Tony Clement: Wikis


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The Honourable
 Tony Peter Clement 

Assumed office 
2006 federal election
Preceded by Andy Mitchell

Born January 27, 1961 (1961-01-27) (age 49)
Manchester, United Kingdom
Nationality Canada
United Kingdom
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Lynne Golding
Residence Port Sydney, Ontario[1]
Profession Businessman, counsel, lawyer
Portfolio Minister of Industry
Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

Tony Peter Clement, PC, MP (born January 27, 1961) is a Canadian politician, federal Minister of Industry, Minister for the Federal Economic Initiative for Northern Ontario (FedNor) and member of the Conservative Party of Canada.

Clement had previously served as an Ontario cabinet minister, most recently as Minister of Health and Long-Term Care under Premiers Mike Harris and Ernie Eves.

Moving to federal politics, he was a candidate for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada after its formation from the merger of the Progressive Conservative and Canadian Alliance parties in 2004 but ultimately lost to Stephen Harper.
Clement won the seat of Parry Sound—Muskoka in the 2006 federal election, defeating incumbent Liberal cabinet minister Andy Mitchell. The Conservatives formed a government in the election and Clement was appointed as the Minister of Health and Minister for FedNor.


Early life and career

Clement was born Tony Panayi in Manchester, England to a Greek Cypriot father and Canadian mother. He emigrated to Canada in childhood with his mother and later adopted his last name from his stepfather, Ontario politician John Clement.[2]

As a student at the University of Toronto, he was elected twice, both as an undergraduate and as a law student, to the university governing council . He was also president of the campus Progressive Conservatives.[2] He first attracted the attention of the media in 1985 when he created a new society to invite the Ambassador of South Africa, Glen Babb, to speak at the University of Toronto after the International Law Society had withdrawn an invitation as too controversial because of apartheid.[3] The law school's dean, J.S.R. Pritchard, disagreed with the invitation saying of Babb, "He is the official spokesman or representative of a grotesque regime built on violence and racism. In extending an invitation the student group runs the risk of providing symbolic legitimacy to the ambassador and to the regime he represents."[3]

Clement was also an admirer of US President Ronald Reagan and of Margaret Thatcher's government in the United Kingdom.[4]

A graduate of the University of Toronto, he completed degrees in political science in 1983, and law in 1986, and was called to the Ontario Bar in 1988.

Clement became president of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario in 1990 and was a close ally of then-party leader Mike Harris. He ran, unsuccessfully, for Metro Toronto Council in 1994 losing to David Miller in the riding of Parkdale-High Park. He served as Harris's Assistant Principal Secretary from 1992 to 1995, and played a leading role in drafting policy directives for the Common Sense Revolution.

In provincial politics

He was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario in the provincial election of 1995, defeating incumbent Liberal Bob Callahan by over 6,000 votes in the riding of Brampton South. After serving as a parliamentary assistant for two years, he was appointed Minister of Transportation on October 10, 1997. One of the initiatives under his watch was the completion of Highway 403, which had been discontinuous for decades. He also represented the Progressive Conservative government on a variety of televised discussion panels, and won a reputation as a rising star in the party.

Clement was re-elected in the provincial election of 1999, defeating Liberal candidate Vic Dhillon by over 8,000 votes. He was promoted to Minister of the Environment on June 17, 1999, and served in this capacity until May 3, 2000. In this role he established the program known as Ontario's Drive Clean, which mandated periodic emissions tests on vehicles in southern Ontario.

Clement was appointed Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing on October 25, 1999, and held this position until February 8, 2001.

On February 8, 2001, Clement was appointed Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. He initiated primary care reform, oversaw the implementation of Telehealth Ontario (a toll-free health information line staffed by registered nurses), and expanded Ontario's hospitals system. He also introduced elements of private delivery within the single-payer public system by approving a private cancer care clinic in Toronto and entered into a public-private partnership for a hospital redevelopment in Brampton. His supporters launded him as an innovative and effective administrator, while critics disapproved of his advocacy of public-private partnerships and gave him the nickname "two-tier Tony".

