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Even though he was only 14-years old, the 1975 Ontario provincial election was an important one for Treasury Board President Tony Clement. In this clip, Tony explains why he became personally invested in the re-election of Conservative MPP William Hodgson, and how a simple barbeque invitation might have significantly altered his political career.
George Stroumboulopoulos: I'm going to take you back to 1975. Watch this clip here:
Clip: Good evening. The Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario which has held a firm grip on this province through 32 years and 9 provincial elections has just squeaked into power tonight, with a minority of seats in the provincial legislature.
GS: That's the provincial election of 1975 - that was an impactful election on your life.
Tony Clement: Indeed. My mother, a single mother raising a young lad, 14-years of age. Her boss was re-elected as a PC, a member of provincial Parliament and on that same night my future stepdad was defeated as a Cabinet Minister ... she was working at Queen's Park, admin assistant kind of role and just trying to put food on the table for herself and her kid and that's how I got involved in politics. It was kind of if her boss lost the election she was out of a job.
GS: did you campaign?
TC: I stuffed envelopes and delivered leaflets and did all the entry level stuff and of course, the political bug bit at that point.
GS: If she was working for a Liberal you might be a Liberal now.
TC: I tell the story --
GS: God forbid, a New Democrat.
TC: Yeah, yeah, a year before that, a friend of mine at the time said, 'hey, David Lewis is having a barbecue. Would you like to come along? I said 'Nah, I'm good.' But I always wonder, if I went to the David Lewis barbecue would I be a rabid NDP- er?