Tony Clement: Tory Minister Apologizes To Teen For Calling Him 'Jack Ass' On Twitter

Tony Clement Jackass Twitter

The Huffington Post Canada   First Posted: 01/10/12 09:31 AM ET Updated: 01/10/12 09:35 AM ET

Tony Clement is the latest Canadian politician to put his foot in his mouth on Twitter.

The Treasury Board President has apologized for calling 15-year-old Keith Pettinger a "Jack ass" in a private Twitter message, according to the Toronto Star.

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It all started while Clement was watching CBC's "Hockey Night in Canada" on Saturday Night. The Minister tweeted "Coach’s Corner gave me a lot to think about tonite."

Tony Clement
Coach's Corner gave me a lot to think about tonite...

Pettinger responded with two tweets. First: "Tonight* ...if you can't spell how can you run Canada's treasury?" and then "would you like to come to Parry Sound High School on Monday with me and learn how to tonight properly?"

Keith Pettinger
“@TonyclementCPC: Coach's Corner gave me a lot to think about tonite...” Tonight* ...if you can't spell how can you run Canada's treasury?

Keith Pettinger
would you like to come to Parry Sound High School on Monday with me and learn how to tonight properly?

It seemed as if that was the end of the exchange, but then Clement responded to Pettinger on Sunday via the direct private message feature on Twitter. Clement then wrote "It’s ‘don’t know’ not ‘dunno.’ Jack ass," according to the Star, who were sent screenshots of the conversation by Pettinger.

Pettinger responded that he wasn't sure where he had used the word "dunno" but admitted that his "spelling and grammar is not great" and then apologized for calling Clement out but that he "just wanted someone so involved with my, and Canada's money to spell properly."

Clement said sorry for his choice of words on Monday, acknowledging that he "could have been more polite," according to the Star.

Despite the apology, Clement could be seen making light of the affair on Twitter on Monday. Joking about the spelling he used for jackass and suggesting that perhaps he should have used the term "weisenheimer" or "SmartAss" instead.

Tony Clement
"Jackass", thanks. Not to be confused with "Thanks, jackass"...

Tony Clement
Yup. Or "wisenheimer" RT I would have gone with SmartAss instead.

Tony Clement
Let me apologize right now to all the weisenheimers for using the term "wisenheimer". Thx bye.

Tony Clement
Apparently it can be spelled "wisenheimer" or "weisenheimer". I just learned that...

Clement is known for his frequent use of Twitter. The Minister has more than 20,000 followers and has sent out more than 4,500 tweets. He is also leading the Conservative's charge for the international Open Government initiative, aimed at using new technology to share information with the public. Clement held a Twitter town hall on the initiative this December.

This isn't the first time the social-media savvy Tory has used the term jackass on Twitter. In December 2010, he tweeted "Hey jackass: Baird's attending a funeral tomorrow" after Keith Torrie, the National Director of the Young Liberals tweeted that he had seen Minister of Foreign Affairds John Baird carrying a designer bag on a flight.

Clement's choice of words seem tame compared to those selected by other Canadian politicians over the last several months.

In November, NDP MP Pat Martin sparked a firestorm online after sending out a series of profane tweets in a moment of outrage over the Tories ending debate on a budget-related bill.

In December, Bob Rae called "bullshit" on Twitter over a feud within the youth-wing of the Liberal Party.

However, Rae's Twitter profanity was soon overshadowed by Liberal MP Justin Trudeau's outburst in question period, in which he called Environment Minister Peter Kent "a piece of shit."

You can check out famous moments of political profanity in the slideshow below.

Related on HuffPost:

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  • Careless Whisper

    However you look at Canada's 15th prime minister, it's hard not to see Pierre Elliott Trudeau as a politician cut from a very different cloth. While much of his globe-trotting, playboy image was doubtless driven by the media -- Trudeau was actually a workaholic and sleepless intellectual -- the man certainly had his moments. Luckily, the news wasn't delivered quite so relentlessly in 1971 as it is these days - or Trudeau wouldn't have heard the end of it when he told an opposition member to <a href=" elliott trudeau.html">"F-- Off".</a> Well, actually he mouthed it. And although the TV tape clearly captured his salty salute, Trudeau was allowed to tell reporters he had actually said 'Fuddle Duddle'. And that was that.

  • That's Pat F--ing Martin, To You

    Outspoken doesn't seem to quite cut it when describing NDP MP Pat Martin. The man speaks out a lot. And every now and then, he brings the thunder. Like last November, when he treated his 1,400 Twitter followers to a <a href="">smorgasbord of swearage.</a> "This is a f---ing disgrace... closure again. And on the Budget! There's not a democracy in the world that would tolerate this jackboot s---." And the cherry on top? Telling one of his followers, "F-- you."

  • What About Bob?

    Interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae took a page from Pat Martin's profanity playbook on Wednesday -- <a href="">and took it to Twitter.</a> A tweet about a feud between liberals Zach Paikin and Max Naylor may have caught him before breakfast. "What bullshit is this?" he tweeted back. Sure, the word likely ceased offending most people decades ago. In fact, we don't even bother covering most of the letters with asterisks. But hey, it does incorporate the s-word - which we still cover with asterisks.

  • No Fuddle Duddling Around

    Unlike his father, Justin Trudeau didn't merely mouth the words. In fact, he let them ring out from the rafters at the House of Commons on December 14. 'You piece of sh---' The recipient? Environment Minister Peter Kent. You know, Canada's <a href="">public face of Kyoto withdrawal.</a> Also unlike his father, young Trudeau probably knew the Fuddle Duddle Defence wouldn't cut it. So within minutes of uttering the words, he owned up to them. "I lost my temper and used language that was most decidedly unparliamentary and for that I unreservedly apologize and withdraw my remark," Trudeau said at the end of question period.

  • 15-Year-Old 'Jack Ass'

    <a href="">Treasury Board President Tony Clement was forced to apologize after calling 15-year-old Keith Pettinger a "Jack ass"</a> in a private Twitter message. Clement sent the message after the teen criticized the spelling in one of the minister's tweets.