OTTAWA – Treasury Board President Tony Clement is dismissing as “hooey” a report suggesting he was not the author of his own tweets during an online town hall last year.
The Canadian Press, citing documents obtained under the Access to Information Act, reported this week that Clement’s staff did much of the tweet composition.
The documents said Clement had employed a “ghostwriter” to create tweets and that some were written before the town hall last December as stock answers.
“The ghostwriter worked with subject matter experts to identify responses to questions and then worked with Clement to determine how to tweet in his voice,” the documents said.
But the minister took to Twitter on Monday to deny the report, saying whoever created the documents got it wrong.
“That’s a bunch of hooey,” Clement wrote. “Docs are wrong. I directed the responses.”
A spokeswoman for Clement said the ghostwriter was used to get the minister’s answers out faster, which she called standard practice for such events.
The 90-minute town hall took three dry runs to plan and the compilation of more than 40 tweets in advance so they could be readily used to reply to questions, the documents showed.
In addition to Clement, the ghostwriter and a moderator, there were two subject matter experts and two communications staff around the table.
Clement’s spokeswoman said the level of preparation was necessary because of the unique nature of the event but the minister was fully in charge.
“He directed the entire tweet chat,” Andrea Mandel-Campbell said.
“When you do that kind of event, first of all, it’s the first time you’re doing it, so you have to have all kinds of dry runs and yes, you have a lot of people in the room.”