For a politician like Clement, a $100K gazebo is bad, but a sexting/extortion scandal is the end: Robyn Urback

For a politician like Clement, a $100K gazebo is bad, but a sexting/extortion scandal is the end: Robyn Urback
Former Tory MP Clement reveals acts of infidelity exposed him to blackmail this summer
Former Conservative MP Tony Clement, dropped from caucus over a public sexting scandal, is now admitting to multiple cases of "inappropriate exchanges" online and says it was "foreign actors" who tried to financially extort him.

For the first time, the Ontario MP is also admitting that he had to contact police not once, but twice over online transgressions — calling into question who in official Ottawa and law enforcement circles knew the details of the case, and when.

As for whether this situation could have broader implications for Canadas elections, and whether its evidence of foreign actors seeking to interfere, Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould said shed leave it to the national security agencies to look into this specific case, but that "its incumbent upon us as Parliamentarians to hold ourselves to the highest account so we dont put ourselves in those situations."

MP Clement admits to inappropriate online behaviour, says alleged extortionist was foreign actor

In a letter posted to his website on Thursday, one day after Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer asked him to leave the Tory caucus, Clement said that "during a period of personal difficulty and weakness I engaged in inappropriate exchanges that crossed lines that should never have been crossed."

"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."

Scheer thought Clements sexting an isolated incident

Clement said he reported that case to the Ontario Provincial Police last summer. The force confirmed for the CBC that Clement did come to the OPP with a complaint in the summer of 2018 and an investigation was launched. The OPP would not say if the investigation is still ongoing.

The secret Tony Clement kept while serving on the national security oversight committee

He goes on to write about another "inappropriate exchange" that "led to foreign actors attempting to use my indiscretion for financial extortion."

"Pride and vanity got the better of me, and shame held me back from getting back to the path of good," Clement said, offering an apology to the women he engaged with in these exchanges, as well as anyone else who felt he had crossed boundaries or made them feel uncomfortable, unbeknownst to him.

If Clement isnt fit for caucus, why is he fit to be anyones MP?

That lines up with the statement Clement issued earlier this week admitting to sharing sexually explicit images and a video with an individual online, allegedly leading later to an extortion attempt.

In November 2017, Clement became one of two Conservatives appointed to a special committee of parliamentarians tasked with overseeing the work of Canada’s spy agencies. Its members are given thorough security briefings, rendering them responsible for sensitive information about national security information and theoretically making them potential targets for blackmail. They are expected to disclose any changes to their personal lives that could affect their clearance. There is no public indication that either incident was related to Clement’s role on the committee, but even so, as security experts such as Carleton University professor Stephanie Carvin have told the National Post, questions of judgement raised by this case are important because if agencies feel they can’t fully trust members of the committee “it will damage its credibility.” The RCMP confirmed an investigation was underway but declined to comment further.

Sources have told CBC News that the would-be extortionist told Clement to pay €50,000 ($75,200 Cdn) or risk seeing the images and video released publicly.

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.

Clement's bombshell reveal of the OPP complaint raises more questions about what authorities knew.

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.

Sources told CBC News Clement flagged the alleged extortion attempt just a few days ago to the Privy Council Office — the branch of the bureaucracy that supports the prime minister and cabinet — and the special top secret national security committee he sat on until Tuesday.

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.

Tony Clement says alleged extortion attempt by foreign actors wasnt only case of inappropriate exchanges

Scheer said he only found out about the OPP report today and suggested he wasn't the only one blindsided by the news.

Tony Clement admits to multiple acts of infidelity, reported to police last summer

"This was a shock to me when I was made aware of the situation," he said today in Brampton, Ont.

Several months before former Conservative MP Tony Clement was named to the Parliamentary committee that oversees national security agencies, he was aware that someone was offering cash rewards for information about his inappropriate behaviour towards women. Clement laid out his latest version of the timeline surrounding his acts of sexting and infidelity in an online letter to his constituents in Parry Sound – Muskoka, noting that he went to the police about that first extortion attempt “last summer.” What he didn’t do was inform the Clerk of the Privy Council—Ottawa’s top bureaucrat—who must be notified by government officials of  any change in their personal circumstances that may affect their security clearance. According to the Toronto Star Clement only went to the Privy Council office days ago, after the more recent blackmail attempt by “foreign actors“. (TonyClement.ca, Toronto Star)*

Video: Tony Clement admits to multiple infidelities, says foreign actors tried to extort him

"Not only were we not aware of this, neither were the national security agencies that did the screening for Mr. Clement  before he took his place on the national security council."

