Martha Hall Findlay

About Martha Hall Findlay, Member of Parliament / Députée - Willowdale

 

Why are Canadians so apathetic when it comes to Politics and what can we do to change this?

January 21, 2010

“Canadians have become steadily less engaged in the political process and more cynical about politics in general,” claims Martha Hall Findlay. She will question why this is the case. “ Policy, and the need to tackle real issues facing Canada, has succumbed to the deteriorating conduct of politics and the 10-second sound bite world we now live in.” Martha believes strongly that democracy only really works when people are interested, engaged and armed with the ability to make informed choices. She will offer some thoughts on why things have deteriorated, what is missing, and how we can improve.

Martha Hall Findlay ran for the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada in 2006. Her 10-month campaign was highly praised for her travels across the country in the “Big Red Bus”, which became a symbol of energy, renewal, and grassroots engagement in the party. Her efforts, and the strong relationships she built nationwide, resulted in her appointment as Platform Outreach Chair for the Liberal Party of Canada in 2006.


Bio

Martha Hall Findlay is the now-twice-elected Member of Parliament for Willowdale, and the Official Opposition Critic for Public Works and Government Services. She is a member of the Standing House Committee on Government Operations, an Associate Member of the Finance Committee, and a member of the Leader’s Advisory Committee on Economic Strategy. She has previously held the posts of Associate Finance Critic, and Critic for Transport, Infrastructure and Communities.

Martha ran for the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada in 2006. Her 10 month campaign was highly praised for her travels across the country in the “Big Red Bus”, which became a symbol of energy, renewal, and grassroots engagement in the party. Her efforts, and the strong relationships she built nationwide, resulted in her appointment as Platform Outreach Chair for the Liberal Party of Canada in 2006.

A graduate of the University of Toronto’s International Relations Programme and of Osgoode Hall Law School, Ms. Hall Findlay is a well-respected lawyer, businesswoman and entrepreneur. She has extensive international education, experience and work background. Most recently, prior to her election, she was Counsel at the national law firm of Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP. Before that, she had founded The General Counsel Group, a successful management and legal consulting firm, focussed on the high tech and telecommunications fields, in both Canada and Europe. Before starting her own business, Martha was Corporate Counsel with Bell Mobility, General Counsel to Mobility Canada, and Vice President, Corporate Development with The Rider Group. She initially practised domestic and international business law with the multinational law firm of Baker & McKenzie.

Martha accelerated three years at school, finishing high school at 15. She was at the same time actively involved in ski racing, becoming overall silver medallist in the Canadian Championships in 1976—she was named to the Canadian National Ski Training Squad before retiring and pursuing her formal education. She supported herself throughout university working as a waitress, in construction (primarily as a carpenter), and coaching young ski racers. During law school, while at the same time as producing sons Everett and Patrick, (Katie, the eldest, was born during Martha’s undergraduate years), Martha co-owned and operated two retail stores.

Martha is bilingual, speaking English and French, with training in several other languages, including Russian, Italian and Spanish. Martha also has extensive non-profit and volunteer experience, having served as a Director and Executive with various community organizations and ratepayer associations, including CKUA Radio in Alberta, the Couchiching Institute on Public Affairs and the Georgian Bay Association. She is also an active member of Equal Voice, a multi-partisan organization dedicated to electing more women into politics.

Martha is 49, with three grown children, Katie, 27, Everett, 25, and Patrick, 23.