OTTAWA – Former Conservative Representative Tony Clement says he has engaged more than one inadequate online exchange.
In a letter to constituents published on his website, Clement says the exchanges have led to multiple acts of unbelief.
Clement says one exchange led to a woman who offered money through anonymous social media accounts in exchange for intimate and personal information.
Clement says he contacted the Ontario police to report this exchange last summer.
On Tuesday, Clement resigned in office after admitting to sending sexually explicit pictures and videos to someone whom he believed was a woman's consent, and he tried to extort him. Wednesday, conservative leader Andrew Scheer expelled the former cabinet minister from the Tory assembly.
Clement writes that while his online exchanges were completely consensual and reciprocal, they were absolutely wrong and never had to happen.
Here's a full copy of Tony Clement's letter published on his website on Thursday:
This is Tony Clement and this message is for my constituents in Parry Sound-Muskoka.
I have great honor and privilege to serve you as a member of Parliament since 2006, a trust that has been renewed through four consecutive federal elections. Whether it is on a government or opposition side of a passerby, whether it is on the Cabinet table or on the back bench, my priority has always been and continues to work for the people and communities of Parry Sound-Muskoka. I did this tirelessly, with passion and pleasure from the very first moment when I was honored to be working for you.
I have always been tempted to serve with humility, and today I am writing you directly to the many poor decisions in my personal and private life. During the period of personal difficulty and weakness, I was dealing with inappropriate exchanges that crossed lines that should never have passed. These exchanges led to acts of unbelief. One inadequate exchange has led women to offer money to anonymous social media accounts in exchange for revealing intimate and personal information. Since last summer I immediately reported this personal matter to OPP. Recently, another inadequate exchange led to foreign actors trying to use my indecisiveness for the financial squeeze that I, without hesitation or other thought, immediately informed the RCMP. Although these exchanges were completely consensual and mutually interactive, they were absolutely wrong and never had to happen.
In self-realization, I dropped myself, my family, friends and supporters, my community, my workforce colleagues and my staff – basically everyone who cares and cares for me. Pride and vanity got better than me, and shame kept me back from getting back on the road well. I apologize to the women I have exchanged, and I also apologize to all those who have in any way felt that I have crossed the boundaries on the web that they felt uncomfortable, even without my knowledge. I'm deeply sorry.
I want to make it clear that at one time these personal failings did not affect my daily activity as an advocate on behalf of our communities. I told you, I do not offer you any justification for my behavior. I take full responsibility. It is expected that members of parliament will set a high standard, a standard I have failed to fulfill.
Particularly I have missed the most important person in my life, my wife who was with me through numerous ups and downs of public service. She has made many sacrifices along the way to build a loving home and a wonderful family. I can not undo the pain and hurt my actions that have caused them. All I can do is devoted to what I have done and commit myself to the renewal of our trust, no matter how long it might take. The mistakes I made in my personal life, for those who know me, do not reflect who I am. I am determined to redirect, work hard and cure the damage I caused most important in my life.
I love my job and I love my family. I advocate getting professional help that I must continue to serve my family, my community and my country in any way. I sincerely wish to thank many members of our community who have come to share my thoughts and prayers. I assure the residents of Parry Sound-Muskoka that my offices are open to your service and that I will continue to take responsibility for being your agent.
M.P., Parry Sound-Muskoka