Martha Hall Findlay: Class denialist

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The Analyst The Analyst's picture
Martha Hall Findlay: Class denialist

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cxp7NOCN8WQ

Honestly, I don't really care about the "supply management" controversy - but her opposition to talking about the very real matter of social class is attrocious. MHF seems to represent the worse in "class blind", limousine Liberalism imaginable. 

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Debater

The consensus among Liberal Party members and journalists covering the debate today was that Martha Hall Findlay may have taken herself out of the running with her bizarre rant at Justin Trudeau and the others about the middle class.

Journalists from Kady O'Malley to John Geddes to Andrew Coyne ripped her apart.  As did many Liberals from Warren Kinsella to Penny Collenette.  Twitter was not a pretty sight for her this afternoon.

autoworker autoworker's picture

This is the Liberal version of Canadian Idol, where everyone, who wants to, gets to vote for who they believe will become the people's choice. Once they've bought into their winning candidate (guess who), they're on the bandwagon for next election. What makes a better magazine cover than the personification of the popular will? Only Prince Harry, if he were available, might eclipse le Dauphin at this point. The die has been cast. It's written in the stars. Canada is on the cusp of a new age in national politics, whereby The Economist will find us 'cool' once again! Don't bother to resist-- it's futile.

Michelle

The hilarious thing is that MHF is just putting into words the attitude of the whole Liberal Party.  If anything, she's the one being true to Liberal Party "principles".  She's asking Trudeau why he's bothering to talk about class when the Liberal Party isn't about class analysis - and she's right!

Finally, a Liberal who refuses to pretend she's a lefty like so many others do when they're campaigning.  It's funny to listen to Liberals talk about class when they're campaigning as if they're on the side of the working class (or, in their more palatable terms, the "middle class"), and then when they get into power, showing their real faces and waging class war AGAINST the working class.

Nice to see a Liberal who finally tells the truth about what the party is.  I think she'd make a great leader of the Liberal Party.

lagatta

The term "middle class", as applied to ordinary working peple, makes me want to scream. My gripe is not with its use by the Libs, but by the NDP...

At least Trudeau was sort-of-honest, though personally I think he's playing down his patrimony. There is a lot of money and property on both sides of his family. It is so funny thinking of him representing Papineau, one of the poorest ridings in Canada. I see according to Wiki that it actually did have the lowest family income in Canada; it is also the smallest riding.

My old friend André Frappier was NDP candidate there in 2004, now he is interim president of Québec solidaire.

Sineed

Michelle makes a good point about Liberal hypocrisy, their propensity for campaigning from the left and governing from the right. But really, what that exchange shows is how completely clueless MHF is about political strategy. Whatever you think of Trudeau fils - there's somebody around here who calls him "Canada's Kardashian," lol - he's going to be eminently well-prepared for attacks on his background. He would have got talking points from Pierre. And it shows. MHF got her ass handed to her, and she should have known better. 

Maybe if instead she'd asked something like, how would you, as Liberal leader, propose to improve the lives of people in the poorest regions of the country, such as in Papineau, M. Trudeau? She would have made the point about the irony of the silver spoon boy leading a poor riding without the clumsey ad hominem attack.

Stockholm

Debater wrote:

The consensus among Liberal Party members and journalists covering the debate today was that Martha Hall Findlay may have taken herself out of the running with her bizarre rant at Justin Trudeau and the others about the middle class.

Journalists from Kady O'Malley to John Geddes to Andrew Coyne ripped her apart.  As did many Liberals from Warren Kinsella to Penny Collenette.  Twitter was not a pretty sight for her this afternoon.

You're implying that she was ever in the running in the first place. MHF has never been a serious candidate was probably headed for a low single digit result even before her weird outburst. I wouldn't be surprised if after she gets crushed again she pops up as a Conservative candidate in the next election.

TheArchitect

Clearly, Martha Hall Findlay's attack on Trudeau was an unmitigated disaster for her.  Part of it, I think, was the blatant internal contradiction implicit in her own remark: on the one hand, she was going to attack Justin Trudeau for being from a particular class background, and on the other hand, she was going to attack him for talking about class (and thus implicitly attack herself for talking about just seconds before).

