A break from the debates

Liberal leadership candidate Martha Hall Findlay makes stop in Cranbrook, Kimberley.

Martha Hall Findlay

Martha Hall Findlay

One of the considered front-running candidates for the Liberal Party of Canada leadership made a whirlwind trip to Cranbrook and Kimberley Sunday.

Martha Hall Findlay, a politician, lawyer and businesswoman, met with supporters and interested members of the public for a luncheon in Cranbrook and supper in Kimberley.

Hall Findlay shared some thoughts on the current leadership race, which features several high-profile candidates, including herself, former astronaut Marc Garneau, and Justin Trudeau. A lot hinges on the outcome of the contest, Hall Findlay said, after a luncheon at the Prestige Inn.

“I firmly believe that at this point in the Liberal Party’s lifetime we don’t have any chances left,” she said.

Though she didn’t cite Trudeau by name, Hall Findlay has made news tangling with the Montreal MP.

“There are no silver bullets, we’ve done the silver bullet thing — and this is not a personal comment, but this cannot be about celebrity, it has to be about substance. It has to be about experience, it has to be about the package of things that somebody brings to the table in order to understand the challenges facing many Canadians.

“I think the fortunes of the Liberal Party will depend on who wins the leadership.”

The fact that the race is generating such publicity and an amount of controversy is a good thing, however.

“It is good to have a profile,” Hall Findlay said. “It’s great that people are starting to pay attention to this. There are nine candidates, all of whom bring great things to the table. That is all good for the party.”

This is Hall Findlay’s second Liberal leadership campaign. She ran in 2006, in a race that Stephane Dion eventually won.

“It’s nice to be a front-runner this time,” she said. “In 2006 I don’t think anyone thought of me that way. But a lot has changed. For me, being elected twice, I’ve held four different senior shadow cabinet portfolios in the intervening time.

“But we’ve also had seven years of a Stephen Harper government, and a lot of the concerns we had seven years ago have proved more than valid. In fact, we have a few others we weren’t expecting — we’re looking at the most unaccountable and least transparent government I think I’ve ever seen.

As her campaign takes across the land, Hall Findlay says the great commonality from region to region is concern for the economy.

“For me the economy is the single biggest issue for most people,” she said. “There are obviously regional concerns — there are specific employment concerns, specific environmental concerns depending on the region. But overwhelmingly people are concerned about the economy. Every Canadian wants a job, every Canadian wants their kids to have a better future than theirs, every Canadian wants to be proud of us as a country.”

Hall Findlay finished up her East Kootenay sojourn with dinner at the Old Bauernhaus in Kimberley.

The candidates have been currently debating each other in a series of forums around the country.

On April 6, 2013, the Liberal Party will hold a “National Showcase” in Toronto, where voting will begin, using preferential ballot. On April 14, the voting will end, and the election result announced.

Also currently in the running for the leadership are: David Bertschi, Martin Cauchon, Deborah Coyne, Marc Garneau, Karen McCrimmon, Joyce Murray, George Takach and Justin Trudeau.