Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Easter vs. Clement

Clement deserves continued attention for those conflict of interest allegations and he got some more yesterday in this exchange:
Hon. Wayne Easter (Malpeque, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the industry minister cannot seem to help himself. It is one mess after another. The G20 $1 billion boondoggle is largely due to him vainly attempting to shoehorn it into his own riding, until a costly switch to Toronto.

As health minister, he used his title to act as pitchman in a video produced by one of his political supporters.

Does the minister not understand that favouring one company over all others violates Treasury Board rules?

Hon. Tony Clement (Minister of Industry, CPC): Mr. Speaker, nothing could be further from the truth. There is no conflict here. There is no pecuniary interest.

We did not hear the hon. members on the other side of the aisle when Jean Chr├ętien went around the world with team Canada: 100 business people, 200 business people. They were happy to applaud him when he did that but I cannot stick up for the people in my riding.

We are here to do a job. We are here to build businesses in this country. We are here to build the economy. We had a 6.1% growth in the last quarter. We are doing our job.

Hon. Wayne Easter (Malpeque, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, this video is no trade mission. Even the National Post gets that message. It said that it was no trade mission. It said today:

If [he] doesn't understand the distinctions, maybe he's not qualified to be industry minister.

It added:

Picture Hillary Clinton... promoting Mars bars in Shanghai.

Government policy bars a minister from providing a marketing advantage to single entities. Will the Prime Minister act on this brazen violation of the rules?

Hon. Tony Clement (Minister of Industry, CPC): Mr. Speaker, we on this side of the House are proud in our role and responsibility as MPs and as cabinet ministers to promote business, promote Canadian business, promote jobs and promote opportunities. That is part of our job.

What do those members do on the other side? They think of ways to tax Canadians and tax businesses, which is why they are on that side. That is why we have 6.1% growth in quarter one. We are proud of our record.
Gotta love that Mars Bars line. Just sums it up so evocatively. Notice Clement has no real response. More from that Yellow Beast opinion:
It’s true that Chretien loved flying off to China with planeloads of entrepreneurs eager to peddle their wares to China’s market of 1.2 billion. The difference between that and Clement’s video is that Chretien took dozens of businessmen with him, representing whole areas of Canadian enterprise. Clement picked one guy from his own riding.

Chretien was marketing Canadian expertise and productivity; Clement was sucking up to a local businessman at the expense of competing firms.

If Clement doesn’t understand the distinction, maybe he’s not qualified to be Industry Minister.
A little crudely put but the point is there, it's the ethics, stupid and Clement and Harper are just not getting it. Interesting too the way the Post is going after Clement.