Monday, May 08, 2006

The Race for Stornoway: Martha Who Who

"One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors."

Age: 46

Background: Martha won a silver medal at the 1976 Canadian Ski Championship. If she'd been an NHL goalie, we'd all know who she was but, unfortunately, skiing doesn't get a lot of media attention in Canada. Still, Martha worked her way through law school and if there's one thing the Liberal Party loves more than Toronto leadership candidates, it's former lawyer leadership candidates. Martha has run several businesses since graduation.

Political Experience: While having never been elected would be considered a drawback in most races, Findlay isn't too far behind the rest of the field in terms of political experience. She came within a whisker of defeating Belinda Stronach in 2004 and one imagines that had she won, she'd be considered a very legitimate candidate. Of course, it would have also made Canadian politics a lot more boring over the past two years. Speaking of which, following Belinda's waltz across the isle, Findlay stepped down to allow Stronach to run in Newmarket Aurora.

Rejected Campaign Slogan: "Newmarket Aurora's finest"

Rejected Campaign Theme: Anything by The Who.

Pros: Great bio, young, female.

Cons: Has never held elected office. No one knows who the hell she is.

In Person: She's not as polished as some of the other politicians in the race but chatting with her at the LPCA convention last month, she certainly seemed like she had a good grip on the issues and the political process. I even know of one young Liberal, at his very first convention, who was so impressed he decided he'd support her in the leadership race.

My Take: Andrew Coyne says that Findlay has "possibly the single most impressive resume" he has ever seen in a political candidate. Admittedly, running for leader is a different ball game than running for MP and, while others obviously disagree, I do think political experience matters.

Martha is running to make a name for herself and to raise her profile. In that respect, she's probably already achieved her goal. Given that she declared so soon and was simply known as "the lady who ran against Belinda", Findlay faced the very real risk that she would become the punch line of this campaign. But that has certainly been far from the case and she has mounted a surprisingly credible campaign thus far. Given the lack of females in politics, I really hope Findlay finds her way into a Cabinet position sometime in the future.

Chances: none < chances < slim


  • Bart, the Coyne link does go right to the resume, but doesn't have his "possibly the best" quote. You might want to link that too.

    By Blogger JP, at 4:48 p.m.  

  • Are you saying her chances are less than none, but better than slim?

    By Blogger J. Kelly, at 4:48 p.m.  

  • "slim to none" I think j. kelly.

    By Blogger Ted Betts, at 5:26 p.m.  

  • Have you noticed that of the Canadidates. The left leaning Rae says he wants to govern from the centre; the right leaning ignatieff says he want to govern from the left; the left leaning Kennedy speaks about good relationships with business.

    All these candidates speak about ideas. But, what ideas. All I know is that the front runners are trying to distance themselves from their precieved weaknesses are.

    By Blogger Liberal Fortunes, at 5:38 p.m.  

  • Personally I think MHF, would be the LPC smart choice to appeal to women, Quebec and NDP supporters. But hey, what the flip do I know...

    By Blogger Omar, at 6:12 p.m.  

  • Darling, she's practically got my vote already. I'd love it if she was from BC, but we can't expect absolute perfection, can we?

    By Blogger Lois, at 6:34 p.m.  

  • I like her a lot, I can't support her first ballot because the lack of elected experience, but I told her that I expect her to be an important voice at the next Liberal cabinet.

    I would rather have her than Belinda as a senior minister any day.

    I hope her campaign manages a respectable showing.

    By Blogger polarslam, at 7:18 p.m.  

  • liberal fortunes:
    I don't know where people keep getting this "right leaning Ignatieff" stuff from. He has had one position - pro-Iraq war - which could be construed as being right-wing. In fact, part of what distinguished him in this position was that he was a left-wing intellectual/academic disagreeing with his left-wing peers. Ignatieff has never been "right-leaning," not even by Canadian standards.

    Oh, none < chances < slim, her chances are greater than none but less than slim. In other words, slim to none. :p I got it.

    Yeah, I like her. She seems more credible to me than a lot of other candidates in the race ("front-runner" Rae being among them).

    By Blogger Ryan Ringer, at 7:28 p.m.  

  • ^

    She's also a hell of lot more credibile than Brison, Volpe, Fry and Bennet

    By Blogger polarslam, at 8:54 p.m.  

  • Fry?

    I happen to know that crosses are frying in Prince George as we speak.

    By Blogger Dale Kirby, at 9:29 p.m.  

  • Polarslam, maybe you can support Martha on the second ballot?? Please keep her in mind on subsequent ballots

    By Blogger fartcatcher, at 9:52 p.m.  


