Martha Hall Findlay confident of Liberal leadership chances
Published Thursday, November 15, 2012 9:16AM EST
Last Updated Thursday, November 15, 2012 9:50AM EST
Martha Hall Findlay says she’s not daunted by political pundits who say the race for the federal Liberal leadership is really just a coronation ceremony for obvious front-runner, Justin Trudeau.
“I wouldn’t be doing it if I didn’t think we could win,” Hall Findlay told CTV’s Canada AM from Calgary Thursday.
Hall Findlay, 53, joined the leadership race Wednesday, the same day the campaign officially began. And while seven other men and women have already declared their candidacy, most agree that Trudeau is the most high-profile candidate with the best chances of winning.
But Hall Findlay says she has skills and experience that Trudeau simply doesn’t have.
“Justin and I bring very different things to the table,” she said. “I have a background in business. I have done a lot of international work. I have been a senior executive with large teams of people both here and abroad. I’ve also run my own businesses successfully.
“So knowing things like how to meet payroll and doing so successfully are very important skills to have.”
She added that the biggest challenges currently facing Canadians are economic challenges. “And I think it’s really important to have somebody who has that background and experience.”
Hall Findlay ran for the Liberal leadership in 2006 before eventually dropping out and throwing her support behind eventual winner Stephane Dion. Dion lasted as Liberal leader for two years before resigning following the party’s dismal results in the 2008 federal election.
Hall Findlay went on to win the Toronto riding of Willowdale in a March 2008 byelection, and was re-elected in the general election later that year. But she lost her seat in 2011 during an election that saw the Liberal seats whittled down to just 34 -- the party’s worst-ever performance as the NDP took over as official Opposition.
Hall Findlay says she would like to run in Willowdale again, although she chose to launch her campaign in Calgary to make the point that the Liberals need to become a national party once again.
This time around, Hall Findlay has brought in Stephen Carter to run her leadership campaign. He successfully steered Naheed Nenshi out of near-obscurity and into the Calgary mayor's chair two years ago. He also ran the leadership and provincial election campaigns for Alberta Premier Alison Redford.
Hall Findlay says she now has a “fantastic team “in Calgary, Toronto and across the country, and says she will bring with her the lessons she learned the last time she ran for the leadership.
“The 2006 campaign was just an extraordinary experience. It was 10 months and it afforded me the opportunity to travel across the country and have conversation with Canadians about their aspirations, their concerns politically, and it was absolutely fantastic,” she said.
“And though I didn’t win in 2006, I really won in every other respect. Everything I learned and all the experiences have all added to what I know I can bring to the table now.”
The others who have formally declared their candidacy for the Liberal leadership are:
- lawyer Deborah Coyne
- retired Canadian Forces Lt.-Col Karen McCrimmon
- prosecutor Alex Burton
- lawyer David Bertschi
- economist Jonathan Mousley
- David Merner, of the party’s B.C. chapter
At least three others are also expected to join the competition:
- Vancouver MP Joyce Murray
- Toronto lawyer George Takach
- Montreal MP Marc Garneau
The Liberal party will pick a new leader in April. There will first be a final "showcase event" for candidates on April 6 in Toronto, which will then kick off a week of voting. The results will be announced April 14 in Ottawa.