When Mike Harris resigned as party leader, Clement ran to succeed him in the party's 2002 leadership election. During this campaign, his relationship with rival candidate Jim Flaherty deteriorated significantly. The atmosphere between them became poisoned through a series of personal attacks (some have suggested that Flaherty's campaign was behind a broadside that described Clement's wife as a lawyer for abortion doctors). While both Clement and Flaherty were perceived as being on the right wing of the party, Clement challenged his opponent's policies on the homeless, a proposal to ban teachers' strikes and other issues.

Clement finished third on the first ballot, and threw his support to victorious candidate Ernie Eves on the second. When Eves became Premier, he kept Clement in the Health portfolio.

Clement was especially prominent when Toronto suffered an outbreak of SARS in the summer of 2003, travelling to Geneva in a successful bid to urge the World Health Organization to lift a travel ban to Canada's largest city.[5]

The Eves government was defeated in the 2003 provincial election, and Clement was unexpectedly defeated by Vic Dhillon by about 2,500 votes in a rematch from 1999. Clement afterwards worked as a counsel for Bennett Jones LLP.

Federal politics

Clement first became prominent in federal politics in 2000, sitting on the steering committee for the United Alternative. This initiative was meant to provide a framework for the Reform Party and Progressive Conservative Party to unite under a single banner. It did not accomplish this end, but nonetheless led to the formation of the Canadian Alliance later in the year; Clement served as the Alliance's founding President.

Soon after the election, Clement declared himself a candidate for the leadership of the new Conservative Party of Canada. His support base was undercut by the candidacy of Belinda Stronach, however, and he placed third with only 9% of the party's leadership vote, while Stephen Harper emerged as the winner.

He then sought election as the Conservative Party candidate in Brampton West in the 2004 federal election, but lost to Liberal incumbent Colleen Beaumier by about 3,500 votes.

For his second attempt to win a seat in the Canadian House of Commons, in the 2006 campaign, he switched to the Parry Sound—Muskoka riding where he owned a cottage. On election night, he was declared to be the winner, by 21 votes. Upon conclusion of the judicial recount, Clement was found to have defeated Mitchell by 28 votes: 18,513-18,485.

Minister of Health

He was criticized for continuing to hold a 25% stake in a pharmaceutical company (Prudential Chem Inc.) when appointed, a conflict of interest. Clement divested himself of these holdings in October 2006.[6]

Some of Clement's initiatives included establishing the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, announcing a national strategy on Autism, and working towards establishing Canada's first Patient Wait Times Guarantees.

Clement attended the XVI International AIDS Conference in Toronto in August 2006, which Prime Minister Stephen Harper did not attend, causing some controversy. Clement was booed by some conference participants, likely because of his role as surrogate for the Prime Minister. He focused most of his time at the conference promising to investigate the failure of the Canada Access to Medicines Regime to effectively fulfill its purpose of sending Canadian-manufactured generic drugs to developing countries, as per the August 30 Agreement at the World Trade Organization. After further criticism on the lack of new announcement on its efforts to combat AIDS, Clement responded saying that the atmosphere at the conference had become too "politicized". On December 1, World AIDS Day, International Cooperation Minister Josee Verner announced a $450 million investment over the next 10 years to fight AIDS.

On September 29, 2007, the CBC reported Clement's new strategy to combat the growing drug abuse problem in Canada. "The party is over" for illicit drug users, he announced, with the new policy aiming towards widespread arrest of drug users, in contrast to the old strategy of targeting dealers. Over 130 physicians and scientists signed a petition condemning the Conservative government's "potentially deadly" misrepresentation of the positive evidence for harm reduction programs. Clement stated that governments in Canada have been sending the wrong message about drug use, and he wanted to clear up the mixed messages going out about illicit drugs.[7]

Insite safe injection site

On May 29, 2008, Clement announced that the federal government would oppose Vancouver's safe injection site Insite and would appeal a recent court ruling allowing the site to stay open. Clement's position is that "supervised injection is not medicine; it does not heal the person addicted to drugs. Injection not only causes physical harm, it also deepens and prolongs the addiction. Programs to support supervised injection divert valuable dollars away from treatment. And government-sponsored supervised injection sends a very mixed message to young people who are contemplating the use of illicit drugs." In his ruling, Mr. Justice Ian Pitfield upheld arguments that Insite provided vital health services to addicts by reducing the possibility of drug overdoses, curbing the risk of transmitting infectious diseases and giving users access to counselling that may lead to abstinence. As a result, Insite's injection-drug users have the right to protection from drug laws under Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms that guarantees everyone "life, liberty and security of the person," . The federal government was given until June 30, 2009, to redraft laws against possession and trafficking of illegal drugs to accommodate Insite's operation. Without that adjustment, those key sections of the law are unconstitutional, Judge Pitfield said.[8]