I think it's reasonable for us to have a conversation about the use of the term "middle class" in politics today.  It's a term that's been used extensively in U.S. politics for many, many years, and which more recently seems to have entered the discourse of all three major Canadian parties. 

Personally, I'm one who thinks that it often does have a very divisive quality to it, and that as New Democrats, we would be better off speaking not about a divide between the "middle class" and other classes, but between the people and the corporations.

As New Democrats, we believe that decisions should be made based not on what's best for multinational corporations—as the Conservatives and the Liberals do—but rather based on the values of the Canadian people.  Not just one class of people or another.  All the people.  I think when we talk about the "middle class" too much, rather than just about ordinary Canadians, it does open us to a lot of attacks.

If Martha Hall Findlay had just been attacking Trudeau for speaking in terms of class, and by so doing dividing Canadians against each other, I might have been sympathetic to her.  (Despite the fact that I'm almost never sympathetic to Martha Hall Findlay.)  But by attacking him for doing what she'd done so openly just seconds before, she just made herself look ridiculous.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Michelle wrote:
The hilarious thing is that MHF is just putting into words the attitude of the whole Liberal Party.  If anything, she's the one being true to Liberal Party "principles".  She's asking Trudeau why he's bothering to talk about class when the Liberal Party isn't about class analysis - and she's right!

Finally, a Liberal who refuses to pretend she's a lefty like so many others do when they're campaigning.  It's funny to listen to Liberals talk about class when they're campaigning as if they're on the side of the working class (or, in their more palatable terms, the "middle class"), and then when they get into power, showing their real faces and waging class war AGAINST the working class.

Nice to see a Liberal who finally tells the truth about what the party is.  I think she'd make a great leader of the Liberal Party.

Martha Hall-worthy

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Martha H-F would probably be the best choice from an NDP point of view. She's the least charismatic of the leadership hopefuls in my opinion. She says she's been a lawyer negotiating huge corporate deals, and probably that's the best fit for her. Personally, I like Deborah Coyne and Marc Garneau - they're more the introspective personality type that I am. Trudeau and Hall Findlay are two people in that bunch I am sure I could never, ever, feel comfortable around. I'd love to have a beer with Garneau or Coyne, although I'd never vote for either of them.

 

Arthur Cramer Arthur Cramer's picture

autoworker wrote:
This is the Liberal version of Canadian Idol, where everyone, who wants to, gets to vote for who they believe will become the people's choice. Once they've bought into their winning candidate (guess who), they're on the bandwagon for next election. What makes a better magazine cover than the personification of the popular will? Only Prince Harry, if he were available, might eclipse le Dauphin at this point. The die has been cast. It's written in the stars. Canada is on the cusp of a new age in national politics, whereby The Economist will find us 'cool' once again! Don't bother to resist-- it's futile.

That's a scary thought.

NorthReport

You mean like Paul Martin representing St Henri  Laughing

lagatta wrote:

The term "middle class", as applied to ordinary working peple, makes me want to scream. My gripe is not with its use by the Libs, but by the NDP...

At least Trudeau was sort-of-honest, though personally I think he's playing down his patrimony. There is a lot of money and property on both sides of his family. It is so funny thinking of him representing Papineau, one of the poorest ridings in Canada. I see according to Wiki that it actually did have the lowest family income in Canada; it is also the smallest riding.

My old friend André Frappier was NDP candidate there in 2004, now he is interim president of Québec solidaire.

Mr.Tea

Boom Boom wrote:

I'd love to have a beer with Garneau or Coyne, although I'd never vote for either of them.

 

Yeah, having a beer with an astronaut would be pretty cool.

lagatta

Sineed's approach is interesting ... though Papineau is FAR to small to qualify as a region.

Actually Trudeau is good at glad-handing and serving food at community picnics. I guess it is a kind of "role" he got to learn the ropes of teaching drama.

