Tony Clement wants to be leader of the Conservative Party. Perhaps he believes that the third time will be the charm. But, Bob Hepburn writes, there are five reasons Clement should reconsider his bid:
First, Clement deservedly earned the title of “The King of Pork-Barrel Politics” for his disgraceful role in doling out $50 million in special projects in his riding that were to be related to the 2010 G8 summit in Huntsville. Instead, most of the money went to totally unrelated projects far from the summit site, such as renovating bandshells and gazebos, planting flowers, repairing public washrooms and paving roads in his riding.Second, Clement became an international joke when he enthusiastically killed the important long-form census of 2011. He saw it as an invasion of privacy for asking such delicate questions as how many bathrooms are in your home. The move so outraged Munir Sheikh, the country’s chief statistician, that he quit in disgust.Third, Clement is talking up his immigrant background, but he has a lot to answer for on immigration. Despite being a senior cabinet minister, he did and said nothing over the last few years as the Harper government deliberately dragged its heels in allowing Syrian refugees to come to Canada. He also kept his mouth shut when his cabinet colleague Kellie Leitch proposed a snitch hotline clearly aimed at Muslims where people could report “barbaric cultural practices.”Fourth, Clement is a Harper clone — and happily so. Like Harper, he is stiff, devoid of charisma and uninspiring. He is well-liked by the out-of-favour Harperites and offers voters nothing fresh, from his call to stop funding the CBC to Iran-bashing that voters didn’t see — and reject — in Harper himself in the last election.
And, fifth, there is Peter Mackay. Hepburn is sure he too will throw his hat in the ring. Mackay also has lots of skeletons in his closet. But, at least, he seems less moribund than Clement.
All in all, they're not an inspiring bunch. But, then, they never were.
Image: Chris Young/Canadian Press