Clement no longer a Con­ser­va­tive MP af­ter more al­le­ga­tions arise

The Recorder & Times (Brockville) - - NATIONAL NEWS - MIA RAB­SON THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

OT­TAWA — Long­time Con­ser­va­tive MP Tony Clement was forced out of his party cau­cus Wed­nes­day, the day af­ter he ad­mit­ted to send­ing some­one sex­u­ally ex­plicit images and a video.

He said in a state­ment is­sued Tues­day evening that he’d sent the images in the last three weeks to some­one he be­lieved to be a “con­sent­ing fe­male” but who later de­manded money if Clement didn’t want them posted pub­licly.

Ini­tially Clement re­signed only as the party’s jus­tice critic and from his com­mit­tee roles; Con­ser­va­tive Leader An­drew Scheer didn’t ask him to leave the party cau­cus. He said he was tak­ing Clement at his word that the “ter­ri­ble lapse in judg­ment” had been a one-time thing be­tween two con­sent­ing adults.

But af­ter the story broke al­le­ga­tions washed over so­cial me­dia, largely from young women, that Clement’s on­line be­hav­iour was not so pure. He’s long been known to be a pro­lific user of so­cial me­dia plat­forms like Twit­ter and In­sta­gram. Sev­eral peo­ple on­line Wed­nes­day said that Clement had used In­sta­gram in par­tic­u­lar to con­nect with nu­mer­ous young women and mes­sage them pri­vately. He spent a lot of time click­ing to show he liked their pho­tos.

“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 later in the day.

He said an in­ter­nal party in­ves­ti­ga­tion hadn’t started but that, or a Par­lia­men­tary one, was not out of the ques­tion.

He said the Con­ser­va­tive party has a code of con­duct for MPs that he ex­pects them to fol­low.

“I don’t know that too many peo­ple ... have to be told not to share ex­plicit images and videos with peo­ple that you haven’t met but ob­vi­ously this is a ter­ri­ble de­ci­sion, ex­tremely poor judg­ment,” Scheer said.

“We have to wait and see what hap­pens in the short term as to what types of com­plaints are of­fi­cially raised to ob­vi­ously re­spond to that once it hap­pens,” he said.

Clement did not re­spond to nu­mer­ous at­tempts by The Cana­dian Press to com­ment on the al­le­ga­tions. How­ever in an email to The Globe and Mail he de­nied ha­rass­ing any­one on so­cial me­dia.

“I would say I like all sorts of pic­tures on In­sta­gram. I’ve never sent un­so­licited ha­rass­ing mes­sages, ever,” Clement wrote.

Clement has also made some posts him­self that in­cluded sex­ual over­tones. He once posted a Valen­tine with his own car­i­ca­ture and the words: “Hey girl, come lobby this cau­cus mem­ber.” An­other time he pub­licly posted a pic­ture of him­self shirt­less.

Of par­tic­u­lar con­cern in Clement’s case was the risk to na­tional se­cu­rity when an MP with top se­cu­rity clear­ance opened him­self up to an ex­tor­tion at­tempt. Clement was an orig­i­nal mem­ber of the new Na­tional Se­cu­rity and In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee of Par­lia­men­tar­i­ans, cre­ated in 2017 to over­see na­tional se­cu­rity and in­tel­li­gence ac­tiv­i­ties car­ried out across the gov­ern­ment.

Scheer said both the RCMP and the se­cu­rity of­fi­cials in the Privy Coun­cil Of­fice were in­ves­ti­gat­ing to de­ter­mine whether na­tional se­cu­rity had been put at risk. He wouldn’t say whether an in­ves­ti­ga­tion is un­der­way to de­ter­mine if any other MPs have been sim­i­larly tar­geted.

Ren­nie Mar­coux, the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the com­mit­tee sec­re­tar­iat, said all mem­bers of the com­mit­tee hold Top Se­cret clear­ance and are per­ma­nently bound to se­crecy un­der the Se­cu­rity of In­for­ma­tion Act.

He said shortly af­ter be­ing ap­pointed to the com­mit­tee, all mem­bers were given a com­pre­hen­sive se­cu­rity brief­ing by the Privy Coun­cil Of­fice and other se­cu­rity agen­cies.

“In fact, we reg­u­larly re­view our se­cu­rity obli­ga­tions given how im­por­tant this is to our cred­i­bil­ity,” Mar­coux said.

In his orig­i­nal state­ment Clement said he had ex­er­cised “poor judge­ment” and would be get­ting treat­ment so it wouldn’t hap­pen again. He didn’t spec­ify what sort of treat­ment.

He said he is ex­tremely sorry to put his fam­ily through “need­less pain and hu­mil­i­a­tion.”

Clement is mar­ried to Toronto lawyer and au­thor Lynne Gold­ing. They have three grown chil­dren.

Gold­ing is­sued a writ­ten state­ment Wed­nes­day to the Parry Sound North Star.

“As Tony men­tioned in his state­ment, he will now be tak­ing the ac­tion he needs to get help,” she said.

“I am hope­ful that in time we will re­sume the happy life we shared with our fam­ily and friends.”

THE CANA­DIAN PRESS FILES

Con­ser­va­tive MP Tony Clement has been asked by party leader An­drew Scheer to leave the cau­cus af­ter more al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual im­pro­pri­ety were brought to his at­ten­tion on Wed­nes­day.

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