You never get a straight answer from him though.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I worked in M&I in the 1970s and actually met his father (PET) a couple of times. But mostly I had to deal with horrible Liberal MPs who ran the department  - Bryce Mackasey, Robert Andras, and Otto Lang. If I had stayed on for these last 40 years, I'd be retiring as close to a millionaire. But I'd be totally burnt out and probably an alcoholic. I got out before I lost my mind - although some would argue that last point. Wink

Debater

Michelle wrote:

The hilarious thing is that MHF is just putting into words the attitude of the whole Liberal Party.  If anything, she's the one being true to Liberal Party "principles".  She's asking Trudeau why he's bothering to talk about class when the Liberal Party isn't about class analysis - and she's right!

Finally, a Liberal who refuses to pretend she's a lefty like so many others do when they're campaigning.  It's funny to listen to Liberals talk about class when they're campaigning as if they're on the side of the working class (or, in their more palatable terms, the "middle class"), and then when they get into power, showing their real faces and waging class war AGAINST the working class.

Nice to see a Liberal who finally tells the truth about what the party is.  I think she'd make a great leader of the Liberal Party.

Michelle, your post is just another attack on the Liberal Party rather than an attempt to look objectively at the strengths and weaknesses of it.

I think it's also important for both Liberals and NDPers to remember that Canada is not a far-left country and that there is nothing wrong with a centrist approach - that's what most Canadians expect, in fact.  Folks in both opposition parties better realize that a lot of Canadians are conservative or centrist - that's why we have Conservative governments in this country right now and have had in the past as well.  Neither the Liberals nor the NDP can expect to only appeal to left of centre voters.

The NDP leadership realizes this which is why Mulcair himself is essentially moving the NDP to the center and away from the left.  He knows that he can only win as a 'liberal' in essence or as New Labour or however else one wants to phrase it.

As for MHF, she won't be becoming Liberal leader, so the NDP won't have the chance to find out how she will play off against Mulcair.  She is too right-of-centre for the Liberals, although she may be fortunate enough to win her seat back in the next election since she only lost because of an increase in the NDP vote in Willowdale and the Liberal vote is likely to go back up next time if Justin is leader.

Slumberjack

The Liberals as a fake political movement are just about the most contemptible creatures this society has ever nurtured through unwarranted attention.  Their only strength ever has consisted in bamboozling an easily bamboozled following.  In this one instance with respect to substance, we could paraphrase Hitchens' advice concerning Falwell.  Give it an enema and bury it in a matchbox.

lagatta

New Labour. Yecch. War criminals to boot.

Slumberjack

There's no mistake about being war criminals, but in that they are not alone.  To describe Liberals as Cretans would be a blemish on the good name of the people who live in Crete.  And here again they conspire to appear before the public with bullshit on their tongues and shit eating grins on their faces, and expect that everyone else will line up to partake of this banquet.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

The problem is FPTP.  There is somewhere around a third of the electorate that has always liked the NDP because it was left wing and not a party of the mushy center.  In BC we sent people like Robinson, Davies and Siksay to parliament to talk about peace and justice.  Those voices are gone from the debate. I would be happy with a third of the seats in the House being socialist and the rest being divided between various other liberal/social democratic and conservative parties.  The system now means that to win a majority government the NDP must abandon its roots.  Those are the political demographics in this country.  

 

Slumberjack

kropotkin1951 wrote:
The system now means that to win a majority government the NDP must abandon its roots.  Those are the political demographics in this country.

This is indeed the politics of this country.  The political strategists for the NDP would have known of this for many years, but unfortunately the roots who take note of such things are only lately waking up to an abandonment that occurred somewhere along the way.

Arthur Cramer Arthur Cramer's picture

"I think it's also important for both Liberals and NDPers to remember that Canada is not a far-left country and that there is nothing wrong with a centrist approach - that's what most Canadians expect, in fact.  Folks in both opposition parties better realize that a lot of Canadians are conservative or centrist - that's why we have Conservative governments in this country right now and have had in the past as well.  Neither the Liberals nor the NDP can expect to only appeal to left of centre voters."

