Martha Hall Findlay’s self-inflicted knockout punch

Martha Hall Findlay swings and misses

Martha Hall Findlay apologized this weekend for suggesting Justin Trudeau’s financial situation made it more difficult for him to relate to the concerns of average Canadians.

There are some who believe that I overstepped a line in the Leadership debate yesterday. To Justin, his family and to those who were offended, I apologize. My comments were not meant to be personal, in the sense of being in any way a comment on Justin’s character – indeed, I have the greatest respect for Justin’s passion, enthusiasm and commitment…

When choosing a Leader, it is a person’s record of experience, substance and achievement that are important, regardless of the circumstances into which that person was born.

The idea of the “knockout punch” in political debates is more myth than reality, but this might count. Or at least it could count if you assume that Ms. Hall Findlay had much of a chance of winning before Saturday afternoon. If she did have a chance and if that moment eliminated that chance, it was probably one of history’s first self-inflicted knockout punches (even before Mr. Trudeau responded, the crowd was booing). And so maybe, actually, it was just a plain old gaffe.

(I think I disagree with Alice Funke’s description of the attempted attack as “career-ending.” It’s hard to imagine Ms. Hall Findlay was going to become Liberal leader, but it’s also hard to imagine that this moment would, say, necessarily prevent her from ever again running in Willowdale as the Liberal candidate.)




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Martha Hall Findlay’s self-inflicted knockout punch

  1. emerson – when you strike at a King, you must kill him.

    I think MHF is best Liberal candidate – she’s a proper liberal – but that was half hearted attack on the Dauphin. JT and MHF are friends aren’t they, or they appear to be, and MHF let her friendship blunt attack and now she’s apologizing.

    Trudeau is millionaire, inherited wealth, he’s a member of Canada’s 1% and yet he is charging public schools to give speeches to their students – that’s shocking behaviour. JT is shameless, a millionaire collecting deluxe salary/benefit/ pensions paid for by hard working middle classes and, on top of that, he charges public orgs $$$ to give speeches.

    Why are middle classes expected to finance JT’s lifestyle when he’s a millionaire? It is always the socialists who enrich themselves while claiming to help others. Trudeau is in wrong party, he’s a proper socialist and should be in NDP, while Mulcair seems to be more Liberal. PM Harper will be delighted to have two left wing French opponents next election, frick and frack will appeal to exact same people and Cons will take all other votes.

    • LOL first you claim he’a a millionaire and part of the 1%….and then you claim he’s a socialist!

      Look if you dislike his policies say so….but don’t argue nonsense.

      • We leave arguing nonsense to you.

      • Thomas Sowell – Most people who read The Communist Manifesto probably have no idea that it was written by a couple of young men who had never worked a day in their lives, and who nevertheless spoke boldly in the name of the workers.

        wiki – Friedrich (Frederick) Engels was born on November 28, 1820 in Barmen, Prussia (now Wuppertal, Germany). At the time, Barmen was an expanding industrial metropole and Frederick was the eldest son of a wealthy German cotton manufacturer.

        wiki – Born into a wealthy middle-class family in Trier in the Prussian Rhineland, Marx studied at the University of Bonn and the University of Berlin, where he became interested in the philosophical ideas of the Young Hegelians.

        • Um…you mean the people we educate then turn around and get thoughtful?

          Why how dare they?

        • Adam Smith was some kind of early walmart ceo i do believe. Hayak, shumpeter, Friedman were on the board too eh!

      • ever hear of silk-stocking socialist…don’t have to be poor to be a socialist

        • Liberals aren’t socialists, Dippers are.

          To Cons anyone who tries to help others is automatically a socialist or a communist. The ‘method’ apparently doesn’t matter.

          • Actually con zealots are just completely ignorant of how left/right economic spectrum is defined.

          • LOL and pretty much everything else!

          • Nice straw man, Ron.

          • Emily is a well-known expert on what all conservatives think.

          • Thank you.

          • And she’s incredibly modest and acutely aware of her intellectual limitations.

          • Who are you talking about now?

    • What utter hypocrisy. First, Trudeau made $450k as a motivational speaker before running for Liberal MP. Organizations hired him to bring in the big audiences so they could raise money. He was making money selling a product there was a market for. Free-market conservatives are clearly hypocrites claiming he had no right to do this. When he was elected MP, he cleared his speaking engagements with the ethics commissioner beforehand. He did nothing illegal or unethical. He earned his money just like anyone else.

      Second, it is hypocritical and opportunistic for a conservative to suddenly play the class warfare card when they are usually outraged when “socialists” do the same thing.

      Third, it’s absurd to suggest the middle class shouldn’t pay a politician his salary if he is a millionaire or a billionaire for that matter. Since when do conservatives believe the amount of money a person has should limit the amount of money they can earn?

      Clearly this flip-flopping diatribe puts the “con” into “conservative.”

