Tony Clement is apologizing.
The embattled Parry Sound-Muskoka MP released a letter to his constituents today. In it, Clement says he has “engaged in inappropriate exchanges that crossed lines that should never have been crossed.”
Clement says these “poor decisions” came at a time of “personal difficulty and “weakness” in his life. He goes on to admit that those exchanges led to acts of infidelity.
In the letter, Clement says one act led to a woman being offered money by an anonymous social media account in exchange for “intimate and personal information.” He says he reported that matter to the OPP last summer. That incident is in addition to the one that came to light this week, in which the MP revealed he has reported an extortion attempt to the RCMP.
Clement says that although these exchanges were entirely consensual and mutual, they were “absolutely wrong and should never have occurred.” He says that he has let down “basically everyone” he cares about, including his family, friends, and community.
Clement is also apologizing to the women with whom the exchanges occurred, and “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.”
He concluded his letter by saying he loves his job and his family, and that he is committed to getting professional help. Clement is also committing to staying on as the federal representative for this riding.
“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.”
Clement has resigned from his various parliamentary committee duties and has resigned from the Conservative caucus at the request of party leader Andrew Scheer.
Here is the text of Parry Sound-Muskoka MP Tony Clement’s letter in its entirety:
This is Tony Clement and this message is for my constituents in Parry Sound – Muskoka.
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.
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.
In conducting myself this way I’ve 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.
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.
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.
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.
M.P., Parry Sound – Muskoka