Today we have two persons of interest: Peter MacKay and Tony Clement.
I was hoping that Mr. MacKay would run for the federal Conservative party leadership. I really wanted to see him try to lead this party out of the wilderness. I’ve been following McKay ever since I heard about the Orchard Agreement. By this agreement Peter MacKay became leader of the Conservative party.
The agreement was literally written on a scrap of paper. It is very short. I will cut&paste it here:
1) No merger, joint candidates w[ith] Alliance. Maintain 301.
2) Review of FTA/NAFTA – blue ribbon commission with D[avid] O[rchard] w[ith] choice of chair w[ith] P[eter] M[acKay’s] agreement. Rest of members to be jointly agreed upon.
3) Clean up of head office including change of national director in consultation (timing w[ithin] reasonable period in future, pre-election) and some of DO’s people working at head office.
4) Commitment to making environmental protection front and center incl[uding] sustainable agriculture, forestry, reducing pollution through rail.
[Signed by Peter MacKay and David Orchard]
Now for the first dumb question.
What happened next? Peter MacKay became the leader of the Progressive Conservatives. He then broke the conditions as follows:
- merged with the Alliance to form the existing Federal Conservative Party.
- After Stephen Harper became Prime Minister, the NAFTA review did not do anything.
- Not sure about this one.
- The Harper government (search this blog for James Travers, Haroon Siddiqui) took down a large number of environmental and other protections.
So I was hoping to see Peter MacKay responsible for digging himself and his party out of their opposition hole. No such luck. MacKay has married, has a couple of children, and seems to be enjoying his new life.
I wish him well, out of politics.
On to our next Person of Interest.
Maybe I’ll get lucky with Tony Clement as he runs for the leadership of the Federal Conservative Party. Clement’s history is broad and shallow. I will give one obvious, egregious, example of his valuable contribution to the Canadian political life.
The G8 Summit was held at Deerhurst, a hotel complex outside of Huntsville. Projects to ‘enable’ the summit were funded. Clement controlled almost $50 million. Here you can read that most of that money was controlled in a way that lacked accountability, and that the control was done by Clement and his staff. A quote from that page:
“We’re looking at a slush fund that was very carefully constructed to remove all the checks and balances and basically put $50 million in the hands of a politician who dispensed that money out of his constituency office,” Angus said in an interview.
“It is clear that a cover-up happened. And it’s also very clear that they used Clement’s constituency office in order to ensure that a cover-up was possible,” said Angus (Timmins—James Bay).
Let’s have a fast look at Clement’s history, as told by Wikipedia:
As Minister of Health:
Some of Clement’s initiatives included announcing a national strategy on autism, working towards establishing Canada’s first Patient Wait Times Guarantees, and investing in faster, more effective and safer health information systems across Canada for Canadians.
In Ontario, health information systems are still wanting. Patient wait times try patience. Health care is, sadly, a provincial responsibility. Medical standing does not extend across provincial borders. None of this got fixed.
As Minister of Industry:
In the summer of 2010, Clement introduced changes to the 2011 Census. On this issue, he said, “The government will retain the mandatory short form that will collect basic demographic information. To meet the need for additional information, and to respect the privacy wishes of Canadians, the government has introduced the voluntary National Household Survey (NHS).”
It took a change of government to get the long census back.
The G8 we won’t go into again. I could mention the Gazebo built nowhere near the G20, and much much more.
As President of the Treasury Board:
On December 22, 2014, Clement was quoted by the Canadian Press as saying that government deliberately withholds public data because people using the information might “create havoc” by altering the contents.
On November 2, 2013, Clement backed a motion at the Conservative Party national convention that advocated clawing back public-sector pay and benefits.
In charge of FedNor: I won’t comment on this as I didn’t follow the details at the time.
Today: Tony Clement has stepped down from the shadow cabinet (in Opposition) to run for the leadership of the Federal Conservative party.
I wish Mr. Clement well. I hope he wins that leadership. I anticipate many pleasurable campaigns as his Conservatives wander in their Harper-created wilderness.
Second dumb question: Will Tony Clement get that leadership?
Given the effect of his backing by Stephen Harper, he’s probably got a good shot at it. Given the (to me at least) lack of star power opponents, it could actually happen.