Politics

Martin, Chrétien portraits to hang side by side, with a pillar in between

The official portrait of former prime minister Paul Martin will be unveiled May 11 in the Centre Block of Parliament Hill.

Relationship between former prime ministers characterized by rivalry, internal spats

Space in Centre Block has been cleared for the official portrait of former prime minister Paul Martin, next to that of his predecessor Jean Chrétien. Martin's portrait will be unveiled May 11 at a ceremony on Parliament Hill. (Julie Van Dusen/CBC News)

The official portrait of former prime minister Paul Martin will be unveiled May 11 in the Centre Block of Parliament Hill.

Martin's portrait will be displayed alongside longtime Liberal leader and former prime minister Jean Chrétien

The placement, to the left of Chretien's portrait and with a stone column in between, is both fitting and ironic, as the two men worked closely together for many years before the relationship was strained by a rivalry that led to internal spats over leadership.

Paul Martin, right, served as Jean Chrétien's finance minister until friction over the party leadership led to Martin's departure from cabinet. Martin succeeded Chretien as Liberal leader and prime minister. (Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press)

Martin replaced Chrétien as Liberal leader in November, 2003, and became prime minister a month later. He won a minority government in 2004 but lost the 2006 election to Stephen Harper, a defeat often attributed to the Liberal sponsorship scandal in Quebec.

Martin and his wife, Sheila, will be at the portrait unveiling, as will current MPs and members of Martin's cabinet. It is not known if Chrétien will attend the event.

Artist painted former Speaker

Prescott, Ont.-based artist Paul Wyse was commissioned to do Martin's portrait. He was also the man behind the official portrait of Peter Milliken, the longest-serving Speaker of the House of Commons. Wyse also painted singer Billy Joel.

Peter Milliken, middle, stands with portrait artist Paul Wyse as he takes part in the unveiling of his official portrait on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on May 9, 2012. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

The next painting to be commissioned will be that of Harper, who stepped down as leader of the Conservative Party following his defeat in the 2015 election. He still sits as the member of Parliament for Calgary Heritage.

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