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Public Inquiry

Name: Martha Hall Findlay

Firm: The General Counsel Group

City: Toronto

Age: 46

Claim to fame: The first declared candidate for the federal Liberal leadership.

Martha Hall Findlay

Q:    What is the last book you read?
A:    Aux Pays des Merveilles, by Andr? Pratte (confession: I'm only about half-way through, but am enjoying it very much).
Q:    Who's the smartest person you know?
A:    All three of my kids ? they've been smarter than I since they were about four (and yes, that's a proud mum talking).
Q:    How do you spend a typical Saturday night?
A:    I don't think I've ever known what a typical Saturday night is.
Q:    If you could run a single company, institution, or organization in the world, which would you choose?
A:    The Liberal Party of Canada.
Q:    What prompted you to throw your name in the hat for the Liberal leadership?
A:    Initially, it was my frustration at us asking Canadians, in the last election in particular, to vote Liberal just because we weren't as bad as the alternatives. That was simply not enough for me. We need to re-affirm what it means to be Liberal, and to affirm what our "liberal" values are. We need to establish a renewed vision for the future of Canada, and then we must offer Canadians not only that vision, but the policies and strategies to get there. In realizing what we needed, I knew that I could contribute significantly to achieving those goals.
Q:    What quality do you admire most in others?
A:    Honesty, in particular honesty of spirit, to others and to oneself.
Q:    What was your first job?
A:    My first answer might have created concern about child labour laws so I'll stick with having been a ski coach when I was 16 or 17.
Q:    What's the funniest thing that has happened to you in your career?
A:    Maybe the funniest (or saddest) thing is that I can't think of anything.
Q:    Whom do you admire most? In what way does that person inspire you?
A:    My mother, who is now 82 and has been an inspiration in many ways ? but mostly because, having gone through tough times, she seized on the positive, and has done more in the 30-plus years since turning 50 than most do in a lifetime. In particular, as an elected official (school board trustee), she has stood up, on principle, but in the face of often very personal criticism, for the rights of others.
Q:    What quality do you admire most in others?
A:    Honesty, in particular honesty of spirit, to others and to oneself.
Q:    What was your first job?
A:    My first answer might have created concern about child labour laws so I'll stick with having been a ski coach when I was 16 or 17.
Q:    What's the funniest thing that has happened to you in your career?
A:    Maybe the funniest (or saddest) thing is that I can't think of anything.
Q:    How do you deal with stress?
A:    Sleep. It's a blessing in disguise, actually.
Q:    What three words best describe your personality?
A:    Engaged, interested, positive (but don't ask my kids or my significant other that same question).
Q:    What area of law do you practise?
A:    Corporate/commercial, primarily in the high-tech and telecom fields, with a significant international component.
Q:    Character in a novel or movie you most relate to?
A:    There was a character in an Alice Munro novel who was a young woman, already with three kids, going to law school. I read that book when I happened to be at law school with three young kids. I wondered at the time if Ms. Munro knew me, but I've never had the chance to ask.
Q:    Is it everything you thought it would be?
A:    For someone who started law school assuming I would not actually practise law, it has been far, far more than I expected.
Q:    What is the greatest accomplishment of your life so far? Is there anything you hope to do that is even better?
A:    Helping three kids get through to their 20s as healthy, happy, responsible and caring people ? and who still say that they love their mother. Now that they are on their way in their own lives, I can concentrate on inspiring Liberals, and ultimately Canadians, to help Canada become an even better country than it is now.
Q:    What do you believe makes a successful life?
A:    That's a huge question, and I believe "success" is very subjective. For me, I enjoy accomplishing things that matter to me, but key is that the process, the time and effort achieving something, is at least as enjoyable as the end itself. But it's all capped by being able to go out in the middle of a moonlit night in the summer for a long, quiet, solo paddle.
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