Paul Martin is in the news this week for criticizing the spending habits of the man who took the job of prime minister away from him: Stephen Harper.
It seems that Mr. Dithers, named as such by The Economist magazine for his indecisiveness, considers himself qualified to advise the economist from Calgary on financial matters.
Now, in fairness to Martin, he was a reasonably effective finance minister.
But virtually no one Canadian describe Martin as a successful prime minister.
Arguably one of Canada’s weakest leaders, he is remembered for his government’s involvement in the sponsorship scandal, the gun registry fiasco and the ridiculous Kelowna Accord.
A rather wealthy man, he came under considerable criticism for shielding his business interests from the taxman by registering his ships in the Caribbean while doing virtually nothing to protect ordinary Canadians from rising taxes.
As well, although Martin promised to fund a national daycare program, nothing ever came of that.
Canada’s 21st prime minister vowed to spend $22 billion on 122 projects in an attempt to curry favour with voters and get them to forget about Adscam.
Now that he’s no longer in power, he seems to think that he magically has all the answers to Canada’s problems.
He says the Tories have created a structural deficit and now need to outline a clear exit strategy, conveniently overlooking the fact that the Liberals would have tried to bring down the government had the Tories not agreed to spend the money they wanted on the federal stimulus program.
The Liberals remain weak, in part, because the feud that Martin waged with Jean Chretien tore the party in two.
Both Martin and Chretien appeared to care more about gaining power than doing anything for the country.
Harper has his faults — he’s cold, aloof and seemingly devoid of a sense of humour — but he’s not as delusional as Martin appears to be.
The former Grit leader should think back upon his own failures while living at 24 Sussex before he starts giving advice.
Lee Giles is an Advocate editor.