Martin made the remarks while visiting a softwood lumber mill in Richmond, B.C., Wednesday. The United States and Canada are locked in a long-running dispute over softwood tariffs.
Martin also animatedly denounced remarks by U.S. Ambassador David Wilkins earlier this week that Canadian politicians should avoid anti-U.S. rhetoric in their campaigning before next month's election.
"I am not going to be dictated to as to the subjects that I should raise," Martin said. "The dispute with the United States demands leadership at the national level in Canada, even if that leadership happens to rankle some in the U.S."
His chief opponent, Conservative leader Stephen Harper had a similar opinion of Wilkins' cautionary remarks, the Globe & Mail reported.
"I think Canadians have to make their judgment on that and I don't think foreign ambassadors should be expressing their views or intervening in an election," Harper said.