CONSERVATIVE Party Leader Andrew Scheer on Wednesday kicked out former federal minister Tony Clement from caucus after he found that there was more than one allegation of sexual impropriety against him.
Clement had resigned as the party’s justice critic on Tuesday evening following a sextortion scandal.
As it is, the latest Nanos federal ballot tracking (November 2) has the Conservatives trailing the Liberals by 11 points: Liberals – 39.6 per cent, Conservatives – 28.1 per cent. This scandal involving such a senior and well-known figure is a serious blow to the Conservatives.
Clement on Tuesday had revealed: “Over the last three weeks, I have shared sexually explicit images and a video of myself to someone who I believed was a consenting female recipient. The recipient was, in fact, an individual or party who targeted me for the purpose of financial extortion. The RCMP are currently investigating the matter to determine the identity of the party responsible for the extortion attempt.”
He added: “I recognize now that I have gone down a wrong path and have exercised very poor judgment. First and foremost, I apologize to my family for the needless pain and humiliation my actions have caused. I also apologize to my colleagues and my constituents for letting them down. I am committed to seeking the help and treatment I need in my personal life to make sure this will not happen again while also continuing to discharge my duties as a Member of Parliament.”
Clement should have quit caucus as well to save his party more embarrassment. Evidently he was hoping that his apology would win him enough sympathy to enable him to remain in caucus.
But on Wednesday, Scheer said he asked Clement to leave caucus after more allegations of sexual impropriety were brought to his attention. Scheer told reporters in Ottawa: “I took him at his word that this was an isolated incident. Since then, there have been numerous reports of other incidents, allegations.”
He added: “New information became available today that suggests that there are allegations that this is not an isolated incident, and therefore I asked Tony to resign from caucus, and he has done so.”
A number of women have posted on social media about interactions they had had with Clement online.
The Globe and Mail newspaper on Wednesday said that Clement sat on the high-level National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians, but Scheer said there is no evidence that he was targeted for his role as an MP.
Scheer said: “Right now, what we have is a terrible lapse in judgement, we have a very poor decision, but there has been no allegation of anything beyond that.”
The Globe and Mail reported that Clement in an email to the newspaper admitted he had numerous interactions with individuals on social media, but denied any harassing behaviour.