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Martin's company CSL

Should Paul Martin divest his holdings in Canada Steamship Lines?


 

by F. Abbas Rana
10 March 2003

 

OTTAWA - Paul Martin, the former federal finance minister and the front-runner in the leadership race of the Liberal Party, should sell Canada Steamship Lines to show Canadians that he wants the job of Prime Minister and is willing to perform it without facing future problems of any real or apparent conflicts of interest, says an academic, an expert on government and ethics and a former political adviser to former Tory prime minister, Brian Mulroney.

Professor Andrew Stark, who teaches political science and strategic management at the Joseph R. Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, added that when Mr. Martin shows his unwillingness to sell Canada Steamship Lines, he is in effect saying to Canadians that they will have to show their interest in having him as their Prime Minister and this interest can be shown by letting him keep his business interests.

But Mr. Martin in an interview with the National Post recently said that he is not willing to sell CSL as it would be devastating for himself and his family because of their emotional attachment to the company. Mr. Martin also said that if he sold this company it may end up in foreign ownership which was one of the reasons why he bought this company in 1981 in the first place.

"I just couldn't live with myself if this dream was turned over to another country....That would be a dream turned into a nightmare," Mr. Martin told National Post.

Akaash Maharaj, chair of National Standing Committee on Policy Development for the Liberal Party, and also a candidate for the president of Liberal Party of Canada, in an interview said Mr. Martin has shown enthusiasm for financial transparency in the past and should be allowed to keep his shipping empire even if he becomes Prime Minister of the country.

Mr. Maharaj, however, said that the best solution for Mr. Martin to avoid the potential problems related to the issue of conflict of interest would be the appointment of independent Ethics Commissioner.

"I think if there's one substantive issue that has come out of this it's been that the office of the Ethics Counsellor as it currently stands has not done enough to inspire the confidence of the media or public or to deflect the criticism of the opposition," said Mr. Maharaj.


















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