03/13/2014 04:24 EDT | Updated 03/13/2014 04:59 EDT

MP Tony Clement At SXSW 2014: 'Canadians Are Punching Above Their Weight'

Joshua Ostroff/HuffPost Canada

You never know who will appear at SXSW. This year has seen everyone from NSA leaker Edward Snowden and sweater aficionado Bill Cosby to Kanye and Lady Gaga, but MP Tony Clement, president of the Treasury Board, was still a surprise to see.

The Conservative MP was not here in Austin, Texas on official business, but on vacation.

"I've got a passion for music," Clement told The Huffington Post Canada, "I wanted to spend a bit of time learning more about emerging artists, especially the Canadian ones. Basically, I'm a huge music lover and fan wanted to spend a few days here."

This was Clement's first time at the 28-year-old music festival. "I've been to North by Northeast, of course, in Toronto, but this is the mothership and to even scratch the surface of the 2000 bands that are performing here, that's my idea of a fun time."

He arrived on Tuesday and plans to stay right up until the festival closes on Sunday.

"I don't have a list, I don't want to see established acts, I can see them anywhere, but if I can see some emerging artists I can talk about with other people, that would be the real thrill of this."

In particular, Clement mentioned he was impressed with Prides from Glasgow, and Vancouver duo The Harpoonist and the Axe Murder.

When asked what learnings he thinks he'll be able to take back with him to the federal government to help support Canadian music, Clement said, "I think we do a good job of that, We just renewed the Music Fund and its good to see how connected we are with the Canadian Independent Music Association as well as Music Canada, so I want to see that continue."

"I think it's important for artists in our country and we've seen here that Canadians are punching above their weight."

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