MP McLeod stands behind party leader in ouster of Clement over sexting scandal

Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo Conservative MP Cathy McLeod believes her party’s leader “has done the right thing” in ousting Tony Clement from the party’s caucus amid a sexting scandal.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer asked Clement for his resignation after more allegations of sexual impropriety were brought to Scheer’s attention.

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This latest resignation came the day after Clement stepped down from his parliamentary committee assignments and his role as justice critic after admitting he sent sexually explicit images and video to someone he thought was a consenting woman.

That person, in turn, allegedly demanded a payoff of 50,000 euros to prevent the release of those pictures, leading Clement to inform the RCMP, which he said is now investigating to try to determine who is responsible for the extortion attempt.

McLeod described Clement’s actions as a “significant and very bad lapse of judgment.

“I feel very badly for his family, who are going through a very difficult time,” McLeod said of Clement, who is married and has three children.

Among Clement’s committee assignments is a role on a National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians, which affords him security clearance above what most MPs receive and the authorization to obtain classified information.

When asked by reporters in Ottawa if he thinks Clement was targeted because he sits on that committee, Scheer said it wasn’t for him to speculate what motivated the person behind the extortion bid.

McLeod said she would not speculate on that possibility.

“Obviously, it’s a big enough concern that we have security agencies and the RCMP doing an investigation and I think we need to see what comes out of that investigation,” she said.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Clement, whose riding is Parry Sound-Muskoka in Ontario, issued an apology for his actions.

“I recognize now that I have gone down a wrong path and have exercised poor judgement,” Clement said, adding he’s committed to seeking treatment.

— with files from Canadian Press

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