Debater, I don't think that anyone has ever said Canada is a far-left country. But in terms of both natural inclination, and national policy, it is a left leaning country, not a centerinst one. Your choie of words is simply more of the standard LPC trick of selling centerism and hoping Candians will believe it.

The real tragedy is that Canadians are actually leftist, not centerinst, but the LPC has been able to hold onto power by duping Canadians into believing otherwise.

Seriously Mac, at least here, why don't you show all of us a little respect and be a little more honest about things, rather then trying to pass your tripe for policial analysys? I'm just askin'.

Arthur Cramer Arthur Cramer's picture

TheArchitect wrote:

Clearly, Martha Hall Findlay's attack on Trudeau was an unmitigated disaster for her.  Part of it, I think, was the blatant internal contradiction implicit in her own remark: on the one hand, she was going to attack Justin Trudeau for being from a particular class background, and on the other hand, she was going to attack him for talking about class (and thus implicitly attack herself for talking about just seconds before).

I think it's reasonable for us to have a conversation about the use of the term "middle class" in politics today.  It's a term that's been used extensively in U.S. politics for many, many years, and which more recently seems to have entered the discourse of all three major Canadian parties. 

Personally, I'm one who thinks that it often does have a very divisive quality to it, and that as New Democrats, we would be better off speaking not about a divide between the "middle class" and other classes, but between the people and the corporations.

As New Democrats, we believe that decisions should be made based not on what's best for multinational corporations—as the Conservatives and the Liberals do—but rather based on the values of the Canadian people.  Not just one class of people or another.  All the people.  I think when we talk about the "middle class" too much, rather than just about ordinary Canadians, it does open us to a lot of attacks.

If Martha Hall Findlay had just been attacking Trudeau for speaking in terms of class, and by so doing dividing Canadians against each other, I might have been sympathetic to her.  (Despite the fact that I'm almost never sympathetic to Martha Hall Findlay.)  But by attacking him for doing what she'd done so openly just seconds before, she just made herself look ridiculous.

TA, I think this is one of the most astute and inciteful comments I have EVER read on this website! Thanks for making it. I wish I had htis much insite.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Arthur Cramer wrote:

TA, I think this is one of the most astute and inciteful comments I have EVER read on this website! Thanks for making it. I wish I had htis much insite.

Insightful, but hardly inciteful, and I'm not sure about the insite.

Now, I think I'll run before I get booted off the island! Tongue out

Arthur Cramer Arthur Cramer's picture

Boom,Boom.....Doh! Sealed

Debater

A lot of hateful comments above about Liberals.  Not one positive thing was said about the positive attributes of the Liberal Party.

Remember that those who post here are not representative of most Liberal-NDP-Green voters.  Surveys show that many of these voters want the parties to work together and co-operate in some way.  I realize many of the folks here are hard-core activists who have worked in the trenches for many years and who don't want to ever work with anyone other than a pure, left-wing socialist party, but that is not realistic and is not representative of where most Canadians are.

Remember that even Thomas Mulcair and others in the NDP like Nathan Cullen realize that working together down the road may be a possibility that needs to be considered.

Before all of this back and forth arguing took place, remember that when I first came here in 2009 I suggested that the Liberals and NDP work together.

Arthur Cramer Arthur Cramer's picture

Debater, one question, seriously, where do you get off. Eh Mac.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Debater, your sweeping comments about the left are not welcome here. This is not a place where you get to ridicule radical or progressive politics, or offer solemn reminders of how the world "actually works." Go have another gander at babble policy before you embark on another round of concern trolling. Thanks.

Arthur Cramer Arthur Cramer's picture

Thanks Catchfire!

Slumberjack

Catchfire wrote:
This is not a place where you get to ridicule radical or progressive politics.... 

This must have occurred in other threads?... or I'm in fact not the smartie that Arthur mistakes me for, and it's sitting in this thread someplace.  I'm aware of how odd these inquiries must sound with Debater being a Liberal and all.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Quote:

Layton-Lovers to Harper-Harpies. Talk about it here.

