TORIES CAUGHT WITH THEIR PANTS DOWN IN THE ERA OF #METOO

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Po­lit­i­cal trou­ble of­ten ar­rives in threes. It’s rare, though, for one politi­cian to get in three kinds of trou­ble all at the same time.

Tony Clement, the now-for­mer Con­ser­va­tive, the long-time MP from Parry Sound-muskoka, has some­how pulled it off.

With the rev­e­la­tion this week of Clement’s con­fessed sex­ting ad­ven­tures with a would-be ex­tor­tion­ist, this for­mer min­is­ter and lead­er­ship con­tender has landed on the wrong side of at least three big themes in the po­lit­i­cal news.

The #Metoo move­ment; dig­i­tal hack­ing, se­cu­rity and per­sonal pri­vacy con­cerns; and fi­nally, but not in­signifs­tart

icantly, an emerg­ing drama at Queen’s Park, with pro­vin­cial Con­ser­va­tives go­ing through their own con­tro­ver­sies over al­leged sex­ual mis­be­haviour.

We may never know what mo­ti­vated Clement to place his long po­lit­i­cal ca­reer so close to the flames of self­im­mo­la­tion, but we do know it took a par­tic­u­lar de­tach­ment from some high-pro­file cur­rent events.

with the grow­ing num­ber of al­le­ga­tions about Clement’s re­la­tions with young women, which were pop­ping up vi­rally all over so­cial me­dia on Wed­nes­day. Even if only the ad­mit­ted case is cor­rect, how did the #Metoo move­ment es­cape the no­tice of this MP?

Was Clement away dur­ing the last few years when Par­lia­ment — no, the whole world, re­ally — was talk­ing about sex­ual ha­rass­ment on the job and in pub­lic life? The sins to which Clement has con­fessed — im­proper ex­change of sex­ual in­for­ma­tion with a young woman on­line — were so ob­vi­ously wrong, said Con­ser­va­tive Leader An­drew Scheer, that the of­fi­cial Op­po­si­tion doesn’t even need a code of con­duct to cover it.

“I don’t know that too many peo­ple would have to be told not to share ex­plicit video and images with peo­ple that you haven’t met,” Scheer told re­porters on Wed­nes­day.

The Con­ser­va­tives have been try­ing to ap­pear more fe­male-friendly in the run-up to the next elec­tion, know­ing that women’s votes could be cru­cial to any hopes of re­gain­ing power in 2019. Clement’s al­leged type of friend­li­ness with young women — sadly not the first around Par­lia­ment Hill — wasn’t ex­actly the look they were seek­ing. One does won­der about the per­sis­tence of this be­hav­iour, de­spite all the bad at­ten­tion it’s re­ceived over the past few years, but that’s an­other sad story.

HOW DID THE #METOO MOVE­MENT ES­CAPE THE NO­TICE OF THIS MP?

THE CANADIAN PRESS

Tony Clement’s ad­mis­sion he sent sex­ual photos to an un­known party looks bad for him and the Con­ser­va­tives on sev­eral counts, writes Su­san Dela­court.

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