When persistence precedes essence

My colleague James Cowan has a profile of Tony Clement in the new Canadian Business. It’s framed around Clement’s attempts to maintain his conservative principles in a government that has none. The piece is interesting throughout, largely because it gives a good sense of how Clement perceives himself, but I found this quotation from the minister on cabinet solidarity particularly interesting:

“We obviously work as a team,” the minister says. “I have never, so far, found a case where I have been in such disagreement with the eventual outcome that I’ve posed the existential question about whether I will continue with the ministry or not.”

After the summer and fall he has had, in which, among other things, he hung a career public servant out to dry, engaged in an orgy of truthiness, and then, most recently, allowed himself to be completely rolled by the prime minister over the Potash deal, it is worth asking the obvious question of the minister:

Mr. Clement, what would lead you to pose the existential question?