  2. Lol Martha should study some history… Nearly every major revolution was LEAD by the upper-middle class or a member off… Justin is right, he’s not middle class but he certainly seems to act a bit like he is and place himself with people of differing financial situations. I think that’s what helps him relate to younger voters as well as class divided voters… It’s ridiculous to say that specifically Canada has never been a class society. Social class is a construct made naturally by society…. societies that run on wealth and greed that is. Maybe moving to a classess, stateless society isn’t such a bad thing, Thanks Marx & Engels (200 so years ago and those guys understood that from day one of industrialization, we had/have it all wrong)

    • In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with class divisions. The real issue is class mobility: providing equality of opportunity so one can make it to the middle or upper class. A major problem many countries face today is skyrocketing inequality (and crumbling middle class.) In order to have a functioning economy, all segments of society must benefit from productivity and economic growth. Over the past 30 years, living standards have been downsized for most people, while only the rich have thrived. (An economic tide that only raised the yachts.)

      Democracy and the market economy are the best of all worse alternatives. And that includes plutocracy.

      • Exactly. It’s more ‘social mobility, upward mobility’ that we need….so people have access to the system to make of it what they will.

  3. How interesting there is talk of Canada’s “classless society” right on the heels of news some Senators are abusing their privileges for financial gain. There is a property requirement to become a Senator, not much property by today’s standard ($4000 worth) but an elitist anachronism no one seems likely to change.

  4. Ah, the Liberal leadership, where contenders feel the need to apologize for attacks that might actually have an effect and make the race interesting.

    If the Liberal party members don’t think the Conservatives will come at Trudeau with this type of thing x10 then… well they are just as delusional as they appear.

    Hall-Findlay was doing Trudeau and the party a service by making this kind of attack. If the team around Trudeau is smart, they will have realized it. Trouble is they wont get any practice responding to it or similar attacks, because its out of bounds apparently in this contest. So they’ll be going into the real fight against Harper unprepared… again.

    • MHF did a terrible job asking the question! She didn’t interject it in an authentic and natural way, and instead introduced it by saying she had prepared the question — look, she did it gracelessly and she, having lost her own seat(!), really was never going to win this leadership race anyway. You can’t say you can win the party and the country when you already lost your own community. BTW: I am a Liberal supporter and long admired MHF, but this isn’t her time.

      • You’ll note my comment was not arguing that MHF should be the leader or had a chance to win. It was about how the Liberal party is treating their race in general.

        [edited moments later]

        The type of attack MHF attempted to make is similar in kind to that the Conservatives will use, except:
        1. It will be done much better in multiple formats
        2. It will have legitimacy (wont be coming from someone without a seat)
        3. Wont be the only attack of that nature

        The point being, the Liberals are doing themselves no favours by treating Trudeau with kid gloves.

        • The longer this race goes the less they will use the kid gloves. The attacks have to be sharper and smarter.
          As for your assertion the cons are much more skilled in this regard – you must be joking.
          Pooping puffins, having friendly news networks air footage of Dion’s secret English difficulties, taking passages of MI’s books out of context or inventing context, making HS level attack ads! I’m sure JT is losing sleep over the prospect of facing this crap. The real question is the guy tough enough to weather it, and respond effectively. I think he began to answer those questions in this debate.

    • The Conservatives need to play this hand carefully.
      While Justin surely has made statements that could haunt him, the Harper government must also accept that it has to run on it’s record – and the longer a government holds the reins, the more there is to attack. The days of Adscam free lunches are over.
      JT attack ads could carefully be turned into: all the Conservatives know is to launch negative attack ads – why are they always skirting the real issues? Why all the diversions? All the secrecy? Remember, it just has to be plausible
      Canadians are a funny lot, and if they scent the Conservatives are mimicking negative US Republican tactics, then they will get their backs up.
      It’s really not as simple as you think. One thing Trudeau will bring the Liberals is campaign money – Conservative ads will not go unanswered.
      The Conservatives are vulnerable on a number of flanks, and if Trudeau (should he become leader) manages to ignite some real interest and wake up a sleepy electorate, then the landscape really changes.
      Maybe a Trudeau led Liberal party doesn’t win a government, but if they reduce the Conservatives to a minority, the easy days of unchallenged omnibus bills and limiting debate are over

      • Yes, Harper’s puerile personal attacks can certainly backfire. Trudeau merely has to stand up to the bullying to be seen as leader in the eyes of Canadians. Then he will be the white knight, Harper the black. Harper got a free ride before because Iggy and Dion were foolish enough not to fight back. Rule #1 in defeating “swiftboating”: stand up for yourself, no matter how absurd the attack.

    • She apologized for playing the class warfare card, which was “petty” and pathetic. Garneau wasn’t forced to apologize for any of criticisms he made of Trudeau’s leadership abilities.

