate went up 6.8% from 6.1%.3 A Unifor study was done that compared Stephen Harper to other leaders. According to this study, “Since the Harper government was elected; total employment has increased at an average annual rate of just 1.0 per cent per year.” Due to his lack of determination, when Canada went into recession in 2015, Harper disregarded them by calling them a “couple of weak months” and promised better times around the corner.4 The lack of momentum in the economy was said to be the reason low oil prices could have caused the country to go into recession. All in all, this data that has been collected over all the years Stephen Harper has been proven he was not determined to help the citizens or the economy. He could not make a decision to resolve the problem of recession that occurred even when he insured citizens he would make the situations better.           During Paul Martin’s tenure, his work with the Aboriginals tremendously affected the Aboriginal community. Paul Martin had noticed the Aboriginal kids were struggling in terms of their education.  As he was a man of high integrity, in 2008, Martin created the Aboriginal Education Initiative to improve the education the Aboriginals were receiving. This initiative was to increase their graduation rates and to raise more awareness about the Indigenous culture. Paul Martin once said,”We are generous people when we rise to an occasion of which we are aware. Unfortunately, the invisibility of the Aboriginal issue in this country is something that has been locked in by history, but it is my belief if we speak about … more and more Canadians are becoming aware of it.”5 Martin contributed money and built multi-sector partnerships to make programs to help Aboriginal kids in fields such as business and finance, literacy, and entrepreneurship. Martin believed that “If you invest in young Aboriginal children today,” he says, “they will make major contributions in the future. If you don’t, they will be a major draw on the economy. It’s as simple as that.”6 Due to Paul Martin’s integrity, many Aboriginal youth were exposed proper educational resources and had the opportunity to expand their learning. He had great intentions which allowed him to impact many Aboriginals.                In terms of helping the Aboriginals, Stephen Harper has not shown a great amount of integrity. Although in 2008 Stephen Harper issued an apology to the First Nations about the harm caused to them at the residential schools, it was not seen as sincere by the Aboriginal community. Shortly after his apology of stripping the Aboriginals of their culture was issued, his government banned funding for Indigenous languages. The following year Harper declared that Canada had no history of colonialism dismissing the 7,500 children who died in residential schools.7 In 2010, the Native Women’s Association of Canada reported 600 missing or murdered Indigenous women. This gained the attention of the media and shortly after, the Conservatives cut their funding. Although the many reports of RCMP officers rapeing and assaulting Indigenous girls and the increase in the rate of girls missing, Harper still did not look into it. The calls for a national inquiry to address this sociological phenomenon were denied by Harper. In his words,”We should not view this as a sociological phenomenon. We should view it as crime.” Later, he stated that a national inquiry “isn’t really high on our radar, to be honest.”8 This meant he thought this was not a cause of concern for him or his government. This event showed Stephen Harper’s lack of integrity and respect. He showed his lack of morals and support for people struggling. This did not have a positive impact on the First Nations. On the flip side, it caused more deaths and concern.              As far as money management is concerned, Paul Martin was greatly skilled in it. His creative use of the budget and tax policy processes helped manage economic deficits. In 1993, Canada faced a major economic deficit which hit a record of 42 million dollars. As the finance minister, Paul Martin had to balance the federal budget in a way that could help save money but to not affect the citizens. Under Paul Martin’s leadership, the government was focused on lessening program spending. Martin had to take risks and he was not afraid. He cut the budgets of his colleagues and reduced provincial transfers by 7 billion dollars which led to the government having to make deep cuts in health care. However, “he headed up negotiations with the provinces to repair some of the damage done by the earlier cuts in federal transfers, culminating in the pre-election health accord signed late in 2000.”9 Not to mention, he reduced the size of the government without affecting the nation. He was able to withstand such chronic federal effect that had hit Canada. His endurance also set an example for other countries like America who were also under debt burdens. Paul martin has shown his profundity. His ability to demolish Canada’s deficit which deeply affected citizens.  If the deficit continued it would hurt the citizens as a falling dollar could spark inflation and a solution to that would be higher interest rates.10Stephen Harper proved to poorly budget and manage the economies money.  Harper had run six straight deficits between 2008-2009 and 2012-2013. After Harper produced a surplus of $9.6 billion dollars, he produced a $5.6 billion deficit in 2008-09. “Harper’s Conservative governments generated shortfalls of $55.6 billion in 2009-10; $33.4 billion in 2010-11; $26.3 billion in 2011-12; $18.4 billion for 2012-13; and $5.2 billion for 2013-14.”11 This was due to his lack of knowledge of money management and budget balancing. Not only did he lead the country into deficits, he also misused money for unnecessary policies. An example of money misuse is when they spent $75 million for ads in 2013-14. The money that was used was the tax money that citizens have to pay. The government had lied as they said “we need to spend tax money to explain how taxpayers’ money is being spent.”12  However, the point of the ads was for promotion not information. In 2015, the government then released a letter to its supporters asking for money. Harper’s use of the citizen’s tax money was not properly managed. This event proved his lack of profundity as he manipulated all the taxpayers’ money. This deeply affected the citizens as they assumed they were paying taxes for reasons that could benefit them. However, the advertisements would have only helped the Conservatives. For this reason this did not cause a good impact. In conclusion, Paul Martin had several positive contributions on the country compared to Stephen Harper. This point was proven through their willingness to help with the economy, their integrity to work with the aboriginals and their deep affects due to their management of money. Although Stephen Harper had been a Prime Minister longer than Paul Martin, Harper did not demonstrate great leadership skills which resulted in him having a lesser positive impact. Whereas, Paul Martin greatly showed his leadership qualities. This in return, contributed well to the citizens and the economy.


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