Martha Hall Findlay throws another punch

The Liberal leadership race has turned into a political campaign


Apparently undeterred by her clumsy swing on Saturday, Martha Hall Findlay attempts again to land a rhetorical punch on Justin Trudeau.

“The party has to make a decision on far more substantial and fundamental decisions than celebrity,” she said. “There is no such thing as a silver bullet. This is a really big decision and it is absolutely a question of substance and experience. It’s also not about celebrity. Fame is fickle.”

She also struck a conciliatory note towards her 41-year-old rival. “We’re friends,” she said of Trudeau. “I have all sorts of respect for Justin and the celebrity he brings to the party is fantastic, but I wouldn’t be running for the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada if I felt he had enough experience and substance to be a prime minister.”

Marc Garneau is likewise vowing to carry on questioning the frontrunner.

This will probably make some Liberals nervous—direct and most likely futile attacks against the individual who is likely to be the party’s next leader—but it’s also, objectively, a bit silly to criticize a politician for trying to wage a political campaign in pursuit of political office. This is obviously a tricky question for partisans, who would like to say their party staged a viable leadership race, but who would also like the winner to emerge from it unscathed. In 2006, Michael Ignatieff got into it with Stephane Dion during a leadership debate and the Conservatives later used the clip for an attack ad. Such is the stuff of Liberal nightmares. But they might also remember that they managed to make Mr. Ignatieff leader in 2009 without any kind of leadership race and not having to be criticized by anyone who was unlikely to beat him didn’t matter much two years later when he led the party to its worst result in two decades.


Martha Hall Findlay throws another punch

  1. I don’t see anything wrong with MHF’s attacks, except for some clumsiness in the first one. If JT wins, it will because more people voted for him, despite the arguments against him on policy and experience.

    On policy, JT and most other candidates have taken positions on a number of issues. Some have more detailed proposals, but it would be foolish to stick to a detailed plan now and carry it forward into the 2015 election, as if further input did not matter.

    On experience and maturity, JT looks good compared to Harper before he became PM. Harper’s “experience” at NCC and a Masters in Economics didn’t seem to bestow much insight. Harper had wanted to deregulate banks before the crash – what a mess for Canada that would have been! He had wanted to send our troops to Iraq – what a wasted death toll that would been. JT would definitely be an improvement, with better people around him and better decisions.

    Let MHF, Garneau, the pundits and others, attack away and we’ll see how things go for the rest of the race and in the vote.

    • You’re right… Justin Trudeau’s substitute drama teacher work and short political life as a golden boy with a famous last name is pretty much equivalent to Harper’s Masters in Economics and many more years of political experience. Thanks for pointing that out.

        • Wow, Justin briefly taught some social studies and french (substituting again?)… and I thought he was a lightweight… my mistake.

          Harper started in a mailroom for Imperial Oil and then advanced to working on their computer systems. He served 4 years as President of the NCC, and then worked many years with the Reform party, The Canadian Alliance party and then with the re-united PC party. He has run in seven federal elections since 1988 and won the last six. He has led the Conservative party to victory in the last three federal elections, increasing their seat count substantially each time.

          Harper made a name for himself, Justin was born with one.

          Just the facts please

          • No, you’re just trying the attack ad lies again. Stop it.

            Harper worked in the mailroom in his dad’s company…then he tinkered on computers in the 80s….when everybody did. The NCC is a lobby group, and he was head lobbyist. I worked with the Reform/CA party, so no stars for that, sorry.

            Politicians win and lose elections…. it’s not a job. Manning made a name for himself. So did Stock Day.

            You guys that jealous?

          • Please tell me *exactly* what I have said that isn’t true. Please explain where I have used ‘attack ad lies’. I was responding to the comment on experience and Harper’s includes running political parties and winning many elections, which I would think would be the most pertinent experience one can have who wants to run, or continue to run a government.

            Re: his early work “…(Harper) moved to Edmonton, Alberta, where he found work in the mail room at Imperial Oil.[7] Later, he advanced to work on the company’s computer systems.”


            And I agree with you – Manning made a name for himself, and so did Stock Day, and so have most hard-working MPs on both sides of the floor, who’ve tabled bills and taken an active part in Parliament. Not so much for Justin Trudeau, who was born with his famous last name and DNA, but has yet to distinguish himself with his own set of ideas and policies, just one platitude after another.


            Finally, yes the NCC is a lobby group, whose main mission is advocating for smaller government, less taxes, and reduced union power… and this is what Harper, as their president for four years, was “lobbying” for. That’s an excellent resumé entry in my opinion.

          • Not a substitute drama teacher….and just as well qualified as Harper

            Yup, Harper, his dad’s oil company and a Vic 20

            A lobby group is a lobby group….anyone can lobby

            Stop trying to build one leader up by tearing the other down. Enough with the partisan attacks.

            They are what they are…..and there is no need to lie about either.

          • Twice now you’ve said I lied… please point to where I’ve done so.

          • I’ve just done so….twice. Stop it.

          • Okay EmilyOne, if you say so.

          • To be fair, shouldn’t such a comparison be limited to the experience of each man prior to assuming leadership of their respective parties. Harper didn’t come into the role with all those notches in his belt, he gained most of them after becoming leader. The same acquisition of accomplishments eventually might equally happen with Trudeau, were he to win the job.

            Just an application of the facts in an even-handed way, please.

          • Both men will be judged on their ALL of their past experience next election, regardless of their age, as they should be. It won’t be a comparison based on what they did up to Trudeau’s age. Better get used to that idea now.
            Besides, Harper at 53 is hardly an old man either.

