Thursday, January 28, 2010

Industry Minister Tony Clement downplays prorogation concerns, says only ‘5 percent of what Ministers do is related to parliament and Question Period’


Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament (Saskatoon Chapter)
at Radisson Hotel on January 27, 2010

In town less than twenty-four hours, and with barely any media coverage, Industry Minister Tony Clement still managed to insult thousands of Canadians by trivializing concerns over the Conservative government’s decision to prorogue Parliament.

Clement was in Saskatoon on January 27, 2010, to tour the Canadian Light Source at the University of Saskatchewan, then deliver a key note address to the Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce luncheon at the Radisson Hotel. At 4:00 p.m. the minister was to attend a photo-op at farm implement manufacturer Case New Holland in the city’s north industrial area.

About a dozen residents belonging to the Saskatoon Chapter of Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament gathered outside the hotel, braving minus 30 temperatures, to protest the prime minister’s decision to shut down Parliament until March. However, the demonstrators didn’t get to greet Clement because he’d slipped in through another entrance and was already on the second level making his way to the Da Vinci Ballroom by the time the protest got under way.

Chapter administrator Peter Garden said on his Facebook page that he saw Mayor Don Atchison entering the hotel and asked him what his position was on the prorogation of Parliament. “He turned to me with a surprised look, paused, and walked quickly into the hotel without a response,” Garden said.

When he was first elected mayor in October 2003, Atchison promised to be “the People’s Mayor.”

The RSVP-only luncheon was presented by the Chamber’s science city committee and Genome Prairie, a not-for-profit organization supporting and managing large-scale genomics and proteomics research projects in the provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Sponsors of the event included: the Saskatoon Blades Hockey Club, SaskTel subsidiary DirectWest, law firm MacPherson Leslie & Tyerman, accounting and business advisory firm Meyers Norris Penny, PGI Printers, and TD Canada Trust.

According to the daily itinerary posted in the hotel’s lobby, Industry Canada appeared to have the Verona and Shakespeare rooms booked for meetings, including one with the minister’s regional office.

Clement’s visit to Saskatoon generated very little media attention.

Mysask.ca, which seems to be owned and controlled by SaskTel, posted a short article online saying that the minister, along with fellow conservative MP Kelly Block, toured the Canadian Light Source to get a first hand look at the type of scientific advancements which are being made in Saskatoon. [Tony Clement in Saskatoon (Mysask.ca, January 27, 2010)]

Interestingly, Genome’s director of communications and government relations, Carol Reynolds, was Block’s campaign manager in the 2008 federal election. It was during the campaign that Block – the Conservative candidate for Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar and a long time Saskatchewan Party member – was criticized for refusing to participate in candidate debates. Reynold’s, in turn, made an unsuccessful bid to get elected as Ward 1 councillor in Saskatoon’s October 2009 civic election.

On Saskatoonhomepage.ca a news article was posted saying that in answer to protests of the government’s decision to prorogue Parliament until March, Clement said MP’s “are still hard at work,” approximating that “maybe 5 percent of what Ministers do is related to parliament and Question Period.”

Clement says the government is focusing on the state of the economy in Canada, and touching base with Canadians before putting the next budget in place. [Federal Industry Minister Tours Saskatoon (Saskatoonhomepage.ca, January 27, 2010)]

(Saskatoonhomepage.ca is owned and operated by Saskatoon Media Group, a multi platform media company consisting of conservative friendly radio stations CJWW, Magic 98.3, 92.9 The Bull, as well as Saskatchewan’s internet only radio station, Jazzavenue.ca.)

In Clement’s world ‘touching base’ seems to include avoiding accountability in the House of Commons, ducking protesters, and insulting the hundreds of thousands of Canadians that have expressed outrage over the prorogation of Parliament by minimizing their concerns.

Industry Canada’s media notice for Clement’s trip states that further information could be obtained by contacting the minister’s press secretary in Ottawa, Lynn Meahan. However, an email sent to Meahan on January 27 asking who paid for the minister’s trip and which of his staff accompanied him has gone unanswered.

Industry Minister Tony Clement (in light brown coat) heading to Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce luncheon in the Da Vinci Ballroom


Radisson Hotel itinerary for January 27, 2010

2 Comments:

At 10:38 AM, Blogger CanNurse said...

Great Post, Joe! Thanks!

 
At 7:09 PM, Blogger Anne said...

Shudder...makes me want to get rid of my New Holland tractor....

 

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