Monday, July 29, 2013
Martin had a quarrelsome nature and tended to settle his disputes with his fists, earning him the nickname 'Fighting Joe'. He was naturally suspicious and had a capacity for pettiness. His combative, feisty spirit was well known throughout his career, as was his considerable eagerness to advance his own interests.
After being expelled, Martin taught school in Ottawa on a second-class certificate. It was there that the future politician first embraced liberalism and developed strong anti-French sentiments. In 1877, he entered the University of Toronto but he left two years later without a degree.
In January of 1883, Martin contested Portage la Prairie as a supporter of Thomas Greenway's Provincial rights party, which would form the nucleus of the provincial Liberal party after the election. Martin won but a narrow margin but the results were overturned. In May of 1883, there was a by-election and Martin was successful in that and would hold the seat until 1891. His feisty nature made him effective in the opposition and he was a skilful debater with a sharp wit.
Joseph took a leading role in the assembly. He criticized Premier Norquay and the Canadian Pacific Railway's monopoly in the west. His attacks became harsher when Prime Minister John A. Macdonald began to disallow railway charters that had been passed by the provincial legislature. On January 19, 1888, Greenway formed the first frankly party government in the province. Martin became attorney general and commissioner of railways.
Martin and Greenway opted to sell the unfinished Red River Valley Railway to American Railway builder, Henry Villard. Villard would complete the line to Winnipeg and connect it to his Northern Pacific Railroad.
This deal irritated the Winnipeg Liberals who were promoting another railway as well as the farmers who had expected more substantial rate reductions. This discontent could have created considerable difficulties for Martin, Greenway and their colleagues if it weren't for a controversial school legislation that distracted voters from the issue of the railway.
Dictionary of Canadian Biography website.
I hope you find the beauty around you.
Karen Magill, Joseph Martin, history, Premier, politics Liberal, Manitoba, feisty,