Thursday, July 2, 2009

Why Martha Hall Findlay Will Be Here For the Long term

I must admit I'd never heard of Martha Hall Findlay until the Liberal leadership race that vaulted Stephane Dion to power.

Sadly, his victory meant another sacrifice on the altar of Karl Rove, as Harper started running attack ads as soon as Dion won the title of leader of the opposition.

Capitalizing on the fact that he was struggling with the English language, the Conservatives used what they deemed to be a weakness, to paint a picture of him as a snivelling coward. They even referred to him as 'Mr. Dithers' ... in the House of Commons.

Despite that, nearing the end of the 2008 election campaign, his party was starting to make some gains, especially when he handled himself so well during the debates; until Mike Duffy and Steve Murphy pulled a fast one, using a false start to suggest that the Liberal leader had no plans for the economy.

If they'd bothered to show the rest of the interview, viewers would have been assured that he did, but both men obviously were looking for something from Stephen Harper. Mike Duffy got a Senate seat and Murphy an interview, but both men were also charged with ethics violations. Too little too late.

But back to Martha.

Her speech was first at the convention, and I was immediately drawn to her confidence and intelligence. She had focus and determination, and though a long shot, garnered a lot of attention. I've liked her ever since.

I know from her resume (Wikipedia) that she studied in a French school until the eight grade, then skipped three grades (9, 10 and 11) graduating from high school at the age of 15.

She was a 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. She worked as a waitress, carpenter and ski race coach to help pay for her education; then while completing law school, she co-owned and operated two retail stores, living above the Yonge St. store.

In her current role as critic for Public Works and Government Services, she keeps Conservative Christian Paradis on his toes (it was under his watch that the Queen's silver was sold). But more importantly she questions why Jim Flaherty has the sale of 10 billions dollars of our assets listed in his budget, while Paradis was quoted as saying that this is not the time to sell. He also admitted that he had never received a list of just what Flaherty was auctioning off (was the silver on the list?)

She also once sent me a personal e-mail thanking me for supporting the Party, and I thought that was very nice. It was in response to my offer of an old mining helmet I have with a light on front, to help her find her way when the cold Ottawa air hit the Conservative hot air coming out of Parliament during the December crisis.

I hope she's around for a very long time.

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