The Commons: Working hard at working hard - Macleans.ca
 

The Commons: Working hard at working hard

“That’s the thing about government. We’re actually doing things on behalf of Canadians.”


 

For the second day in a row, Tony Clement paused briefly from recalibrating to tell us what he could.

“What I can tell you is the Prime Minister, and indeed all ministers, have been at work since the beginning of January, meeting with Canadians from coast-to-coast-to-coast,” the Industry Minister revealed. “They have sought and they have received a lot of advice on the priorities of working families, business, both large and small, and, indeed, from leading economists.”

So enlightened, the Prime Minister and his most-trusted ministers have retreated to Chelsea, Quebec, a small town north of the capital, where they might think deeply about what they have heard. From the official photos released so far we know that at one point the Prime Minister furrowed his brow and listened closely to something Jim Flaherty was saying. Later, Mr. Flaherty smiled and Lawrence Cannon napped happily.

“Today, at the priorities and planning retreat, the Prime Minister led a discussion on how the budget and our longer-term planning will reflect the expressed priorities of Canadians,” Mr. Clement enthused.

And under Mr. Harper’s steady guidance, the discussion apparently settled on a bold and courageous way forward.

“Let me be clear,” Mr. Clement clarified, “we are not a government that raises taxes and spends recklessly … Going forward our government will implement fiscally responsible initiatives to generate economic growth. Our goal is to ensure that all Canadians benefit from a strengthening economy with good jobs and rising family incomes.”

The budget, he said, “will start to develop the policies we need to lead Canada into the economy of tomorrow.”

“But,” he reassured, “working to ensure we capture new opportunities, does not mean abandoning yesterday’s successes.”

He waxed philosophic. “I believe that the dichotomy between the knowledge economy and the manufacturing economy is a false dichotomy,” he ventured.

He waxed metaphoric. “When the train comes in,” he declared, “Canadians will be able to ride it.”

He suddenly started sounding like Jack Layton. “The year ahead is one where those who understand the economics of the kitchen table,” he said, “will understand what drives and informs the federal government.”

So moved by his own words was Mr. Clement that he momentarily lost track of himself. “With well-conceived and affordable policies,” he said, “we shall grow the economy and deliver to Canadians what they have been told—what they have told us that they actually want. They want growth. They want opportunity. And, of course, the promise of a better tomorrow.”

On that note, it seemed preposterous that the assembled members of the press gallery would even dare speak. And yet the shouting was quick and furious. What, one scribe wondered, would the government be doing to create green jobs? Would this involve more spending? Tax credits? Regulations?

“This was a very important topic at our cabinet retreat, as you can imagine. There were lots of great ideas that were discussed,” Mr. Clement replied, failing to reveal any of them. “We’re trying to think a little bit outside the box as well.”

Why, asked a TV reporter, does the minister feel it necessary to tell us how much he and his colleagues are working?

“Well, listen, I think we do this all the time. We do it by our actions as well as our words. That’s the thing about government,” Mr. Clement mused. “We’re actually doing things on behalf of Canadians.”

It was unclear if this was intended as a boast or merely an explanation of why government exists.

Someone raised the government side’s newly discovered intent to add sitting days to Parliament’s spring schedule.

“There’s no question that when we reviewed the situation there is a lot of work to be done. We’re doing work right now,” he explained. “When the session does convene there’s no question that there’ll be a lot of work for Parliamentarians to do. And just as we’ve been working hard in our constituencies and throughout Canada, there’ll be a lot of work for Parliament to do after March 3.”

A meddlesome reporter asked the minister if perhaps he had erred in suggesting only the chattering classes were particularly interested in the business of Parliament.

“I guess what I can tell you, again, is we’re working hard,” Mr. Clement explained. “We’re working hard on behalf of Canadians. On behalf of their hopes and aspirations. It is important for a government to not only work in Ottawa, but also work around the country, get the views of Canadians and make sure that those are transferred from their kitchen table to the speech from the throne and to the budget.”

Standing before the ornate, and resolutely closed, wooden doors of the House of Commons, Mr. Clement spoke loftily of the appropriateness of it all.

“So we’ve used the intersession quite strategically to make sure that we are connected to Canadians’ concerns, their hopes, their aspirations,” he said. “That’s a perfectly appropriate thing for a government to do. Then there will be a time for Parliament. And this time will occur starting March the 3rd. And at that time people will see and be able to judge both our speech from the throne and our budget. And that’s entirely appropriate.”

With a wave, the Industry Minister retreated shortly thereafter, his work for the day well done.


 

The Commons: Working hard at working hard

  1. "“we shall grow the economy and deliver to Canadians what they have been told—what they have told us that they actually want."

    Freud would have a field day.

    "So we've used the intersession quite strategically …"

    Well, at least we can't say it was all lies.

  2. Speaking as one who lives on the south coast, I'd like to protest the lack of recognition in his mere 'coast-to-coast-to-coast'.

    The rest of Clement's motherhood bilge is also worthless.

  3. Do we even have a south coast? I mean, I don't think the shores of the great lakes really counts as a coast, does it?

    (Though I agree, it's still a stupid saying)

    • Of course it counts as a coast! One minute you're on land, and the next you're in an inland sea bordering the US!

      Pistols at dawn!!! LOL

      • "we consulted people from coast-to-coast-to-coast-to…wait…how many was that? Okay, how about this – if they're on land, we consulted them!"

        • LOL maybe we could just shorten it to 'coast4'.

          Altho I certainly wish he'd go consult where there is no land.

  4. “Let me be clear,” Mr. Clement clarified, “we are not a government that raises taxes and spends recklessly …"

    Indeed. The track record of neocons is generally one of spending recklessly and lowering taxes. "Screw you, future generations!" Or something along those lines.

