Martha Hall Findlay
|Martha Hall Findlay|
|Member of the Canadian Parliament
March 17, 2008 – 2011
|Preceded by||Jim Peterson|
|Succeeded by||Chungsen Leung|
August 17, 1959
|Profession||Businesswoman, Entrepreneur, Lawyer|
Martha Hall Findlay (born August 17, 1959) is a Canadian businesswoman, entrepreneur, lawyer and politician from Toronto, Ontario, currently serving as president and CEO of the Canada West Foundation. Previously, she was elected to the Canadian House of Commons as the Liberal Party of Canada's candidate in the Toronto riding of Willowdale in a federal by-election held on March 17, 2008, to fill a vacancy created by former Liberal MP Jim Peterson's resignation. She was re-elected in the 2008 general election but lost her seat in the 2011 election.
She had previously been the party's candidate for Newmarket—Aurora in the 2004 federal election, losing narrowly to Conservative candidate Belinda Stronach, and the first declared candidate for the Liberal Party leadership election to succeed Paul Martin in 2006. She was also an unsuccessful candidate in the 2013 leadership race.
Early life and career
Born in Toronto, Hall Findlay lived in York Mills, attending the Toronto French School until Grade 8 when she was 13 and her parents separated. She moved with her mother to Thornbury, at the base of the Blue Mountains, east of Owen Sound. She skipped three grades (9, 10 and 11) to enter Grade 12 at Georgian Bay Secondary School in Meaford, and graduated from high school at 15.
Hall Findlay was overall silver medallist in the 1976 Canadian Ski Championship, and was named to the national training squad before retiring from competition to concentrate on her education. She graduated in international relations from the University of Toronto, and in law from Osgoode Hall Law School at York University. Through university, she worked as a waitress, carpenter and ski race coach; while completing law school, she co-owned and operated two retail stores, living above the Yonge St. store.
While in the International Relations Program she married Doug Findlay and, in her second year in 1981, gave birth to her first child, Katie. At Osgoode Hall Law School she had two more children, Everett in '83 and Patrick in '85, receiving her LL.B. in 1987. At the same time her mother went back for her university degree at age 60.
In Hall Findlay's professional career she worked for six years practicing corporate and commercial law at the Toronto offices of international law firm Baker & McKenzie, served as general counsel and executive for Bell Mobility and Mobility Canada, and later served as vice-president and general counsel for The Rider Group. After moving to Collingwood, Ontario in 1996, she founded The General Counsel Group, a legal and management consulting firm working primarily in the high-tech and telecommunications fields in Canada and Europe. In 2007, she joined the law firm of Gowlings Lafleur Henderson LLP as counsel. After losing her seat in the 2011 election Hall Findlay became the Chief Legal Officer at EnStream LP and an Executive Fellow at the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy.
In the 2004 federal election, the presumptive Liberal Party candidate in the riding of Newmarket—Aurora bowed out, not wanting to run for the scandal-plagued Liberal Party. Hall Findlay, still residing in Collingwood, was parachuted into the riding to challenge Conservative candidate Belinda Stronach, a wealthy local executive nationally famous for her candidacy in the Conservative leadership election earlier that year. While Stronach was thought to have a large lead on election night Hall Findlay came within 687 votes of winning the seat. Hall Findlay was dedicated to winning the seat in the next election, she moved to the riding and was acclaimed as the Liberal candidate for the new election. However, on May 17, 2005, Stronach crossed the floor to join the Liberal Party caucus, and Hall Findlay stepped down as the candidate to allow Stronach to run under the Liberal banner. With nominations closed in other Toronto area ridings she was not a candidate in the 2006 election.
2006 Leadership bid
The Liberal Party was defeated in the 2006 election and Paul Martin announced his intentions to step down as leader of the Liberal Party. On February 8, 2006, Hall Findlay became the first declared candidate for the Liberal Party leadership election to succeed Paul Martin. As the lowest profile of the candidates she jokingly referred to herself as "Martha Who Who". Hall Findlay made up for her lack of profile with an ambitious grassroots campaign that also included driving across the country in a motor home, which became known as the "big red bus". She described herself as fiscally conservative, socially progressive and the candidate who could bridge the gap between the Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin factions of the party. Political commentator Chantal Hébert wrote that out of the three women vying for the leadership, former cabinet ministers Carolyn Bennett and Hedy Fry dropped out mid-campaign, Hall Findlay "is the only one who has the necessary language credentials and the presence that front-line politicians are made of." Her two key issues in the race were the environment and health care. She believed that the Kyoto climate change protocol was worth pursuing and favoured private health care, but from a universal, single-tier and publicly funded system. Towards the end of the campaign Hall Findlay was endorsed by York West Member of Parliament Judy Sgro, she was the only member of the Liberal caucus to endorse Hall Findlay's candidacy. Along with Stéphane Dion she also received a newspaper endorsement from the Toronto Sun. Hall Findlay finished last on the first ballot with 2.7% of the vote and threw her support behind eventual winner Dion.
On December 18, 2006, Dion appointed Hall Findlay as the party's platform outreach chair. In her role she traveled across the country engaging Canadians on ideas for the party's election platform.
