Mul­ti­ple acts of in­fi­delity

MP Clement ad­mits he ‘crossed lines that should never have been crossed’

North Bay Nugget - - FRONT PAGE -

OT­TAWA — Con­ser­va­tive MP Tony Clement says he has en­gaged in more than one in­ap­pro­pri­ate on­line ex­change.

In a let­ter to con­stituents posted on his web­site Thurs­day morn­ing, Clement wrote that the ex­changes led to mul­ti­ple acts of in­fi­delity.

Clement wrote that one ex­change led to a woman be­ing of­fered money through an anony­mous so­cial me­dia ac­count in ex­change for in­ti­mate and per­sonal in­for­ma­tion, and he con­tacted On­tario po­lice to re­port that ex­change last sum­mer.

“Dur­ing a pe­riod of per­sonal dif­fi­culty and weak­ness I en­gaged in in­ap­pro­pri­ate ex­changes that crossed lines that should never have been crossed. These ex­changes led to acts of in­fi­delity,” Clement wrote.

On Tues­day, Clement re­signed from his role as his party’s jus­tice critic and from his com­mit­tee du­ties, af­ter ad­mit­ting to send­ing sex­u­ally ex­plicit im­ages and a video to some­one he thought was a con­sent­ing woman who he says tried to ex­tort him.

Ini­tially party leader An­drew Scheer did not ask him to leave cau­cus, say­ing he be­lieved Clement’s claim that the ex­change that led to the ex­tor­tion at­tempt was iso­lated.

Scheer’s stance shifted Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon af­ter he learned of more al­le­ga­tions from women post­ing about Clement’s be­hav­iour on so­cial me­dia.

“New in­for­ma­tion be­came avail­able to­day that sug­gest there are al­le­ga­tions that this is not an iso­lated in­ci­dent and there­fore I’ve asked Tony to re­sign from cau­cus and he has done so,” Scheer said.

Clement wrote on Thurs­day that he had let him­self and ev­ery­one who cares about him down. “Pride and van­ity got the bet­ter of me, and shame held me back from get­ting back to the path of good,” he wrote.

“I apol­o­gize to the women with whom the ex­changes oc­curred, and I also apol­o­gize to any­one else who felt in any way that I crossed on­line bound­aries that made them feel un­com­fort­able, even with­out my know­ing. I am deeply sorry,” he wrote.

He said his of­fice in Parry Sound­muskoka will re­main open and he will con­tinue his re­spon­si­bil­i­ties as an MP.

Clement was a Con­ser­va­tive party stal­wart, a cabi­net min­is­ter in Stephen Harper’s govern­ment and twice a can­di­date for the fed­eral party lead­er­ship. He dropped out of the most re­cent lead­er­ship con­test early on and en­dorsed Maxime Bernier. He also ran for the pro­vin­cial Tory lead­er­ship in On­tario, where he was once a cabi­net min­is­ter.

Clement is a heavy user of so­cial me­dia, fre­quently post­ing on Twit­ter and “lik­ing” posts on In­sta­gram.

He is mar­ried to lawyer and au­thor Lynne Gold­ing.

Here is a full copy of the let­ter MP Tony Clement posted on his web­site on Thurs­day:

This is Tony Clement and this mes­sage is for my con­stituents in Parry Sound—muskoka.

I have had the tremen­dous hon­our and priv­i­lege of serv­ing as your Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment since 2006, a trust that has been re­newed through four con­sec­u­tive fed­eral elec­tions. Whether on the govern­ment or op­po­si­tion side of the aisle, whether serv­ing at the Cabi­net ta­ble or on the back bench, my top pri­or­ity has al­ways been, and con­tin­ues to be, work­ing for the peo­ple and com­mu­ni­ties of Parry Sound—muskoka. I have done so tire­lessly, with pas­sion and en­joy­ment from the first mo­ment I re­ceived the hon­our to work on your be­half.

I have al­ways aimed to serve with hu­mil­ity and to­day, I am writ­ing to you di­rectly to ad­dress a num­ber of poor de­ci­sions in my per­sonal and pri­vate life. Dur­ing a pe­riod of per­sonal dif­fi­culty and weak­ness I en­gaged in in­ap­pro­pri­ate ex­changes that crossed lines that should never have been crossed. These ex­changes led to acts of in­fi­delity. One in­ap­pro­pri­ate ex­change led to a woman be­ing of­fered money by an anony­mous so­cial me­dia ac­count in ex­change for the dis­clo­sure of in­ti­mate and per­sonal in­for­ma­tion. I im­me­di­ately re­ported this per­sonal mat­ter to the OPP last sum­mer. Most re­cently, an­other in­ap­pro­pri­ate ex­change led to for­eign ac­tors at­tempt­ing to use my in­dis­cre­tion for fi­nan­cial ex­tor­tion which, with­out hes­i­ta­tion or sec­ond thought, I im­me­di­ately re­ported to the RCMP. While these ex­changes were en­tirely con­sen­sual and mu­tual, they were ab­so­lutely wrong and should never have oc­curred.

In con­duct­ing my­self this way I’ve let down my­self, my fam­ily, my friends and sup­port­ers, my com­mu­nity, my work col­leagues, and my staff — ba­si­cally ev­ery­one I care about and who care about me. Pride and van­ity got the bet­ter of me, and shame held me back from get­ting back to the path of good. I apol­o­gize to the women with whom the ex­changes oc­curred, and I also apol­o­gize to any­one else who felt in any way that I crossed on­line bound­aries that made them feel un­com­fort­able, even with­out my know­ing. I am deeply sorry.

I want to be clear that at no time have these per­sonal lapses im­pacted or in­volved my day to day work as a Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment on be­half of our com­mu­ni­ties. That said, I of­fer you no ex­cuses for my con­duct. I take full re­spon­si­bil­ity. Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment are ex­pected to set a high stan­dard, a stan­dard I have failed to meet.

In par­tic­u­lar, I have failed the most im­por­tant per­son in my life, my wife who has been with me through the many ups and downs of pub­lic ser­vice. She has made many sac­ri­fices along the way in or­der to build a lov­ing home and a won­der­ful fam­ily. I can­not undo the pain and hurt my ac­tions have caused. All I can do is own up to what I have done and com­mit my­self to re­build­ing our trust, how­ever long that may take. The mis­takes I have made in my per­sonal life, for those who know me, do not re­flect who I am. I am re­solved to re­fo­cus, to work hard, and to heal the dam­age I have caused to those most im­por­tant in my life.

I love my job and I love my fam­ily. I am com­mit­ted to get­ting the pro­fes­sional help I need to con­tinue serv­ing my fam­ily, my com­mu­nity and my coun­try in what­ever ways I can. I wish to sin­cerely thank the many mem­bers of our com­mu­nity who have reached out to con­vey their thoughts and prayers to me. I can as­sure the res­i­dents of Parry Sound—muskoka that my of­fices re­main open and at your ser­vice, and that I will con­tinue to up­hold the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of be­ing your Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment.

Sin­cerely,

Tony Clement

M.P., Parry Sound—muskoka

The cana­dian Press/an­drew VAUGHAN

Tony Clement ar­rives at the na­tional Con­ser­va­tive sum­mer cau­cus re­treat in Hal­i­fax in Septem­ber 2016.

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