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Martha Hall Findlay 

Findlay in the Canadian House of Commons

Assumed office 
March 31, 2008
Preceded by Jim Peterson

Born August 17, 1959 (1959-08-17) (age 50)
Political party Liberal
Residence Toronto, Ontario
Profession Businesswoman, Lawyer

Martha Hall Findlay (born August 17, 1959) is a Canadian lawyer, businesswoman and politician. She was elected to the Canadian House of Commons as the Liberal Party of Canada's candidate in the Toronto riding of Willowdale in a federal by-election held on March 17, 2008 to fill a vacancy created by former Liberal MP Jim Peterson's resignation. She was reelected in the 2008 general election.

She was previously the party's candidate for Newmarket—Aurora in the 2004 federal election, losing narrowly to Conservative candidate Belinda Stronach, and the first declared candidate for the Liberal Party leadership convention to succeed Paul Martin in 2006.


Early life and career

Born in Toronto, Hall Findlay lived in York Mills, attending Toronto French School until Grade 8 when she was 13 and her parents separated. She moved with her mother to Thornbury, at the base of the Blue Mountains, east of Owen Sound. She skipped three grades (9, 10 and 11) to enter Grade 12 at Meaford High School, and graduated from high school at 15.

Hall Findlay was overall 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. Through university, she worked as a waitress, carpenter and ski race coach; while completing law school, she co-owned and operated two retail stores, living above the Yonge St. store.

While in the International Relations Program she married Doug Findlay and, in her second year in 1981, gave birth to her first child, Katie. At Osgoode Hall Law School, she had two more children, Everett in '83 and Patrick in '85, receiving her LL.B. in 1987. At the same time her mother went back for her university degree at age 60.

In Hall Findlay's professional career she worked for six years practicing corporate and commercial law at the Toronto offices of international law firm Baker & McKenzie, served as general counsel and executive for Bell Mobility and Mobility Canada, and later served as vice-president and general counsel for The Rider Group. After moving to Collingwood, Ontario in 1996, she founded The General Counsel Group, a legal and management consulting firm working primarily in the high-tech and telecommunications fields in Canada and Europe.

In 2007, she joined the law firm of Gowlings Lafleur Henderson LLP as counsel.

Political aspirant

In the 2004 federal election, the presumptive Liberal Party candidate in the Newmarket—Aurora riding bowed out, not wanting to run against Conservative candidate Belinda Stronach, a wealthy local executive nationally famous for her candidacy in the federal Conservative leadership election earlier that year. Hall Findlay, still residing in Collingwood, was parachuted into the riding at a relatively late date. She came within 689 votes of defeating Stronach.

Hoping to defeat Stronach in the next election, Hall Findlay moved to Newmarket—Aurora and became active in the Liberal party and the local community.

On May 17, 2005, Stronach crossed the floor to join the Liberal Party caucus, and Hall Findlay, who had already been nominated as the Liberal candidate, stepped down from this post to allow Stronach to run under the Liberal banner. In December 2005, she moved to Toronto 2006 election and assisted in the successful Toronto campaigns of Michael Ignatieff, John Godfrey and Carolyn Bennett.


Leadership bid

Martha Hall Findlay's Big Red Bus.
Martha Hall Findlay on the morning of the last day of the Liberal Leadership race, having just endorsed Dion.

On February 8, 2006, Hall Findlay became the first declared candidate for the Liberal Party leadership convention to succeed Paul Martin. During the convention she was eliminated from the first ballot, and threw her support behind the eventual winner Stéphane Dion. Her support was more influential than simply her number of delegates, due to her status as the only remaining woman in the race, and a perception that she represented a growing liberal grassroots. She was also one of only two candidates, along with Dion, to gain significantly more support percentage-wise on that ballot than she had in committed delegates going into the convention.

On December 18, 2006, Hall Findlay became the party's platform outreach chair, appointed by Stéphane Dion to travel across the country engaging Canadians on ideas for the upcoming electoral platform.

Willowdale by-election

She was appointed the Liberal candidate in Willowdale for the next federal election by Stéphane Dion,[1] following the retirement of Jim Peterson.[2] However a by-election was called before the 2008 federal election. Findlay a star candidate, faced Conservative lawyer Maureen Harquail, NDP candidate Rini Ghosh, and Green candidate Lou Carcasole. On by-election night, Hall Findlay garnered nearly 60% of the vote.

Community involvement

Hall Findlay has served as an executive of the Alberta radio network CKUA, the Couchiching Institute on Public Affairs, and the Georgian Bay Association. She is a past president of the Pointe au Baril Islanders' Association and the Georgian Peaks Club, and an active member of the York Region Community Foundation.

Electoral record

Running for re-election in Willowdale

Canadian federal election, 2008
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
     Liberal Martha Hall Findlay 23,889 48.7% -10.6% $47,844
     Conservative Jake Karns 15,931 32.5% +2.4% $75,480
     New Democrat Susan Wallace 5,011 10.2% +5.4% $8,176
     Green Lou Carcasole 3,130 6.4% +0.6% $4,271
Progressive Canadian Bahman Roudgarnia 864 1.8% $4,500
     Independent Bernadette Michael 260 0.5% $422

Willowdale by-election

By-election on March 17, 2008
Party Candidate Votes %
     Liberal Martha Hall Findlay 13,524 59.3
     Conservative Maureen Harquail 6,864 30.1
     Green Lou Carcasole 1,325 5.8
     New Democrat Rini Ghosh 1,084 4.8

Running in Newmarket—Aurora

Canadian federal election, 2004
Party Candidate Votes %
     Conservative Belinda Stronach 21,818 42.42%
     Liberal Martha Hall Findlay 21,129 41.08%
     New Democrat Ed Chudak 5,111 9.93%
     Green Daryl Wyatt 2,298 4.47%
Progressive Canadian Dorian Baxter 1,079 2.10%


External links


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