          • Harper was little older than Trudeau when he became an opposition party leader in 2002. You seem to think that worked out pretty well for him. Why not for Trudeau, then?

            BTW, I have reservations about Trudeau as the choice for Liberal leader but I don’t think it’s fair to judge him against a guy who was pretty callow himself when he assumed his party’s leadership.

          • And Harper did all that by the age of 41 didn’t he? Stupid to compare the two anyway, they’re just different. If you’d like for instance to stack Harpers resume up against Garneau we could have another comparison game. It’s pointless. Fact is Harper had little real world experience out side of politic at a similar age.
            And stop with the drama teacher bull. He covered for someone on maternity leave – happens all the time.

          • Heh…..anybody’s resume up against Garneau looks pretty anemic.

          • I never said Harper did anything by the age of 41. Just comparing experience of these two men since they will stand as opponents in the next federal election. Jeez, you Liberals are awful touchy about your golden boy aren’t you?

          • I’m neither a Lib nor a Justin supporter….I want the lying and the attack ads to stop. This isn’t about betting on some hockey game, you know….it’s the future of the country we’re talking about. We need to be serious about it.

          • Whatever you say EmilyOne.

          • Implying things as an attack won’t work either.

            The best one can say about you is that you live up to your name.

          • You’re right again EmilyOne.

    • I doubt I’d ever vote liberal, but I do like Justin. He may have money and a famous last name but he’s far from being filthy rich and he appears to be down to earth without the swelled head.
      You do make a point on the proposals, having a plan. The landscape is changing almost weekly these days and considering the next election is still a few years off, any conceivable plan that may sound good today may be a disaster comes election time.
      I’d be interesting to hear him point that out along with stating he has no intention of wasting money and manpower to conceive any concrete plans at this stage of the game.

    • Read my opinion

  2. Her first attack was interesting, because everyone framed it as if she was attacking him for being rich, but actually she was attacking him for pandering to the middle class. Listen to her words again. It’s quite interesting.

    • Because he was rich. What’s the diff? She was trying to put a class label around his neck. It back fired badly with liberals.

  3. They do not need another celebrity as leader especially Boy Wonder. Can you imagine a party that has a guy who has plenty of brains and an astronaut not considered a party celebrity. This party has always leaned to the rich playboy or some dumb academic who has the charisma of a shark. Try a low key person more to the liking of those of voting age.

    • What ‘rich playboy’ was that?

      What is a ‘dumb academic’?

      Harp has no charisma at all….but I laugh at your excuse that he’s a ‘low-key’ person….not exactly what’s needed for the leader of a G8 nation.

  4. The Liberals do not seem capable of learning. The fact that the inexperience of J Trudeau is
    making him the run away leader for party leadership. If they really want to win J.Bieber is a much more popular figure for leader and and equally experienced.
    Why bother with actual suitability as clearly displayed with Dion, Ignatieff and Rae.
    Almost all of the other candidates are better suited.

    • Kinda think you answered your own question here, so why so puzzled?

  5. IMO, the most important asset in the successful candidate will be, not celebrity, but the ability to resuscitate the party. By many credible accounts, the Liberal Party is virtually moribund in many local ridings. The leader will need the ability to reorganize and reinvigorate the party’s infrastructure from top to bottom, in order to raise money, recruit and engage members at the local level, and inspire commitment among a largely indifferent party rank and file across the country.

    That may take a whole lot more than star appeal.

    • True. But the you have ask youself who’s more likely to rebuild – JT or MHF or Garneau? If it was just a matter of experience why throw away Rae? He’s by far the best retail pol the libs have. I’ve ruled Martha out, not simply cuz she’s mean. But because she is doing Garneau’s dirty work for him. She sows he reaps. She’s nowhere near as smart as she thinks she is. To attack JT in such a reckless manner reeks of desperation. It may be wrong to shelter him but she’s just doing him a favour by doing it this way. I almost think she’s been on his team all along.
      Of maybe it’s just a very clever plan on the part of the liberals to test JT but ensure he wins anyway – there never was a race? Oops… Even joking I’m sounding like FV.

      • “But the you have ask youself who’s more likely to rebuild – JT or MHF or Garneau?”

        I have no way of assessing that. IMO, It would depend on their own political networking skills, ability to set up and run an efficient organization, choose key personnel, etc. None of those talents requires celebrity status.

        The Liberals have failed in the past, most recently in the person of Michael Ignatieff, to redeem themselves by anointing saviors.

        I’m just saying that whoever they choose will need, above all else, the ability to build an effective organization. If it’s Trudeau they want, they would be wise to look behind the curtain.

  6. I get she has to attack him. But why do it so poorly?( there is the argument cons will say much worse – so have at it)
    Really… Fame is fickle but we cant afford a celebrity leader. thx for doing a great job being our celebrity whore Justin, just don’t touch anything important. .. By the way I’m your friend. Who needs friends like that, even in the political world?
    I wonder how that might have gone down if the roles were reversed? A guy calling a gal out for being essentially a celebrity airhead? In my book she just jumped out of the frypan.

  7. MHF is absolutely correct, of course. But the backroom Liberal’s who’ve already chosen Junior to lead the party won’t have any of it. She’s simply pointing out, quite obviously, that Junior’s experiences will be compared to those of Mulcair and Harper during the next election. And no, Canadians won’t be comparing Harper’s experience at 41 to Trudeau’s experience today as many Liberals like to try to convince themselves. Why on earth would any right thinking Canadian vote for a guy with next to zero leadership experience and an empty policy playbook, over a guy who’s been PM for almost 10 years, through some rough times, or a guy who’s held provincial cabinet positions and can seriously differentiate himself on the policy front?

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