Second Thots

Sometimes one has to step back, take pause, and have some "second thots"

Thursday, March 15, 2007


Does the Liberal party have a problem with women?

For a party that looks like it's trying to fight for the cause of women in Parliament, you have to wonder if in fact federal Liberals have a problem with women running for their party. How else to explain:

a) The sole female leadership finalist finishing dead last at the convention, despite being widely regarded as one of the most impressive candidates.

b) The same person being protected from a democratic fight in her own riding.

Bob Rae and Gerard Kennedy, both leadership rivals of Hall Findlay's, both have to run for the nomination in their selected ridings. Why is Hall Findlay being protected from that same democratic challenge? Don't the members in her riding like her? Don't the members in her riding like the idea of sending a woman to Ottawa?

Simply stated, does the Liberal membership not like females running for their party? Why else would Dion protect women from his own membership like this? How else to explain female leadership hopefuls being almost completely ignored by the same membership?

For an organization that likes to bill itself as a champion for equality in Canada, the Stephane Dion Liberals are sure bending over backwards to make certain that an equal fight is not what women face in their own party. I find that interesting, to say the least.

Martha Hall-Findlay ran with distinction as a Liberal in Newmarket-Aurora, and came within a whisker of defeating Conservative star candidate Belinda Stronach in the 2004 election. Comparing the two women is like comparing a dog to a tiger.

In the 2006 election Martha stood down for Belinda the 'new' Liberal because she couldn't challenge a Liberal minister for the riding. So Martha bled for the Liberal party as she watched from the sidelines as she reorganized her life.

Now, Belinda says she will again run in Newmarket-Aurora, leaving Martha in no-woman's land. Given that Martha is a major player on Dion's Dream Team and a woman to boot, she probably told the Liberal party that if she is subjected to a nomination race she will not run as a Liberal, and I can't blame her for that considering that Belinda refused to run for the Liberal leadership as she fully intended until she realized that she couldn't win in a brokered convention.

Martha deserves to be appointed to the Willowdale riding, and any perceived injustice should fall entirely on the Liberal party and it's sordid love affair with Belinda Stronach -- who is protected in her riding as well, and undeservedly so.


If it's true that Hall Findlay demanded an appointment to the nomination for the riding, then I may have lost all respect for her.

Given that it's speculation, however, I won't assume it's how it played out.

Bob Rae is contesting a nomination. Gerard Kennedy is contesting a nomination. Even Justin Trudeau is contesting a nomination. I don't know why in the world Martha Hall Findlay can't, especially is she's as formidable a politician as is commonly assumed.

Appointing her truly baffles me. It makes it appear as though Dion is protecting female candidates from the party's own members and democratic process.


By the way, my suspicion is that Dion made this appointment of Findlay as an example of his policy regarding female candidates. If he's going to meet his quota, he's going to need to make a lot of appointments like this.

This is one promise Dion is probably going to regret making.


There are two women nominees in Edmonton ridings (Centre & Strathcona) that weren't parachuted, they are having to fight the battle. IF either of them wins the nomination, it will be interesting to see if Dion schlepps out here to help them out in an election (although him showing up may not be much help, it's difficult to say).


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