Tape Delayed Q & A with MHF
So, without further adieu, here's a look into the mind of Martha Hall Findlay...circa April 2006.
1. Do you feel your lack of political experience puts you at a disadvantage?
No, for two reasons. One is that right now, the Liberal Party needs new faces and a new image, particularly in Quebec---and a whole new level of positive enthusiasm. Lack of political baggage is a benefit, whether it be sponsorship or Gomery-related, or related to past internal party divisions.
A clean, but really capable slate is, in fact, a real advantage. Most importantly, though, being a successful leader of anything, let alone a national party or a country, demands a varied skill set--one not based on political experience alone. A business background; a track record of successful entrepreneurship; the ability to speak and understand French; a proven ability to manage a team; active volunteer and community activity; involvement in environmental organizations (a key policy area)---indeed, the unique challenge of competing at the elite level in a very individualistic sport but where all one's training, travel, etc. is done as a team---those are all very useful experiences to bring to the table, and make for a pretty good resume for the job. I will add, however, that running in 2004 and almost winning, against all odds (we have heard the "dark horse" label before and proved it wrong); being acclaimed a second time as the Liberal candidate, and then stepping aside for a colleague in difficult circumstances---all point to a pretty good dose of "real" political experience.
2. Do you intend to run for the Liberals in the next election, should you fail to win the leadership?
Without question--you're stuck with me.
3. Is there anything you think the Liberal Party should do in order to help us win seats in Alberta?
I lived in Alberta for 2 years recently (2001-2003), and I loved it. We were in Calgary, but I was able to get to know quite a few folks from Edmonton as well through being on the Board of CKUA (in my humble opinion, the best radio station there is, period.) Frankly, I have a much more positive view about Alberta than many---I have said many times that there are far more liberals in Alberta than we think there are. I'm convinced that if we, as Liberals, start engaging in more discussions with Albertans, about what Albertans want and hope for---not only as Albertans but also as Canadians---we'll find a lot more common ground than people think.
I would really like to see more Albertans get involved in the leadership contest, and support candidates who actually care about Alberta and Albertans, not just for votes but because of a recognition of Alberta as a great part of Canada---someone who refuses to give up on Alberta (as we have too much in the past) but rather recognizes that there are many Albertans who would consider a Liberal alternative if we offered one to believe in, one to trust. It's time for liberal-minded Albertans to make themselves heard.
4. If you formed government without an MP from Alberta, would you consider appointing a Senator to Cabinet?
No. I was astounded at the hypocrisy showed by Harper, so soon after espousing accountability as a major plank of his platform. Cabinet Ministers should be available for questioning in the House of Commons.
There are other ways to make sure that Albertan voices and views are heard, and more importantly, listened to.
5. How often do you go to Tim Hortons? What did you order the last time you were there?
I have a confession---I really like the soup and sandwiches there, particularly ham and cheese on whole wheat--although I'm liking the Turkey Club these days. Don't forget, we're now traveling the country on our Tour Bus---we're definitely regulars.
But my confession is that I'm a real fan of Continental Dark coffee at Second Cup. [ed note: Now there's a candidate not afraid to say unpopular things!]
6. If you were Prime Minister, Is there anyone in the Conservative Party who you would give a Cabinet Position to, if they agreed to cross the floor?
No. I have long been on record as not supporting floor crossing (without knowing how it would ultimately affect me so personally). I have all respect for MPs who no longer feel comfortable with the party they started with---but we must also show respect for the electorate. All studies show that voters vote first for a party, then for a leader, and only third do they vote for the individual. As such, any individual MP who chooses not to stay with his or her original party should sit as an independent until the next election, at which time s/he can put the choice back to the electorate.
We are in an age of such cynicism and of such skepticism about politicians and their motives---this is the least we should expect.
7. Would you pass legislation banning the Canadian Tire Guy from appearing in any commercials?
I guess one benefit to being so late with this questionnaire is that this decision has already been made -- at least for Canadian Tire ads, anyway.