Lynne Golding, MP Clements wife, releases statement

"Since we are currently investigating the matter, we cannot further comment at this point," said a spokesperson in an email to CBC.

Larry Elliot vaguely recalled his late father mentioning an uncle who died in the First World War, but it wasnt until he began his own research last year that he plunged into the life of Maj. Thomas Ninian Elliot, killed on Sept. 28, 1917, while serving with a railway battalion near Ypres, Belgium. Exactly 100 years—to the hour—after he breathed his last, Elliots descendants gathered last September next to Thomass brothers grave in Saskatoon, paying tribute with a bagpiper and whisky toast to the man whose body lay 6,800 km away under Belgian soil.

Tony Clement Admits To Acts Of Infidelity, More Inappropriate Exchanges With Women

Clement's meteoric fall from the Conservative Party's front bench started on Tuesday, when he resigned his justice critic role and positions on a number of Commons committees — including a top secret national security and intelligence committee.

Every Remembrance Day is a brief opportunity to consider the reality that just one segment of our population is obligated to fight—putting their lives on the line—to defend our democratic values. Its just one day, but it is so widely recognized by Canadians across the country, drawing our politicians to solemn ceremonies to honour the fallen, that it might seem scandalous to suggest that Canadas military members have returned home only to need to fight again for our national values—with their foe, this time, being their own government.

The rules for that committee state that "a member must, without delay, provide the Clerk of the Privy Council with a report of any change in their personal circumstances that may affect their security clearance."

When Larry and his family first heard about the tribute covers, their first thought was that they needed to find their soldier among all the dead, but then they realized the impossibility of that. Instead, they have special-ordered copies with his name, and Larry continues to unearth everything he can of his once-obscure great-uncles life and service.

While the first extortion attempt happened in the summer, a government official speaking on background said the Liberal government only became aware of Clement's situation last week, once the PCO was made aware of it. 

Clement was on Canadas National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians. That means he was privy to the countrys deepest secrets. He has admitted that he was duped into thinking his sexting, including a dubious video that he sent, was going to a consenting woman. The former Conservative now says he’s being extorted over their sexually explicit communications. The RCMP is investigating. This is the kind of gross recklessness that turns the hair of security officials prematurely grey.

The next day he was out of caucus after Scheer said he found out about "numerous reports of other incidents."

And its not just Clement hanging on when he should be saying goodbye. Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has not done the right thing in the current circumstances. For the family-values party, Scheers initial reaction to Clements admission was laughable. After a stern talking to by Scheer, Clement resigned as justice critic and saw his committee roles assigned to Lisa Raitt. That done, Scheer had no problem with Clement remaining in caucus.

It is a priority for CBC to create a website that is accessible to all Canadians including people with visual, hearing, motor and cognitive challenges.

Tony Clement, seen at the Conservative summer caucus retreat in Halifax on Sept. 13, 2016, continued his pattern of inappropriate behaviour despite filing a complaint with the Ontario Provincial Police of an extortion attempt this past summer.

President Barack Obama let it be known publicly that if he were Weiner, he would resign. By this time, it had come out that two of the many women the Congressman had been sexting included a Las Vegas blackjack dealer and a 28-year-old budding porn star. Obamas press secretary said Weiner was becoming a distraction, which is the kiss of death in politics.

Ontario MP Tony Clement has revealed further instances of inappropriate interactions with women, stating he has known since the summer that acts of infidelity” had exposed him to blackmail.

Scheers wishy-washy reaction is strange for another reason. From what the Conservative leader himself has claimed, Clement lied to him about the number of times he has sexted anonymous women. The initial story was that this was a one-off between consenting adults, which Scheer could apparently forgive as a terrible lapse of judgment.

The new revelations showed that his initial disclosure of an extortion attempt earlier in the week was incomplete, leading Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer to face another round of embarrassing questions about his former justice critic, who resigned from the Conservative caucus on Wednesday.

Mr. Clement, 57, is a married father of three who has represented the riding of Parry Sound-Muskoka since 2006. In a letter to his constituents on Thursday, he revealed that he had gone to the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) last summer after learning that someone was seeking information on his dealings with women.

