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Tony Clement in a Quandary

From June 18, 2008

As a member of elected government and cabinet, Tony Clement has certain responsibilities that go beyond the obvious duties of representing the people of his constituency and maintaining his ministerial portfolio. He has an ethical and legal obligation to avoid financial or personal improprieties. He must ensure that his business relationships and investments are not in conflict with his role in government, and for the sake of public confidence in the government, he should not even present the appearance of conflict.

Despite this, at the time Tony Clement was named to the cabinet as Health Minister, he held a 25% stake in Prudential Chem Inc, a pharmaceutical giant.

"I don't see what discussion or vote he could take part in," said Duff Conacher, of Democracy Watch. "It all affects drug companies - every decision as health minister. Why would he want to be sitting there with that question hanging over him?"

It is little surprise that the Health Ministry soon produced a bill, C-51, which would reduce the availability of natural and herbal therapeutic products, to the tremendous benefit of Big Pharma. Now Clement, by that time, had sold his shares in Prudential Chem. Yet it is worth noting that the man he sold them to, Vikram Khurana, was appointed by Stephen Harper to the directorship of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada less than a year later.