Tony Clement sends his regards to Thompson -

Tony Clement sends his regards to Thompson


However awkwardly and ridiculously the Industry Minister has handled questions and criticism in the past, he perhaps outdid himself yesterday with the following tut-tutting of two questions from the NDP’s Niki Ashton.

For whatever reason, after Ms. Ashton had asked her first question rather haltingly, Mr. Clement decided the proper tone for the moment was “patronizing.” When he turned, with the last bit of his second answer, to direct scorn on Ms. Ashton his voice was entirely overwhelmed by a torrent of shouting from the opposition side.

Ms. Niki Ashton (Churchill, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I am proud to have been born and raised in Thompson, Manitoba. Thompson and communities like it are the heart and soul of our country.

Three years ago the government allowed Vale to take over Inco, claiming this would benefit Canada. Today, Vale ripped the heart out of Thompson. It announced the closure of surface operations. Where is the net benefit for my home community?

What is the government going to do to stand by these Canadians, people in my home town, and save the 600 jobs that are being cut by this foreign owned company?

Hon. Tony Clement (Minister of Industry, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I understand that today Vale made an announcement about a $10 billion, that is billion with a “b”, further investment throughout Canada where it has Canadian operations. That includes investments in Saskatchewan, and I am sure the member for Wascana would like to know that. It also includes investments in Sudbury, Voisey’s Bay, throughout the country.

There are certain operations that it is now centralizing and it apparently affects the honourable member’s riding. I can understand why she is upset. I would like honourable members to know that this happened on a day when the company is making $10 billion worth of future investments.

Ms. Niki Ashton (Churchill, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I invite the minister to come to my home town in Thompson and explain that to the Canadians who are losing their jobs.

The government allowed the takeover of Inco and is directly responsible for today’s announcement, an announcement that it said would not happen because it would bring jobs, not take them away. What the Conservatives need to do is admit that they dropped the ball on foreign takeovers and are taking advantage of communities like mine.

When will the government commit to a meeting with the people of Thompson, the city of Thompson, the steelworkers and the stakeholders to be part of the solution so we do not lose our jobs?

Hon. Tony Clement (Minister of Industry, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I acknowledge that the honourable member is upset and I understand that she is seeking to defend her community. The fact of the matter is that this announcement today is $10 billion of future investment in this country, throughout this country, as an investment in this country. That is good news for the country.

The honourable member talks about helping Thompson, Manitoba, yet she voted with her caucus and with her party. Every time we wanted to cut taxes, every time we wanted to help communities, every time we wanted to stimulate the economy, she and her caucus voted against.


Tony Clement sends his regards to Thompson

  1. Ashton: Why don't you care about Thompson?

    Clement: I care about Thompson. YOU don't care about Thompson.

    Ashton: No, I care about Thompson. YOU don't care about Thompson.

    Clement: I do too care about Thompson. YOU don't care about Thompson.

    Speaker: Next question.

    There's something to be said for brevity in cases like this.

  2. What's not to love about Tony C? Gosh, do you think his post-parliamentary working life will include Vale?

  3. I don't care about Thompson.

  4. Maybe it was in the audio, but reading the transcript, I don't see the patronizing. I even see uncharacteristic sympathizing from Clement.

    This is not even the typical Conservative blowhard, "shove it to you and anyone who didn't vote for us" response, at least until the very end.

    I'm inclined to give him this one I have to say (not counting the very end).

  5. Unfortunately, when you approach your job with the close-minded, preconceived notions that Wherry posesses, you make a complete screw-up like this.
    I suspect Clement genuinely likes the youthful enthusiasm of Ashton and meant no disrespect to her and showed none except in the aforementioned mind of Wherry.
    This might be a good time to reassess one`s purpose in reporting the news. Just because you would normally get good reviews for slagging Clement doesn`t mean you shoud create an insult when none existed.
    Besides, if you`re patient I`m sure Clement will give you more genuine opportunities to slag him.

