Politicians in Ottawa say dumb things all the time and we barely notice. But every once in a while an elected official says something so dumb that it makes you think, “Whoa, hang on a minute—that’s pretty dumb. In fact, that may be the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.”
Which brings us to a recent speech by Tony Clement.
When not tweeting about his squash game, Tony is an actual minister in the federal government. He spoke this past weekend about government spending to a conference of conservative-minded Canadians. His words are below in bold.
What we have to do is to ingrain [the] idea of efficient and constrained use of tax dollars on a day-to-day basis, at every level of the bureaucracy.
That’s a solid brainwave, Tony. You should totally do that as soon as your party forms a government. In other news, your party formed a government 2,200 days ago. What have you guys been waiting for—mood lighting?
The statist non-solutions of the Trudeau era convinced me at an early age that what Canada needed most was freedom from the dead hand of government.
And that is why since 2006 we Conservatives have massively expanded the size and budget of government.
Everyone in the government should get out of bed every morning, not only thinking, “How can I do my job to the best of my ability?” but also asking, “How can I do my job in an excellent way at less cost to the taxpayers?”
If bureaucrats need a reference point, they should think back to the morning in 2010 when Tony got out of bed and asked himself, “How can I do my job while using the G8 summit as a thin pretext to shamelessly spread tens of millions in taxpayer dollars around my riding, prettying up the parks and building gazebos without keeping any paperwork in a cavalier spending orgy over which I alone preside?”
Not long after this sorry episode, Tony was named president of the treasury board—essentially, the guy in charge of reviewing the particulars of all government spending. This happened because Stephen Harper likes to rub our faces in it.
If you take nothing else from my talk this morning, please take this: we are working to change the culture in official Ottawa from one of spending enablers to one of cost containers.
Up until this moment, most scientists had believed it was impossible to cram this much dumb into a single sentence. You know how physicists at the Large Hadron Collider are looking for the so-called God particle? Here we have definitive proof of the existence of the Dumb particle. It’s been hiding in Tony’s mouth this whole time.
Where to begin?
First of all, it’s worth reiterating: Tony’s party has been in power for more than six years. If the culture of “official Ottawa” represents such a grave threat, you’d think the Conservatives might have considered confronting it at some point in the first 315 weeks.
Second, I haven’t read the BNA Act recently, but I’m almost positive that the people who comprise “official Ottawa” report to and take their marching orders from certain men and women who just so happen to be in charge. People like—spoiler alert!—TONY CLEMENT.
Third, it is perhaps useful to ponder: who have been the most egregious “spending enablers” in official Ottawa? Is it the bureaucrat who splurges on muffins for a department meeting? Or is it the Prime Minister and finance minister who together have introduced more than $60 billion in new spending and added $150 billion to our federal debt?
As Winston Churchill said when he addressed our Parliament during the bleakest days of the Second World War, we have not journeyed all this way across the mountains, across the Prairies, across the centuries, because we’re made of sugar candy!
It takes a unique commitment to pure, uncut dumbness to liken the deadliest war in human history to a government’s attempts to convince bureaucrats to spend slightly less money. We shall fight them on the balance sheets! We shall fight them in line-by-line expenditure reviews! We shall never surrender to year-over-year, adjusted-for-inflation spending increases!