      Who’s to say Trudeau won’t be prepared for Harper’s sleazy personal attacks? He seemed prepared enough for what both Garneau and Findlay brought to the table… I think Trudeau realizes playing punching bag like Ignatieff and Dion is not the best way to instill public confidence in one’s ability to lead.

    • Oh i don’t know. I think we learned a couple of things about JT and MHF. First that she isn’t as bright as she thinks she is. Basically she loaded the victim gun for him and handed it over, he dutifully shot her in the head[ it may or may not be fatal to her career] What we leaned about him is he can seize the ball and run with it if you give it too him – he closed. And bonus he did it good humouredly, no real angry theatrics. The kid is learning. Martha showed herself to be an opportunistic [ no surprise in a politician] low balling bungler. At least among liberals that does not sell. [ they prefer the knife in the back mostly]

  5. Martha’s “attack” was surprisingly clumsy — even she seemed awkward making it. I would ask her why she thinks she can win leadership and Canada when she couldn’t even hold onto her own seat.

    • Though I’m no expert, it would seem to me that the resources Martha is drawing upon to fund her leadership bid would be better spent on a campaign to win back her seat. She would likely have a shot at a cabinet post should the Liberals form a government. As it stands now, she will likely lose her leadership bid and will have incurred a great deal of debt in her attempt. Didn’t it take a long time to pay off the debt from her last leadership bid?
      If Martha is genuinely interested in helping the Liberals, she needs to win a seat and become a strong voice in the rebuilding process – something the Liberals surely need.

  6. I’m disappointed that she apologized for making a totally valid point. While Junior’s running around the country painting himself as the saviour of the middle class, someone needs to remind people that he’s never even experienced a middle class lifestyle. And he’d better be prepared for more attacks like it in the future, because the NDP will be labelling him as a 1%er trust fund baby, and everybody knows it. Heck, Harper might be able to sit the next election campaign out and still win with the NDP and LPC cannibalizing each others bases. Canadians might become very confused when the LPC starts running to the left of the NDP, and will more likely decide to vote for the devil they know.

    • I remember when Harper was running around the country painting himself as the saviour of ethical political behaviour, with full transparency and accountability for all.

      • Nobody had mentioned in the last 5 comments or so that Harper is Evil, so I guess it was your turn to do so. Thanks for the reminder.

        • LOL. The comment merely says what Harper promised. Nothing of what he delivered. You projected your own interpretation of Harper’s failure to deliver as “evil”…

          • Oooh Ron, you’re so clever. You better give yourself a big pat on the back for that one. And paste a link to that Economist article about Harper again, I don’t think you’ve pulled that quote out for at least 10 posts, so it’s long overdue.

        • I thought Rick’s : While Junior’s running around the country painting himself as the saviour of the middle class comment made my rebuttal fair game – especially since it is true that Harper did campaign on A&R big time – or had you forgotten that?
          Also, you used to present reasoned, insightful arguments. Now you sound like a one note asshole. What happened?

    • Sure Trudeau is going to run to the left of Mulcair by cheering for resource development and Chinese take overs, and defending the clarity act. Go back to your knitting Omen.

      She had no kind of valid point at all. She was merely playing the class card…badly. He wasn’t talking about class at all.
      And you’re cheering cuz you think it is valid to do that to 1%ers…oh wait! I forgot. Your some kind of conservative aren’t you!

      • I think the Liberals realize (this time around) they are going to have to appeal to moderate conservatives to split the conservative vote and keep Harper away from majority territory.

        It was very frustrating to watch Ignatieff hand Harper the economy on a silver platter last election. The Liberals had done all the work: sound banking regulations (prevented a meltdown,) fiscal responsibility and also the 2009 stimulus package to cushion the blow from the Great Recession (with the help of the NDP.)

        Harper ran ads saying he turned Canada into an “economic star.” But The Economist article he quoted said, “Much of the country’s resilience stems from policies—such as bank regulation and sound public finances—which predate Mr Harper.”

        This time around the Liberals will have to own the economy and hammer Harper on the issue.

        http://www.economist.com/node/16060113

      • Yes, I do think it’s valid to play the class card with 1%ers, when the 1%er in question hasn’t experienced a middle class existence for one second in his life. What in his life would give him any insight into middle class life? Watching it from afar?

        • LOL define ‘middle-class’

          You’ll find that’s exactly the life he’s lived.

        • He chose to work at whatever, and had the luxury of not worrying about how large the pay cheque was. That’s nice for him. But he could have chosen to hang out in Marrakech, smoke dope and eye ball little boys. My point is suddenly you have something against the concept of someone choosing public service, even when they don’t have to. That makes you a conservative minus the principles needed to be a good one.

  7. It’s hysterical watching all the con zealots support Findlay’s blunder in the NP comments. Apparently now they support playing the class warfare card against wealthy politicians. I guess they can add “hypocrisy” to their other virtues of greed and self-interest.

    • More like blind partisanship[ which can get anyone of us if we aren't watchful] and rank stupidity – at least in some cases.

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