Liberal defence critic Denis Coderre rose this afternoon to ask Peter MacKay about the proposed purchase of some military aircraft. After MacKay had dismissed the question, Coderre turned to Industry Minister Tony Clement to ask about a potential conflict of interest.
“We know that there is a delay caused by the industry minister,” he said. “We already know that the former minister of defence worked for Hill & Knowlton, the lobby firm that promoted EADS’ CASA-295, a competitor of Alenia’s C-27J. Interestingly enough, now, the current chief of staff of the industry minister, William King, has been senior vice-president for the very same firm. Would the Mindistry of Industry assure this House that his chief of staff was not involved in any meetings with Public Works and National Defence for that bid and that he recused himself from that file?”
Clement was unimpressed.
“Mr. Speaker, I have only been in this House for just over three years. That is the lowest of the low. That is outrageous. I demand he retract it and apologize. He is skimming the bottom of the barrel,” he said, sounding positively besmirched. “The member should say that outside this House and then we will talk about the lawsuit that will prevail, I am sure.”
At this, he gestured towards the door. His mates on the government side applauded proudly.
Shortly after Question Period, Denis Coderre wandered into the House foyer and made his way to the microphone.
“Tony Clement m’a demandé de répéter la question outside,” he said.
And so he did.