Friday, July 21, 2006

Tape Delayed Q & A with MHF

Many eons ago, in a simpler and more peaceful time, I sent Martha Hall Findlay a questionnaire, hoping to get her thoughts on a few issues. When it took her a few weeks to get it back to me, she apologized profusely for the delay. That was about 2 or 3 months ago. So needless to say, I guess I need to now apologize profusely to Martha for taking so long in posting her answers.

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.


  • Without question--you're stuck with me.

    I think I love this woman.

    I really, really like her, and hope she places strongly - if not wins.

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 9:33 AM  

  • Does she have a chance? Anyone heard how her numbers are looking?

    By Blogger Hasty, at 12:40 PM  

  • I have to admit, that when I went to Second Cup this morning, I noticed that one of the options on tap today was Continental Dark. So, I decided to give it a try as I don't remember that last time I had it. She's right, it's not bad. Although, it is still not as good as their Rwandan Cup of Hope. That's my favourite brew from Second Cup.

    By Blogger Bailey, at 12:48 PM  

  • Very interesting. I'd also be interested in some of the follow-up questions: does she plan to seek another riding in which to run, if Belinda doesn't abandon the seat? How does she feel about out-of-riding memberships, and "parachuting" of candidates?

    And, regarding floor-crossing: can Independent MPs not be members of Cabinet? What possible advantage is there for the Canadian People to excluding such an MP from caucus meetings?

    By Blogger Paul, at 1:46 PM  

  • hasty; Martha did alright in AB - likely beat Dryden here and should be 8th in the province, I guess. My guess is that she'll be tops among the women, but 9th overall on the first ballot.

    jason; I agree. It'd be great to see Martha do well. Had she only won her seat in 2004, she'd be a serious top 5 candidate this time.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 1:47 PM  

  • CG,

    What do you think about Bill Graham encouring ridings to start nominating candidates over the summer and fall seasons???

    DOn't you think this is reallllllllllllly not a good idea. No policy convention, no leader, no direction of the party.... and Libs are already nominating candidates?

    Now I know not all candidates will be nominated, but this is JUMPING the gun.

    By Blogger Riley Hennessey, at 2:51 PM  

  • Had she only won her seat in 2004, she'd be a serious top 5 candidate this time.

    Dammit Bart, I never considered it, but you are absolutely right here.

    Riley, I'd sort of agree, but I think Graham is probably concerned about a surprise election, I guess, and wants to be prepared??? I don't really know...

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 3:59 PM  

  • Riley; I dunno. I think the talk of a fall election is WAY overblown but there are benefits to early nominations if you have a serious candidate willing to door knock the riding.

    But you're right that it'd generally be better to wait for the new leader. Anything more than 5 or 10 nominations early would be pushing it.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 4:06 PM  

  • Ok I guess you do have a point CG.... but I agree with the 5 or 10 limit...

    I also agree talk of fall election is way overblown.

    By Blogger Riley Hennessey, at 4:13 PM  

  • does she plan to seek another riding in which to run, if Belinda doesn't abandon the seat?

    Paul, MHF moved from the Newmarket-Aurora riding closer to Toronto. I'm not entirely sure what riding she'd be in now but the article in The Star by Carol Goar from Feb. 24th (it's available to read on MHF's website) says that she moved to Toronto. So, I think she has been planning to run in a different riding for awhile. In fact, according to the same article, she wanted to run last election but no seats came available for her to run in.

    By Blogger Bailey, at 4:13 PM  

  • "There are other ways to make sure that Albertan voices and views are heard, and more importantly, listened to."

    As a Harpermaniac, I can take a punch. But doncha think she should articulate those ways. just an insy-winsy bit. a tiny slice of substance????

    okay. sorry. ignore me.

    By Blogger Chuckercanuck, at 4:32 PM  

  • Chucker, don't be a spoilsport. Me digs Martha but plenty, no matter what!


    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 5:06 PM  

  • "but no seats came available"

    Moved closer to Toronto? Hmm. No Liberal incumbents for her to face there :)

    The questions remain regarding out-of-riding memberships (and candidates), and facing off against Liberal incumbents. The suggestion that "no seats became available" suggests that she favours out-of-riding memberships, and parachuting of candidates.

    By Blogger Paul, at 6:24 PM  

  • Martha Hall Findlay rocks. Period.

    By Blogger Jung-Suk Ryu, at 7:35 PM  

  • I was checking on something else and lo and behold, found that CalgaryGrit had put my answers to the quesionnaire up. Great! (I really was sorry to have taken so long in the first place.) Before I forget, if anyone has any questions, you can always send a note directly to the campaign at I don't always get them personally, but our campaign team has a pretty good idea of my position on most things--if something comes up they're not sure of, they ask me.

    But I'll answer the questions about a new riding, about 'parachuting' candidates and out of riding memberships.

    I will run, of course, regardless of the outcome of the leadership race. I do live in Toronto now, but in Don Valley West, which is John Godfrey's riding---and I'm a friend and big fan of John's and have no intention of doing anything other than help him again in his next campaign. So, I am hoping that someone else in the Toronto area decides not to run and that I might be able to. Having given up the Newmarket-Aurora riding, after having put up a darn good fight in 2004 and then having worked the riding the whole following year before Ms. Stronach crossed (to the point where we knew we'd win had an election been called), I don't think it inappropriate for the party to help find an alternative. It's a bit of an unusual case.

    The out of riding membership concept (with a cap of 10%, in Ontario, anyway) was set up primarily to provide flexibility for people who move, which I don't mind. The larger problem that we see in riding 'takeovers' is 'selling' of memberships, which is completely wrong, but which we all know has happened in the past. We have to hold ourselves to our own rules. We can't just talk integrity, we have to walk it.

    As for parachuting, I was asked to run in Newmarket in 2004. Although I'd lived there when my kids were younger, I had moved to Collingwood. I was therefore technically 'parachuted' into Newmarket. It wasn't over anyone else, though, as the person everyone assumed would be the candidate refused to run at the last minute when the sponsorship scandal broke.
    I am on record as supporting the Leader's right to appoint candidates, but that such right be used rarely and judiciously--for example, there have been times when it has been used to good effect in getting more women candidates to run. As in any other endeavour, be it business, sports, NGOs---the leader should have some ability to ensure the best team possible. We like to hold on to this view that a candidate nominated by pure numbers in a riding association is the most democratic. It's a false comfort, however, when we know that a number of ridings are controlled by special interest groups or other 'powers that be', which may not be at all reflective of the riding's population.

    And for any doubters out there about how we're doing: We've come a long, long way in a few short months--our numbers across the country are pretty good, and getting better all the time, particularly among the pre-existing members---imagine what we can do in the four months left to December! Anyone wanting to "get on the bus" and help our campaign? Let us know at or 1-800-544-3793.

    By Blogger Martha Hall Findlay, at 5:13 PM  

  • great topic, keep up the great posts, MMA

    By Blogger Erik Mann, at 11:11 PM  

  • Greets to the webmaster of this wonderful site. Keep working. Thank you.

    By Blogger yo4rker, at 4:09 PM  

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