Of course we all realize that this is the babble description and not the policy but I think that for the sake of truth in advertising it might need to be changed. This is thread is on the Liberal leadership race and the only person vaguely presenting a liberal perspective is under constant attack.

A certain amount of talk is allowed to the left of the Layton lovers but only on very narrow terms.  If you bring a non NDP left perspective make sure you bring a thick skin because you will be attacked and generally portrayed as a left wing nut bar by the Layton lovers.

The idea that anyone here could be a Harper Harpie and post seems somehow a contradiction in terms since if they posted from that perspective they would be in breach of the actual policy and turfed before the first day of posting.

That leaves the people between the Layton Lovers and the Harper Harpies and it is clear that Liberals are not allowed any air on babble.  At every turn anyone posting from a liberal perspective is water boarded by the Layton Lovers brigade.

So maybe it should just say that babble is;

"A Place for Layton Lovers to Bash Harper Harpies and Others. Please don't talk about the Liberals here"

 

Slumberjack

There's an understandable tension these days between the Liberal and NDP camps over positioning, heightened since the formality of the Liberal leadership campaign began to play itself out. We have little need of inquiry into the substance of this tension, because its plain to see that they are brimming with it to the point of overflow.

Arthur Cramer Arthur Cramer's picture

K and SJ:

Debator wrote:

"Remember that those who post here are not representative of most Liberal-NDP-Green voters.  Surveys show that many of these voters want the parties to work together and co-operate in some way. "

I don't have any problem with comment from anyone, but I have problems with people rubbing my face in it. Debator cries the blues all the time about how he is being attacked, and whines to the Mods (sounds like a Liberal MP here in my riding". So, when he gets told to show a little respect, that's not an issue as far as I am concerned.

I don't like being patronized and Debator needs to be told to smarten up a little. He can comment all he wants, but he can act like a gentleman. That seems pretty straight forward to me. I don't see what the issue is here.

I stand by my commnet, good job Catchfire.

Slumberjack

Well, the issue has to do with the broadside at #27, and the thin gruel in this thread at least that appears to have brought it on.  I must admit however that I don't follow the other threads so much to catch up with the latest in Liberaldom, only that if it was fully earned there'd be little surprise in it.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Slumberjack, feel free to take it to rabble reactions. This thread is about Martha Hall Findlay, class, and the Liberal party.

Debater

Arthur Cramer wrote:

K and SJ:

Debator wrote:

"Remember that those who post here are not representative of most Liberal-NDP-Green voters.  Surveys show that many of these voters want the parties to work together and co-operate in some way. "

I don't have any problem with comment from anyone, but I have problems with people rubbing my face in it. Debator cries the blues all the time about how he is being attacked, and whines to the Mods (sounds like a Liberal MP here in my riding". So, when he gets told to show a little respect, that's not an issue as far as I am concerned.

I don't like being patronized and Debator needs to be told to smarten up a little. He can comment all he wants, but he can act like a gentleman. That seems pretty straight forward to me. I don't see what the issue is here.

I stand by my commnet, good job Catchfire.

Arthur, you are always calling for me to be respectful, but you never show the same in return.  It is obvious that you have an antipathy towards anyone who is Liberal.

Arthur Cramer Arthur Cramer's picture

Seriously Debator, yep, you are right. Here I go, boo hoo hoo. You patronize us on this site over and over and when we say we have had enough you play the victim card. Sad pal, really, really sad. I am all for debate "debator", but I'm not going to put up being patronized by some guy he thinks he's smarther then me, knows better then me, and feels an obvious need to make sure I know it any chance he gets. Don't cry the blues to me buddy. Debate all you want, but expect it back. Got it?

socialdemocrati...

"We're smarter than you and know better than you". Isn't that the Liberal Party's platform for the past 15 years? It worked wonders on the public.

JKR

The term "middle class" seems to be code to say that the  interests of the working class and poor are unimportant. That's why many use the term "working class" to describe the proletariat who don't make a living off of their  investments, profits, capital gains, etc....

