On Thursday, September 18, 2014, as part of the Mosbacher Institute’s Conversations in Public Policy Event, Minister Tony Clement, President of the Treasury Board of Canada, was scheduled to share his experiences in promoting accountability and transparency in the Canadian federal government. Unfortunately, due to urgent Parliamentary business, Minister Clement was unable to attend in person. The Canadian Prime Minister cancelled travel for all members of Parliament to ensure they were present for a critical debate and vote.
Although the event had to be canceled, the Mosbacher Institute was able to arrange a teleconference meeting between Dr. Cole Blease Graham’s Public Budgeting class and Minister Tony Clement. The interactive session lasted for about one hour during which Minister Clement shared his experiences and took questions from students.
Minister Clement was thoroughly impressed by the quality of the discussion he had with the students, and tweeted about the experience. Dr. Graham too was very pleased that his students got the opportunity to converse on a personal and professional level with such a distinguished public servant as Minister Clement. “Class members were really impressed with Minister Clement and his discussion. We spent at least another half hour reflecting on his presentation points and implications for best practices in public budgeting. Students expressed the hope they may be able to serve with an individual like Minister Clement in the future,” said Dr. Graham.
Students in the class were equally thrilled to have had this opportunity. Matthew Watson, second year student at the Bush School, felt that students learned a great deal and improved their grasp on budgeting in public service due to their interaction with Minister Clement: “The opportunity to interact with Minister Clement was invaluable to me and my classmates. We were able to have direct access to one of the most influential budgeting officers in the world, and ask him candid questions regarding the differences in public administration, budgeting, and the political processes in our countries.” Mr. Watson also added that in addition to being very knowledgeable about the nexus of politics, finance, and policy formation, Minister Clement was able to provide insights on a number of topics affecting Canada and the United States today, ranging from technological advances in the public service to the performance-based budgeting movement in government affairs.
The Mosbacher Institute is very grateful to Minister Clement for making the teleconference possible and is pleased to be able to share a recorded video via the link above. Additionally, the Institute hopes to arrange for the Minister to visit in person at some future date.