‘PER­SONAL WEAK­NESS’

Cle­ment ad­mits to mul­ti­ple acts of in­fi­delity

Winnipeg Sun - - NEWS - JAN­ICE DICK­SON and MIA RAB­SON The Cana­dian Press

OT­TAWA — For­mer Con­ser­va­tive MP Tony Cle­ment has had in­ap­pro­pri­ate on­line re­la­tion­ships with more than one woman and went to the po­lice months ago be­cause some­one was try­ing to pay one of the women to of­fer up in­ti­mate de­tails of their ex­changes, he ad­mit­ted Thurs­day.

When Cle­ment told Con­ser­va­tive Party Leader An­drew Scheer last week that he had shared ex­plicit im­ages of him­self on­line in Oc­to­ber and was be­ing ex­torted to pre­vent the im­ages from be­ing re­leased pub­licly, he in­sisted it was an iso­lated in­ci­dent. It was not. “Dur­ing a pe­riod of per­sonal dif­fi­culty and weak­ness I en­gaged in in­ap­pro­pri­ate ex­changes that crossed lines that should never have been crossed,” Cle­ment wrote Thurs­day in a state­ment to his con­stituents in the On­tario rid­ing of Parry Sound­muskoka.

Scheer looked grim as he was forced to take time away from a pol­icy an­nounce­ment on crime in Bramp­ton to re­spond to the lat­est ad­mis­sions.

“This was a shock to me when I was made aware of the sit­u­a­tion,” said Scheer.

De­spite know­ing for sev­eral months that some­one had been try­ing to dig up dirt on him, Cle­ment con­tin­ued to sit un­til Tues­day on Par­lia­ment’s na­tional-se­cu­rity and in­tel­li­gence com­mit­tee.

Mem­bers have top-se­cret clear­ances and can be privy to ex­tremely sen­si­tive in­for­ma­tion.

Cle­ment is no longer on that com­mit­tee and the RCMP and the Privy Coun­cil Of­fice are in­ves­ti­gat­ing pos­si­ble se­cu­rity breaches.

Cle­ment ap­proached Scheer last week to let him know some­one was try­ing to ex­tort him be­cause he’d sent ex­plicit im­ages and a video to some­one he thought was a “con­sent­ing fe­male.”

Thurs­day, Cle­ment said the most re­cent ex­tor­tion at­tempt was by “for­eign ac­tors.”

Cle­ment said he wouldn’t com­ment be­yond what was in his state­ment.

Scheer said he knew no de­tails of the ex­tor­tion, in­clud­ing how much money was sought.

Cle­ment re­signed as the Con­ser­va­tive jus­tice critic and from his com­mit­tee as­sign­ments Tues­day night.

Wed­nes­day morn­ing, Scheer said Cle­ment would re­main in the Con­ser­va­tive cau­cus be­cause he trusted Cle­ment’s claim that he’d com­mit­ted a sin­gle, though ter­ri­ble, “lapse in judg­ment.”

A few hours later, af­ter more al­le­ga­tions about Cle­ment ap­proach­ing young women on­line sur­faced on Twit­ter, Scheer said Cle­ment was no longer wel­come in the Con­ser­va­tive cau­cus.

Scheer said he found out about the in­for­ma­tion in Cle­ment’s Thurs­day state­ment only when he posted it pub­licly.

Cle­ment wrote 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.

He said his con­stituency of­fice will stay open and he will re­main an MP.

“... I en­gaged in in­ap­pro­pri­ate ex­changes that crossed lines that should never have been crossed.” Tony Cle­ment

CANA­DIAN PRESS FILES

Tony Cle­ment speaks to the me­dia on Par­lia­ment Hill in Ot­tawa last month.

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