    • The government does not spend recklessly. It spends a lot, yes, but only after calculating how to maximize the benefits for themselves.

    • Actually, they have raised a lot of taxes, starting with income taxes in the first month of their government, income trusts, a carbon tax (or "charge" as they put it) and most recently a massive increase to payroll taxes on employers.

      If you even want to buy their spin about "tax and spend" Liberals, isn't that better than "tax and borrow and spend and spend and spend" Conservatives?

  5. "at one point the Prime Minister furrowed his brow and listened closely to something Jim Flaherty was saying. Later, Mr. Flaherty smiled and Lawrence Cannon napped happily."

    Thanks for those, both were good laugh.

    "the Prime Minister, and indeed all ministers, have been at work since the beginning of January, meeting with Canadians from coast-to-coast-to-coast"

    Are Cons even trying anymore? Clement was appalling. Vacuous rhetoric. Also out of touch: Clement is bragging Cons are out there 'meeting' with Canadians, we all know what that means, but MPs not being in Parliament right now is what's bothering people.

    I have been moaning about Cons being in office but not in power for long time now. There was intresting column in The Times yesterday about Cons in UK that I think applies to our Cons here as well.

    "To win power is very different from winning office. To win the keys to No 10, a prime minister needs to be skilled in electoral combat. But to take power, a prime minister needs an agenda. Without one, he is a slave to his predecessors."

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnis

    • I cracked up over the ' paused briefly from recalibrating'.

      Recalibrating must be 'hard work', 'work' being today's word-to-stress.

      ' They want growth. They want opportunity. And, of course, the promise of a better tomorrow.”', as tho this comes as a major surprise to the govt and they had to prorogue to discover it.

    • That is an awesome quotation jolyon. Thank you. It should be branded on every party leader.

  6. If they're working so hard, why do they have so much time for photo-ops and damage control press conferences trying to make us thing they're working so hard.

    Yup, the Cons believe we will grow ourselves out of debt – that's like saying you can grow your way out of obesity.

    • that's like saying you can grow your way out of obesity.

      Not exactly.

  7. Did Cannon ever work at the TTC?

  8. Congratulations to Mr. Clement for achieving unprecedented repetition of the word "work."

    But is there a subtle message behind it all? I wonder what Canadians are meant to believe the government is doing with their time off…

    • Anyone notice that the jarrids and wilsons have been utterly tepid in their daily vomiting of the daily talking points? I'm kinda worried about them, well, nah…

  9. Geez – that was pretty sad Tony. But at least it wasn't the bs 10%er flyer.

  10. "They want growth. They want opportunity. And, of course, the promise of a better tomorrow."

    Is it too much for the media to ask "How many Canadians besides your Conservative colleagues did you actually talk to?"

    Or, "Did no one say anything about better governance, peace in Afghanistan, healthcare or global warming? No one asked about pensions? The deficit?"

    Sounds to me like Mr. Clement spent the whole of January listening to beauty pageant speeches.

  11. What are they doing exactly? Except boasting about the Olympics?

  12. After what Tony Clement has done to Sudbury and their jobs…..he is the last person (ahem) in that party that should be talking about prosperity and jobs…….

  13. They were doing conservative party planning rather than government work, that's why reporters were not allowed.

  14. is "work" the new buzzword? I suspect that the ministers have been ordered to use that word at every possible opportunity

  15. Speaking as one who lives on the south coast, I'd like to protest the lack of recognition in his mere 'coast-to-coast-to-coast'.

    The rest of Clement's motherhood bilge is also worthless.

  16. The ReformaTories are clearly continuing to work in order to strive in an effort to endeavor…we are all grateful.

  17. Do you think itz izzy to work 'ard?

  18. Wow Tony, way to take one for the team. To come out and spew such complete and utter BS and present it as something meaningful or substantial, and with a straight face!
    You must have known you would be laughed at, and that your talking points would be dissected, and like a good servant you still did as you're told.
    Man I salute you, along with laughing at you.

  19. Apparently, the new CPC talking point is 'Work will set you free'. Oh, and 'Process'.

    One misses 'recalibration' already.

  20. Geez – that was pretty sad Tony. But at least it wasn't the bs 10%er flyer.

  21. That's the thing about government,” Mr. Clement mused. “We're actually doing things on behalf of Canadians.”

    Just what has Clement been reading? The Dick and jane politcs handbook? Politics for Uber Dummies?

  22. Government Research / Funding Scandal

    CAMH / Brock University / Privacy Commissioner of Canada

    Google

    Medicine Gone Bad

    or
    http://medicine-gone-bad.blogspot.com/

  23. Government Research / Funding Scandal

    CAMH / Brock University / Privacy Commissioner of Canada

    Google

    Medicine Gone Bad
    or
    http://medicine-gone-bad.blogspot.com/

  24. Great reporting on what our Great Leader's manservants are serving on a silver platter to themselves and on a copper plate to Canadians whose intelligence has been vastly "misunderestimated", together with their democratic yearnings, by those currently running the Zimbabwe of the North's agenda….

  25. I wonder if Rona Ambrose was back from her vacation in Tanzania or if Randy Hoback had returned from California or if Harold Albrecht had to interrupt his vacation for all this "work" by the Cons….

  26. My MP has been very active in his riding. Proroguing of parliament has been done many times but only when the Conservatives do it, does the press enjoy such a *put down* fest. Legislation cannot get through a Liberal dominated Senate anyway, nor can we ever have an elected Senate or term limits until there are some fundamental changes in the status quo.

  27. i need to talk with someone about this program, please..