SMART, STRONG, AND COURAGEOUS Leadership for Canada
Martha Biography in Brief
Martha Hall Findlay is a successful lawyer, businesswoman and entrepreneur with experience in small businesses and major multi-national corporations. She is currently the Chief Legal Officer at EnStream LP and Executive Fellow at the School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary. She is the former Liberal MP for Willowdale and has held Official Opposition Critic roles for International Trade; Associate Finance; Transport, Infrastructure & Communities, and Public Works & Government Services. Martha believes that Canada must have intelligent government, acting to achieve real solutions that are not based on ideology or domestic political advantage. To lead Canada again, the Liberal Party must prove to Canadians that it, too, is smart, with policies based on facts and based on an understanding of economics, global markets, investment – and people.
Martha is the proud mother of 3 grown children and has lived in urban and rural communities in Ontario, Alberta, and Europe. She is a graduate of the University of Toronto (International Relations) and Osgoode Hall Law School (LL.B.). She is also fully bilingual in French and English and has training in several other languages. Martha accelerated three grades at school, finishing high school at 15 while skiing competitively. She was overall silver medalist in the Canadian Championships in 1976 and was named to the Canadian National Training Squad before retiring to pursue her formal education.
Martha has served as Director and Executive for various community organizations, including The Couchiching Institute on Public Affairs, CKUA Radio in Alberta and the Georgian Bay Association.
Martha’s Biography in Detail
- Martha is the former Liberal Member of Parliament for Willowdale.
- During her tenure she held several shadow cabinet positions, most recently as Official Opposition Critic for International Trade. Prior responsibilities included Associate Finance; Transport, Infrastructure and Communities; and Public Works and Government Services.
- In 2006, Martha was a candidate for the Leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada. Her campaign was highly praised for substance and intelligence, and her travels across the country in the “Big Red Bus” became a symbol of energy, renewal, and grassroots engagement in the Party.
- In 2007, as Platform Outreach Chair for the Liberal Party of Canada, Martha again crossed the country, consulting with Canadians on the key issues facing us all.
- In 2004, Martha was the Liberal candidate for Newmarket-Aurora against then-Conservative Belinda Stronach. In the spring of 2005, Martha was acclaimed once again as the Liberal candidate for Newmarket-Aurora, but stepped aside when Ms. Stronach crossed the floor of the House of Commons to become a Liberal.
- Martha is a member of Equal Voice, a multi-partisan organization dedicated to increasing the number of women in politics. Martha also served as the Vice President, Policy, for the Ontario Women’s Liberal Commission in 2005-2006.
LEGAL AND BUSINESS CAREER
- Martha is a successful, well-respected lawyer, businesswoman, and entrepreneur, with extensive experience with both large and small business.
- Currently, she is the Chief Legal Officer at EnStream LP and Executive Fellow at the School of Public Policy, University of Calgary.
- Martha is an ICD.D Graduate from the Institute of Corporate Directors / Rotman School of Management Directors Education Program.
- Prior to her election in 2008 she was counsel to the national firm of Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP.
- She is the founder and principal of The General Counsel Group, management and legal consultants since 1997; before entering politics, she worked primarily in high-tech and telecommunications, in both Canada and Europe, including serving as General Manager of Mobility Canada and Chief Legal and Regulatory Advisor to Český Mobil a.s. (a major cellular company in the Czech Republic).
- Prior to forming The General Counsel Group, Martha was the Vice President, Corporate Development and General Counsel of The Rider Group; General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for Mobility Canada; Corporate Counsel for Bell Mobility; and lawyer with the international law firm of Baker & McKenzie (in Toronto), practising international corporate and commercial law.
- Martha also co-owned and operated two retail stores while completing law school.
- Martha graduated from the University of Toronto’s International Relations Programme and then from Osgoode Hall Law School.
PERSONAL AND COMMUNITY
- Martha is 53, with three grown children, Katie, 31, Everett, 29, and Patrick, 27.
- She is bilingual in English and French, with training in several other languages, including Russian, Italian and Spanish.
- Martha accelerated three grades at school, finishing high school at 15.
- At the same time, she was skiing competitively, and was overall silver medalist in the Canadian Championships in 1976. She was named to the Canadian National Training Squad before retiring to pursue her formal education.
- She supported herself through university working as a waitress, in construction (primarily as a carpenter), and coaching young ski racers.
- Martha is a strong supporter of research, development and commercialization of new, alternative energy technologies; she has been, proudly, a solar power user for over 15 years.
- Martha has lived in both urban and rural communities in Ontario and Alberta. She also lived in The Czech Republic for most of 2000. These experiences, extensive travels throughout Canada, and living and working internationally, have helped Martha appreciate what a wonderful country we have and, indeed, led to her decision to participate in Canadian public life.
- In addition to her legal and business background, Martha has extensive non-profit and volunteer community experience. She has served as a Director and Executive (including in some cases as President) for various community, ratepayer, and environmental organizations, including The Couchiching Institute on Public Affairs, CKUA Radio in Alberta and the Georgian Bay Association.
- Martha recently re-joined the Board of the Couchiching Institute and was named Chair of the 2012 Couchiching Conference.
- Martha is a member of the Advisory Board of the Canadian Centre for Responsibility to Protect (CCR2P) at UofT’s Munk School of Global Affairs (http://ccr2p.org)
- Martha’s other policy work has focused on areas such as corporate governance of non-profit organizations and water issues, in particular with regard to the Great Lakes.