    The blogsite for the Martha's Alberta campaign.

    By Blogger Jung-Suk Ryu, at 11:33 p.m.  

  • Sounds like a promising contender if she knows how to gain editorial coverage in the MSM.

    Ignatieff knows how to get coverage, but sometimes he fumbles it and looks foolish.

    Said he would get degree holders out of cabs and back into labs.

    Guess he forgot that 13 years of liberal policy is what put them in cabs in the first place.

    Oh -oh, shot if foot again.

    Oh well, fumble mention is better than no MSM mention at all. TG

    By Blogger TonyGuitar, at 2:50 a.m.  

  • I think she really surprised a lot of people at the LPCA.
    She was intelligent and reflective and personable.
    I woould say she has some distance to go, she needs to prove she can win an election, she needs to smooth some of the kinks out of her campaign staff (they need to quit sending borderline insulting emails to riding presidents and other executive) but I will say I hope she does respecatably, I hope she runs in the next election and I hope she is given a crack at a good cabinet spot someday.
    I think she promises a good future for and in the party.

    By Blogger Aristo, at 12:09 p.m.  

  • Martha Hall Findlay is the only one I would support and the only one who will make a difference for the Liberal party.

    She is actually competent and earned everything she has accomplished.

    She wasn't handed everything (Belinda). Yup, I know she is not in the race but the contrast is interesting.

    She is not an opportunist (Brison, Rae)

    She's not boring (Dryden)

    She can connect with average people (unlike Ignatief).

    And she is not a plastic politician (Gerard Kennedy)

    Our party needs more people like Martha Hall Findlay and people to support her or it will be a long period in the wilderness.

    By Blogger Down & Out in L A, at 2:27 p.m.  

  • You know, I find I agree so much with that sentiment that I'm going to repeat it and make it my own, too, if you don't mind sharing.

    She is the only one that I'm rooting for, and she is the only candidate that I feel I admire and would like to trust with the proverbial car keys. She is an achiever, and seems interested in policy and not power. I like her a tremendous lot, I must say.

    By Blogger Lois, at 4:16 p.m.  

  • I have felt all along that Martha Hall Finley should be the candidate that the Liberal Party chooses and have seen enough Blue Bloggers write, "oh please, oh please make Martha your leader", to think that they fear her a lot more than they let on. I agree with the Lovely Lois that the above sentiment is an astute one and I personally think the party will be making a mistake if they take a pass on her.

    By Blogger Omar, at 4:46 p.m.  

  • Martha was kind enough to call me. I am very impressed with how seriously she is taking her bid.

    My friend Greg McGillis said something to me about Martha that impressed me. He said that many candidates are dropping out because of a lack of resources. Martha, on the other hand, is running despite a lack of resources.

    I have total respect for someone who will fight an uphill battle like this one at great personal expense. I wish her the best, and we owe her the respect to consider her ideas seriously.

    By Blogger James Bowie, at 7:41 p.m.  

  • Hi Lois,

    I certainly don't mind sharing.

    Spread the word.

    The "Odds" and the party "Gods" are against us.

    On the bright side, look up what happened at the Progressive Conservative convention in 1976.

    Joe Clark came out of nowhere to win.

    That inspires me and could easily happen with Martha.

    We just have to get her into the middle of the pack on the first ballot.

    More details later . . . . .

    By Blogger Down & Out in L A, at 11:51 a.m.  

  • Findlay wouldn't make a good leader, because she doesn't have the political experience yet...

    ...but that will change down the road, and in the meantime she really strikes me as a potentially winning resource for the Liberal party. Having already demonstrated her loyalty to the party by stepping aside for Belinda she has nothing to prove, and by all accounts is very well spoken.

    She just needs a seat, and she's a sure choice for critic.

    By Blogger Demosthenes, at 1:06 p.m.  

  • Isn't her slogan - "It's Time" - the same one that Campbell used in 1993?


    By Blogger Ted Betts, at 3:35 p.m.  

  • We'll see how all this plays out.

    Ignatieff supporters certainly can't criticize Ms. Hall-Findlay for lack of experience, since he has none himself.

    Experience can be a liability too as in being "tarred with the same brush" as your past associates.

    Someone with integrity, who can relate to the average Canadian, would have a lot of credibility with the electorate.

    Our party needs to clearly demonstrate that it has changed.

    If we believe in renewal, we must have confidence in a new approach.

    By Blogger Down & Out in L A, at 11:54 a.m.  

  • Wow, there is a lot of effective info in this post!

    By Anonymous, at 11:57 a.m.  

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