Former Member of Parliament, Executive Fellow, University of Calgary School of Public Policy, Chief Legal Officer, EnStream LP
Martha Hall Findlay, former Member of Parliament, is an Executive Fellow at the University of Calgary School of Public Policy, and Chief Legal Officer at EnStream, the mobile payments joint venture owned by Bell Mobility, Rogers and TELUS.
Our dad was a lieutenant, and at only 22, was responsible for writing letters to the families of those of his men who were killed in action and who would never return home. Many of them were even younger than he was. It is said that they grew up fast in those awful days of fighting - but "they" were the lucky ones. So many young men were killed -- denied ever being able to grow up at all. On June 6, we walked Juno Beach. We tried to imagine from the few photos and limited film footage what it must have been like, landing that day.
Justin Trudeau, leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, has announced that anyone who wants to be a candidate for the LPC must commit to voting in favour of pro-choice, if and when it comes to proposed measures on abortion. This is a step too far. Ultimately, it must be a truly exceptional situation for one to be willing to allow Party discipline to trump the right of MPs to vote according to their own opinions, particularly on issues of conscience.
Although we got to know each other through politics, my own favourite memory of Jim is entirely personal. Whenever we ended up at the same event, same function -- as soon as we spied each other across the room, he'd smile a big grin, as would I. His eyes would twinkle. Thank you, Jim, for your friendship and your service.
Despite what may be the best of intentions, Justin Trudeau has not reformed the Senate.It's hard to see how turning 32 "Liberal Senators" into 32 "Senate Liberals" (as they are now called) really changes much. The real leadership that Trudeau has shown, which lies in the substance of Trudeau's forward proposals -- the one that truly would reform the Senate into the future -- has barely been mentioned. It's what Justin Trudeau has proposed for the future that would truly change the Senate, it's makeup, and its value to the Canadian people.
The government, seizing an opportunity to capitalize on deep public anti-cell-phone-company sentiment, claims that Canadians needed more competition in the wireless business in order to lower prices and improve service for consumers. But if the problem isn't lack of competition, but lack of transparency and terrible customer service, then expensive ad campaigns are not the answer, nor is artificial, taxpayer-funded, unsustainable interference in the market to force more competition. We need facts, not propaganda.
To lead Canada again, the Liberal Party must prove to Canadians that it, too, is smart, with policies based not on some outdated view of what is "right" or "left" or even some undefined "centre," but on evidence.
And for that, the Liberal Party needs smart and experienced leadership. As a lawyer, I worked on large international transactions. As a senior executive, I managed large teams of people, both in Canada and abroad. As an entrepreneur and business owner, I met plenty of payrolls.
First, the Harper government lied. Before we get to the actual economics, there is a fundamental issue of integrity and keeping promises. Harper, once again, has failed on this score. Harper promised that he wouldn't touch pensions or the OAS, but he did.
After some much-needed sleep, I can now comment on the extraordinary things that happened this weekend at the Liberal Convention. One, the hugely positive buzz of a political party bent on renewal, and the buzz from the results of votes on policy and on people that contributed to that sense of renewal, were amazing.
The vote to include "supporters" and not just members in deciding the next Leader is one I'm proud to say I voted for.
It may still be true that changes to voting structures and constitutional changes may not cause millions of Canadians to beat a path to our door -- but for the people here, the enthusiasm is palpable. And it is the enthusiasm of Liberal activists which will garner the enthusiasm and support for liberalism in Canada.
Last night we heard speeches from various luminaries, including Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, who started the evening off. Among many good lines from the premier's speech, here was my favourite: "To those who would have us merge with another party, get behind us -- we will be moving forward with or without you."
I gave a speech to the gathering of young liberals this morning. It was a great turnout. I stressed the importance of thinking not of "left," nor "right" but the need to go forward. Contrary to some commentary I've seen, this party is very much alive.
We have seen such coordination in times of open war, responses to cross-border aggression, and need for territorial defence. But this was different. Neither Egypt nor Libya was attacking anyone else -- this time it was what they were doing to their own people that prompted international action.
Because economic prosperity is the number one issue for most Canadians, a NDP-Liberal merger would not get the majority of votes. So if there were a merger between the New Democrats and the Liberals, the Conservative party would need only become a bit more progressive on some social and international issues in order to woo voters.