"On that committee where he has access to the countrys most delicate secrets, you cannot put yourself in a position where youre susceptible to extortion or blackmail. You just cant," Fadden said. "I were a foreign power trying to figure out, you know, how I was going to get myself into somewhere in the government of Canada, I would have said to myself this is not a bad place to try."

Opinion | Arent you paying attention? Sexting is a mugs game

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, Mr. Clement said. 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.

Opinion | I was going to write about Donald Trump, but Tony Clement wouldnt let me

Despite that complaint with the OPP, Mr. Clements pattern of inappropriate behaviour continued. On Tuesday, Mr. Clement said he had sent explicit images and video of himself on the internet over the past three weeks, only to be asked for payment to stop their public release. He said he referred the matter to the RCMP for investigation.

The longtime MP revealed late Tuesday that over the last three weeks he had sent sexually explicit images and a video of himself to someone who he thought was a consenting female, but allegedly turned out to be an extortionist. The RCMP is currently investigating the matter to determine who is responsible.

The revelations about Mr. Clements sexual misconduct have sent shock waves through the Conservative Party and overshadowed its policy initiatives. On Thursday, Mr. Scheer announced his partys new stand on gang violence, but the subsequent news conference was dominated by questions about Mr. Clements behaviour.

"Pride and vanity got the better of me, and shame held me back from getting back to the path of good," Clement said, offering an apology to the women he engaged with in these exchanges, as well as anyone else who felt he had crossed boundaries or made them feel uncomfortable, unbeknownst to him.

Mr. Scheer had a first meeting with Mr. Clement on Monday about the issue that led to the complaint to the RCMP, but Mr. Clement did not divulge the other problems flowing from his behaviour.

When Tony and I spoke about what happened more recently, it was presented to me as an isolated event, so I was not expecting there to be other types of events, Mr. Scheer said. This was a shock to me when I was made aware of the situation.

The fact that Mr. Clement was exposed to extortion has raised questions about his presence up until this week on a committee of MPs and senators that oversees the activities of Canadas national-security agencies. The committee, which operates behind closed doors, requires its members to obtain a security clearance given their access to classified information – but Mr. Clement only resigned on Wednesday.

Pierre-Yves Bourduas, a security expert and former RCMP deputy commissioner, said Mr. Clement should have acted sooner. If someone is in a position of vulnerability, they should recuse themselves until the matter is dealt with, he said in an interview.

Hours later, Clement was pushed out of the Conservative caucus after Twitter lit up with accusations of creepy behaviour from a variety of women in Parliaments orbit. Though these accusations dont seem to include anything overtly physical, they suggest a pattern of queasy online behaviour — the proverbial pervy uncle, armed not with a gin and tonic but a very active Instagram account.

In his letter on Thursday, Mr. Clement said he believes the most recent extortion attempt was the work of foreign actors who targeted him for money.

To wit: By his own telling, Clement sent sexually explicit images and a video of himself to someone he believed was a consenting female adult. In fact, the recipient(s) threatened to release this material if Clement didnt pony up. He promptly referred the incident to the RCMP and proceeded to suffer what will likely be the second-biggest indignity of his life.

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, he said.

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.

After his initial announcement on Tuesday, Mr. Clement was allowed to stay in the Conservative caucus. However, the situation changed on Wednesday afternoon after many women complained publicly about his online interactions with them.

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.

Kim Fox, a Canadian journalist who is now working in the United States, said she did not know Mr. Clement personally but often noticed that he had liked her pictures on Instagram. Over time, she came to realize Mr. Clement did the same with some of her friends. It made me feel really uncomfortable and others, too,” she said.

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.

Andrea Gunn, an Ottawa-based correspondent for the Halifax Chronicle Herald, also criticized Mr. Clement over the fact he once contacted her via a messaging application around midnight. It made me uncomfortable, but I ignored it because it didnt cross any lines, she added.

In conducting myself this way Ive 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.

In an e-mail to The Globe and Mail on Wednesday, Mr. Clement acknowledged numerous interactions on social media over the years, but denied any harassing behaviour. I would say I like all sorts of pictures on Instagram. Ive never sent unsolicited harassing messages, ever, he said.

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.