Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Second time lucky? Hall Findlay enters Liberal leadership race

Former MP Martha Hall Findlay has formally announced in Calgary she’s entering the federal Liberal leadership campaign. This is the second time since entering politics as a candidate in the 2004 federal election for the Ontario riding of Newmarket-Aurora, that Ms. Hall Finlay, 53, has sought to lead the federal Grits.

Here’s the text of her launch speech.

Interestingly, the former high-profile Liberal MP chose to make her announcement in the heart of true-blue Tory country and not in her old riding that she lost in 2011 to Conservative MP Chungsen Leung. She’s also chosen Stephen Carter to run her campaign. He’s credited with leading the successful leadership and provincial election campaigns of Alberta Progressive Conservative Premier Alison Redford.

Hall Finlay has had an up-and-down political career: she lost the Newmarket-Aurora riding in the 2004 election to Conservative Belinda Stronach; she was eliminated after the first ballot of the 2006 leadership race and threw her support behind the ineffective Stéphane Dion; she won the riding of Willowdale in a federal by-election in 2008 and was re-elected in the general election later that year, but lost her seat in the 2011 vote.

She joins MP Justin Trudeau, lawyer Deborah Coyne, Vancouver Crown prosecutor Alex Burton, Ottawa lawyer David Bertschi and former B.C. Liberal party president David Merner in a contest that will conclude in April 2013.

Frankly, I don’t think Hall Finlay has much of a chance. To begin with, she has not demonstrated a solid record of winning elections. Moreover, she’s tied closely to Dion’s losing campaign platform in the 2008 general election—Hall Finlay was the party’s platform outreach chair. And, finally, she lacks gravitas.

Oh, she’s well educated and seems like a very nice person, but I don’t see her taking hold of the Liberal caucus. Nor do I see her chairing a G8 meeting or representing Canada at other international conferences.

I must say, though, I was more than a little impressed with Hall Findlay’s research paper calling for the dismantling of Canada’s supply management, something I’d call a rare bit of Canada-first positioning by a politician. Here’s the National Post’s John Ivison’s take on Hall Finlay’s paper:

As Martha Hall Findlay reeled off the reasons why Canada’s supply management system should be dismantled, you could almost hear time’s winged chariot changing gears in the background. The former Liberal MP’s research paper, which landed in the week the Harper government joined the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks, has the potential to change everything.

“Written for Jack Mintz’s School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary, it is the latest to lay out the irrefutable case for consigning the supply management of dairy, poultry and eggs to history.”

It has to be said too that others—to their regret—have underestimated this former ski racer. She’s got pluck enough, though I fear that may not be enough to win.


  1. She also owes thousands of dollars from her last failed leadership campaign. Elections Canada seems to allow liberals to ignore the law when it suits them. This might just be a ploy to extend her debt repayment window.

  2. Don't matter much who enters the race I suppose. Hairdue Trudeau is gonna win by a landslide. And he'll be the next PM also like it or not. We'll at least the PM for eastern Canada and quebec.

  3. I,too, have researched Hall-Findlay's career,and would much rather see her as LPC leader than Justin Trudeau. The woman has accomplished much in every arena but politics,and wasn't born a "fortunate" daughter.

    Her position paper on supply management makes her an even more desirable candidate,as no one in politics seems to want to tackle THAT sacred cow.

    You're probably right though, the old boys network wants a cute "name", and Trudeau fits their bill.

  4. Further to Mark's comment -- did Hall-Findlay pay a penalty to Elelctions Canada though? She and other Lib leadership candidates missed many payment "deadlines" which Elections Canada had set. In summer last we heard was she and other Liberal ladership candidates from '06 were negotiating with Elections Canada.
    What's "the rest of the story" on how that played out?