  6. The whole story is not told here. Thompson and the workers will survive

  7. The NDP are so pathologiclly protectionist they oppose jobs moving to other provinces?!?!

  8. I dunno. I know you are being charitable and easy going, but "billion with a b," "apparently" and "I am sure the member from Wascana (Goodale? Wunh?) would like to know that" is pretty rude. Now, granted, QP is not real life, but if anyone in real life ever talked like that we'd all be furious.

  9. Could be. Maybe it just seems more decent only in comparison to his usual tripe and bluster.

  10. Agreed. Wherry is scraping the bottom of the peanut butter jar here. Slim pickings.

  11. But you agree with Tony Clement here, don't you? You think the government was right to allow the takeover of Inco. And you disagree quite strongly with Niki Ashton's position.

    It's OK, Ted. When you agree with Tony Clement (however rare that may be) you're allowed to admit it ;-).

  12. Well, I do agree that $10B is better than 600 jobs and that allowing the purchase of Inco by Vale probably resulted in that $10B investment. I confess to not knowing enough about this to say for certain, but it certainly does seem to support my view that deals like Vale and BHP end up producing net economic benefits to Canada and should be permitted.

  13. I think the $10 billion statement by Vale was largely just cover as they cut. We'll see how much investment they actually make, and how much of that investment is in value-add, or if we'll just ship out raw products.

  14. The NDP are so pathologiclly protectionist they oppose jobs moving.

  15. Ms. Ashton, it would appear that a recently closed facility in a community with many qualified individuals looking for work would represent a tremendous buying opportunity for a company looking to make money.

    If there is a line-up of companies looking to make a profitable investment employing this idle labour, SETTLE DOWN, all is well. If there is NO company who can find an economic justification from such a venture, then why don't you LEARN SOMETHING from that very fact.

    Thank you, Ms. Ashton.

  16. the representatives for that particular area are all protectionists as they are elected to do so….this includes all parties.

  17. Well if you won't answer the question and can't deflect with wit, I guess you could always be a dick.

  18. I was watching CPAC and the transcript doesn't do it justice. Ms. Ashton was pretty impassioned and the force of her words seemed to take Clement by surprise a little.

    He parried well, his voice didn't waver and he spoke fluidly but you could see the gears turning, searching for something. When the talking points ran dry he went to his old standby of "shove it to you and anyone who didn't vote with us". His problem was that he tried to match her righteous emotion and only managed to cynically raise his volume and insult her personally. I might be projecting a little but I have to say that he looked a little sheepish (and stunned) when he sat down.

    Had he simply explained that it was a decision of a private company to axe 600 jobs, and therefore well outside the jurisdiction of the government, he might have fared better. He could have stayed calm, defended a position on foreign takeovers, but he didn't and he came out the loser.

  19. Tony Clement – Master of the Harper PMO Misdirection Tactic #5.

    I'm also scratching my head at his comment about how Ashon "voted with her caucus and with her party", in effect saying she agreed with these issues.

    And here I thought that Harper's Conservative MP's didn't have an independent voice or vote…

  20. I think Clement was simply struggling with how to answer in context of his provided PMO Talking Points while recognizing a contradiction of principles in action.

    There is an inherent contradiction when he praises the benefits of one deal to justify a loss to the town of Thompson, after just recently killing a purchase bid with BHP that was not that different from his example purchase of Inco. His reasoning was circular and convuluted to me.

  21. Good point. We are learning the hard way that we cannot trust much of what this government says.

  22. Vale is not the government, the government is not Vale.

  23. No company in their right mind would open anything new up in Thompson. It's a drug fueled, crime infested rat hole.

  24. They could even twitter it.

  25. For Every dollar spent by Vale in Canada a briefcase full of cash heads straight out of our pockets and to Brazil. They will pull every last ounce of nickel out of Canadian ground and the profits will go straight to Brazil. Our profits from our natural resources must stay in Canada. Are people too naive to realize this? Far too many sure seem to be.

  26. Vale has become nothing less than a blight. Take a look at "Manda Bala" and tell me how lucky we are they are investing billions here. The corporate culture of Brazil is one of the most corrupt in the world.