Hall Findlay was appointed as the Liberal candidate in the Toronto riding of Willowdale by Dion in 2007, after Liberal MP Jim Peterson announced he would not seek re-election. Willowdale was considered to be one of the Liberal Party's safest seats in the country and Hall Findlay's victory was almost guaranteed. Only months after announcing he would not seek re-election Peterson resigned from parliament, leading to a by-election to be held on March 17, 2008. Findlay faced Conservative candidate Maureen Harquail, NDP candidate Rini Ghosh, and Green Party candidate Lou Carcasole. On by-election night, Hall Findlay won nearly 60 per cent of the popular vote. Later that year she was re-elected in the general election, though her share of the popular vote fell below 49 per cent.
Dion resigned as Liberal leader in October 2008, following the party's poor showing the general election weeks prior. Hall Findlay was mentioned as a potential candidate for the leadership of the party, but announced in November that she would not be seeking the leadership. Outstanding debt from her leadership bid, as well as from the by-election and general election factored into her reason for not seeking the leadership. In December 2008 leadership candidates Dominic LeBlanc and Bob Rae dropped out of the race and Michael Ignatieff was acclaimed as party leader. Under Dion and Ignatieff she held several important Critic positions in the Official Opposition: Associate Finance; Transport, Infrastructure and Communities; Public Works and Government Services, and International Trade. With the Liberal Party finishing behind the Conservatives and NDP for the first time in the 2011 federal election Hall Findlay was narrowly defeated in her own riding by Conservative Chungsen Leung.
2013 leadership bid
Ignatieff resigned as leader following the party's showing in the 2011 election. Despite her defeat in that election Hall Findlay made no secret of her interest in seeking the leadership of the party in the 2013 leadership race. However, with outstanding debt from her 2006 leadership bid Hall Findlay stated that she would not run for leader until that debt was paid off. In October 2012, she announced that she had paid off the remainder of the debt and on November 14, 2012, she announced her candidacy for the leadership of the Liberal Party. While Justin Trudeau was widely viewed as the frontrunner in the race Hall Findlay was considered among the top-tier of candidates. On April 14, 2013, she lost the leadership election to Montreal MP Justin Trudeau.
As an Executive Fellow with the School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary, Hall Findlay released a paper calling for the abolishment of supply management in Canada's agriculture sector. At the launch of her leadership bid she stated that with the exception of some politicians and dairy farmers the reaction to her proposal to abolish supply management had been overwhelmingly positive. Hall Findlay also announced she would be releasing policy papers every few weeks of the five month race, her first policy proposal called for a national energy strategy for energy infrastructure.
According to Elections Canada in the fourth quarter of 2012 Hall Findlay's campaign brought in $149,877.45 in donations, originally believed to be second only to Justin Trudeau who brought in $673,156.53. However, a discrepancy involving money raised to pay off her leadership debt from the 2006 races appears to have slid her into third behind Marc Garneau. Hall Findlay's campaign was managed by Stephen Carter, who managed the Calgary Mayoral campaign of Naheed Nenshi and the Alberta PC campaign under leader Alison Redford. 
After her 2011 election loss, Hall Findlay moved to Calgary where she became an Executive Fellow with the School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary. From 2011 to 2016, she was also the Chief Legal Officer at EnStream. In September 2016, Hall Findlay was named President and CEO of the Canada West Foundation think tank.
Hall Findlay has served as an executive of the Alberta radio network CKUA, the Couchiching Institute on Public Affairs, and the Georgian Bay Association. She is a past president of the Pointe au Baril Islanders' Association and the Georgian Peaks Club, and an active member of the York Region Community Foundation.
|Canadian federal election, 2011|
|Liberal||Martha Hall Findlay||21,245||39.9||-8.8|
|New Democratic||Mehdi Mollahasani||9,780||18.4||+8.2|
|Total valid votes/Expense limit||53,259||100.0|
|Total rejected ballots||295||0.6||+0.2|
|Canadian federal election, 2008|
|Liberal||Martha Hall Findlay||23,889||48.7||−10.6||$47,844.17|
|New Democratic||Susan Wallace||5,011||10.2||+5.4||$8,175.95|
|Progressive Canadian||Bahman Roudgarnia||864||1.8||–||$4,500|
|Total valid votes/Expense limit||49,085||100.0||$94,573.51|
|Total rejected ballots||203||0.4|
|By-election on March 17, 2008|
|Liberal||Martha Hall Findlay||13,524||59.3||+7.1|
|New Democratic||Rini Ghosh||1,084||4.8||-16.2|
|Total valid votes||22,797||100.0||$|
|Canadian federal election, 2004: Newmarket—Aurora|
|Liberal||Martha Hall Findlay||21,129||41.08||−9.48|
|New Democratic||Ed Chudak||5,111||9.93||+6.18|
|Progressive Canadian||Dorian Baxter||1,079||2.10||–|
|Total valid votes||51,435||100.00||–|
|Change is from redistributed 2000 results. Conservative change is from the total of Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservative votes.|
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- Hall Findlay, Martha (21 June 2012). "Politicians need courage to dismantle supply management". Globe and Mail. Retrieved 30 November 2012.
- "Supply Management: Problems, Politics and Possibilities". The School of Public Policy. Retrieved 30 November 2012.
- Hall Findlay, Martha (30 November 2012). "Martha Hall Findlay: We need a national strategy for energy infrastructure". Globe and Mail. Retrieved 30 November 2012.
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