POLITICS

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

01/10/2012 09:31 EST | Updated 01/10/2012 09:35 EST
CP

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.

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."

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?"

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.

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.

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