MP Tony Clement admits to more inappropriate online exchanges
OTTAWA – MP Tony Clement has admitted to additional instances of inappropriate exchanges that "led to acts of infidelity," and crossed lines that he said, should not have been crossed.
In a lengthy statement posted to his MP website, Clement, said one of these exchanges "led to a woman being offered money by an anonymous social media account in exchange for the disclosure of intimate and personal information," and that he reported this to the OPP last summer.
The long-time 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.
In the new statement, Clement describes this most recent financial extortion attempt to be from someone he believes is a "foreign actor."
On Wednesday he was removed from the Conservative caucus as "numerous reports of other incidents" were brought to Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer's attention. Initially Scheer said he was willing to take the high-profile Tory at his word that it was a one-time thing.
Since the news broke about Clement, young women have posted unverified claims on social media alleging that Clement made them feel uncomfortable by liking their photos and sending them messages on Instagram.
In the new statement, Clement said he wanted to address "a number of poor decisions" that he made "during a period of personal difficulty and weakness."
"While these exchanges were entirely consensual and mutual, they were absolutely wrong and should never have occurred," Clement said.
The 57 year old said he’s let down his wife, family, friends, supporters, constituents, colleagues, and his staff.
"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 who he engaged in these exchanges with, as well as anyone else who felt he had crossed boundaries or made them feel uncomfortable, unbeknownst to him.
As concerns have been raised over whether the MP’s actions could have national security implications given he was a member of the closed-door, top-secret National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians, Clement said that “at no time” did his personal indiscretions impacted his work as an MP.
Clement said that he intends to stay on as an elected federal official and representative of his Parry Sound-Muskoka riding while he seeks help and efforts to repair his marriage.
"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," he said.