Tony Clement should have been booted from Tories right away, says consultant
OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer shouldn’t have taken Tony Clement at his word that he’d only been involved in one improper online exchange, a prominent conservative political consultant says.
Alise Mills, a communications strategist and senior associate with the firm Sussex Strategy, said Friday that it made her very angry to think it was ever believable Clement hadn’t crossed the line more than once, either online or in person.
People in the Conservative party knew that Clement would frequent women’s social-media pages far more than other politicians, registering “likes” of their photos and sending them messages, she said.
“Like, how stupid do you think we are?” Mills said in an interview with The Canadian Press, adding that the Conservatives should have kicked Clement out of the Tory caucus right away and confiscated his mobile phone.
Tuesday night, Clement resigned as the party’s justice critic and from his committee roles after revealing that he’d shared sexually explicit images with someone who wanted to extort him.
He was not, at first, asked to leave caucus by Scheer. Scheer said he was taking Clement at his word that the “terrible lapse in judgment” had been a one-time thing between two consenting adults — and that Clement was ultimately the victim.
But later Wednesday, Scheer said new information had become available to suggest the allegations were not isolated.
Mills told a radio show airing on Sirius XM Friday that she ended her own friendship with the former Conservative MP and cabinet minister after she felt his behaviour toward her crossed a line, but she did not detail specifics.
Clement’s lawyer Joseph Neuberger denied any inappropriate behaviour.
“We are puzzled as to what Ms. Mills alleges as inappropriate as all contact between Mr. Clement and Ms. Mills has been nothing other than professional,” Neuberger said in an email.
Clement issued an open letter to his Ontario constituents on Thursday in which he apologized to anyone who felt he crossed “online boundaries” in a way that made them feel uncomfortable, even without his knowledge.
MP Tony Clement waits to be introduced to supporters at a rally in Mississauga, Ont., to announce his candidacy for the leadership of the federal Conservative party on July 12, 2016. Clement was dumped from the Conservative caucus this week after admitting to sending someone sexually explicit images and a video.