To her credit, Findlay did go on to support the principle of equality of opportunity which is much more than can be said for the Conservatives who just support the interests of the bourgeoisie. The NDP used to primarily support equality for the working class but they've mostly joined the Liberals in making equality of opportunity their main ideological principle.

So if the Conservatives support the bourgeoisie while the NDP and Liberals to varying degrees support the idea of equality of opportunity, where is the party that supports primarily the interest of the working class? The NDP is the best option the working class still has but with the NDP moving to the right to gain FPTP political support, one wonders how the working class is going to fare as the whole main stream political spectrum shifts rightward.

socialdemocrati...

Trying to fix this country through the NDP has always been a bit of a gambit.

For a long time, it was a gambit because it was criticized as an exercise in futility. You had to endure the cat calls that "if you hate Conservatives, your only choice is to vote Liberal". Now it's a gambit in a different way, where the NDP gets closer to governing, and you hope that the NDP changes the government before the government changes the NDP.

I think the "changes" from left to right (so far) have been overstated.

More can be said about changes in organization. Definitely more fundraising, less debate. And at the last riding meeting I attended, a lot of that was imposed happily by bottom-up, not top-down. It's more group-think ("let's win and try not to act bush league") than dictatorial ("shut up and get in line"). It's bad news for people who want to push the party to the left -- not that The Waffle was all that effective either. But if there's a silver lining, it also means that there isn't much tolerance for people who want to push the NDP to the right either.

And a lot of shifts to the right are better explained as shifts towards incrementalism. It's not like the NDP has stopped talking about child care, the tar sands, or inequality. It's just that someone like Jack Layton realized he'd have more success talking about corporate taxation than personal taxation. Or that eliminating bank fees might act as a gateway to bigger bank regulation, rather than trying to take on a bigger financial issue. Or that we should put a price on carbon, instead of completely demonizing the tar sands. The incrementalist attitude is probably why co-operation has become a topic of conversation in the NDP ("Why not get Harper out first, then work on a full majority?") -- even if that idea has limited popularity. 

But even if these aren't huge changes in ideology, there's no denying that this has indirect consequences for the heart of the party. Not massive and not immediate. But you can't expect changes in organization, process, and strategy to avoid nibbling away at our values and goals.

That's why trying to fix this country through the NDP is a gambit. Getting more New Democrats elected (and better New Democrats elected) still has a better chance of achieving something than, say, trying to blow up the NDP and start a 6th party behind the BQ and the Greens, or trying to get your neighbors to barricade the streets. But it might not accomplish that much if there's enough time to push aside the relentless activists, and replace them with careerists who realize that the NDP has things like "safe ridings" and "career paths".

A big part of the gambit is still proportional representation. If the NDP (or any party) gets in there and changes the voting system, it hardly matters what else they change. Under a proportional system, we could have three NDPs: the party (incremental), the ideology (social democratic), and the movement (activist/populist). But if we don't change the voting system, I worry that playing it safe from 2002 until 2022 will eventually make safe the new normal. Even if the NDP gets into power, there's still a long-term risk that the NDP becomes a do-nothing party.

Lord Palmerston

Michelle wrote:

The hilarious thing is that MHF is just putting into words the attitude of the whole Liberal Party.  If anything, she's the one being true to Liberal Party "principles".  She's asking Trudeau why he's bothering to talk about class when the Liberal Party isn't about class analysis - and she's right!

Finally, a Liberal who refuses to pretend she's a lefty like so many others do when they're campaigning.  It's funny to listen to Liberals talk about class when they're campaigning as if they're on the side of the working class (or, in their more palatable terms, the "middle class"), and then when they get into power, showing their real faces and waging class war AGAINST the working class.

Nice to see a Liberal who finally tells the truth about what the party is.  I think she'd make a great leader of the Liberal Party.

Well said Michelle.  Now if only they'd make her Liberal leader! 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I doubt she'd get any traction here in Quebec whatsoever, being against supply management, and all.

 

ETA: Actually, I hope Martha wins the Liberal leadership, she'd kill off that g-d party once and for all. Cool

Unionist

That's what the Liberal party pro-John-Turner elite said about Jean Chrétien.

 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Frown