Plane Talk: Tony Clement on moving from government to Opposition and building a music career

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Two decades and counting. Conservative MP Tony Clement talks about what’s next in his lengthy political career, a possible leadership bid and his upcoming musical gigs – May 1, 2016

Tony Clement has announced his intention to run for a leadership position, but it’s not the one you think.

“I’d like to announce my candidacy for the leadership of this airplane!” the veteran Conservative quipped as he and the West Block’s Tom Clark took to the skies aboard Clark’s Cessna 172 Skyhawk.

Clement certainly has the credentials, having flown frequently with his stepfather, but he also has the political credentials to replace former Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Asked if he’s considering a run, Clement said he hasn’t made up his mind quite yet.

“But getting lots of encouragement, and still talking to people around the country and I’m feeling good about things,” he said. “I haven’t definitively decided, but we’re moving in that direction, sure.”

READ MORE: Want to run for Conservative party leader? It will cost you $100,000

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Clement said moving from government to Opposition last fall has meant a change in his daily routine, but it’s not all bad.

“I’m doing a lot more walking with my Fitbit, it’s great,” he joked.

“People have come up to me a lot and said, ‘How are you doing? How do you feel? Is everything okay?’ And I feel good. You know, I had my stint in government. I want to be back in government at some point. But being in Opposition is a worthy place to be and as long as I can ask the questions and demand the answers and articulate policy positions that I think are important to the country, that’s what I really care about.”

Clement also talked about his side-career as a guitar player, saying he has several gigs lined up over the next few months and is trying to defend his growing guitar collection to his wife.

“I’ve had one paying gig so far, at the Bracebridge Beer Fest,” he said. “And I got paid 100 bucks.”

See the full interview, featuring Clement’s rendition of a U2 classic, above.

WATCH: In this extended version of Plane Talk, Tony Clement talks about life after being a member of Stephen Harper’s cabinet and being a musical late-bloomer.

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