On August 18, 2008 Clement asked an annual gathering of doctors in Montreal “Is it unethical for health-care professionals to support the administration of drugs that are of unknown substance or purity or potency, drugs that cannot otherwise be legally prescribed?” and went on to say that doctors who worked at Insite have created a "slippery slope". Dr. Brian Day, president of the Canadian Medical Association, responded to Mr. Clement by saying 79 per cent of [Canadian Medical Association] members agree that the injection sites work because they advocate harm reduction. Dr. Gabor Mate, a physician that works with drug addicts, said “The repugnant aspect is his attack on the morality and ethics of human beings who are trying to work with a very difficult population." and “I mean where does he come off? Where does he appoint himself as a moral judge of professionals who he doesn't understand and knows nothing about?”[9]

Minister of Industry

On October 30, 2008, Clement was sworn into the office of Industry Minister.[10] This includes the appointment to the Office of the Registrar General of Canada.

He came under fire in July 2009 when, in an interview with the Sudbury Star regarding a strike at Vale Inco's operations in Sudbury, he characterized Vale's 2006 takeover of Inco as having saved the company from imminent bankruptcy, and the city of Sudbury from becoming a "valley of death".[11] Former Inco CEO Scott Hand noted that at the time of the takeover, Inco was in fact a very stable and wealthy company which was the target of one of the most hotly-contested bidding wars in recent Canadian business history, and that the company had not made any announcement suggesting that any jobs in the Sudbury area were under threat.[12] He backtracked from the comment on July 24, calling it a "boneheaded" way to express the point he had been making.[13] When asked if he was apologizing, however, Clement replied: "I think, you know, apologies are for tragedies."[14]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ a b Conservative to his roots, Toronto Star, January 4, 2002, p. J03 
  3. ^ a b Linda Hossie (January 15, 1986), Law students plan new group to invite Pretoria ambassador, Globe and Mail, p. A14 
  4. ^ "The backlash against Davis began with the party's youth - neo-conservatives like Tom Long and Tony Clement, whose heroes were Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, not Frost and Davis. For Long, the middle of the road was for "yellow lines and dead skunks." in Urquhart, Ian, "Tory pendulum swings - but how far?", Toronto Star, April 13, 2002
  5. ^ [2]
  6. ^ Clement stands guard. URL: Accessed on: April 20, 2008.
  7. ^ Tories plan get-tough national drug strategy
  8. ^ Ottawa wants safe-injection site shut down
  9. ^ The Canadian Press (August 20, 2008). "Doctor calls Clement's Insite comments 'repugnant'". The Canadian Press. Retrieved October 18, 2008. 
  10. ^ "Economy is priority, PM says after shuffling cabinet". 2008-10-30. Retrieved 2008-10-30. 
  11. ^ "Clement's takeover hangover". The Globe and Mail, July 22, 2009.
  12. ^ "Clement's 'Valley of Death' comments scrutinized in national press". Northern Life, July 22, 2009.
  13. ^ "Industry minister Clement says comments were 'boneheaded'". Northern Life, July 24, 2009.
  14. ^ "Clement contrite, but not quite sorry". Sudbury Star, July 25, 2009.

External links

28th Ministry - Government of Stephen Harper
Cabinet Posts (2)
Predecessor Office Successor
Jim Prentice Minister of Industry
Ujjal Dosanjh Minister of Health
Leona Aglukkaq
Provincial Government of Ernie Eves
Cabinet Posts (1)
Predecessor Office Successor
Continued from the Harris Ministry Minister of Health and Long-Term Care
George Smitherman
Provincial Government of Mike Harris
Cabinet Posts (4)
Predecessor Office Successor
Elizabeth Witmer Minister of Health and Long-Term Care
Continued into the Eves Ministry
Steve Gilchrist Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Chris Hodgson
Norman Sterling Minister of the Environment
Dan Newman
Al Palladini Minister of Transportation
David Turnbull

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