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In his own words: Tony Clement’s letter to his constituents, verbatim

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  • Here is a full copy of the letter to constituents of Parry Sound-Muskoka that MP Tony Clement posted on his website on Thursday:

    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.

    Sincerely,

    Tony Clement

    M.P., Parry Sound–Muskoka

    The Canadian Press


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    National

    Forces encouraging more sex-assault reports but not helping victims, AG says

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  • OTTAWA — The federal auditor general is taking the military to task for not supporting victims of sexual misconduct.

    Michael Ferguson says that failure threatens to undermine attempts to curb inappropriate and criminal sexual behaviour in the ranks.

    The assessment is contained in a new report that also blasts long delays in resolving cases and the poor training that service members are receiving on the issue.

    Eradicating sexual misconduct is a priority for military commanders after a series of devastating reports in recent years, and Ferguson says awareness is certainly up.

    But Ferguson says his review found that many victims are not being properly supported when they do speak up, which makes it difficult to prosecute cases and undermines confidence in the system.

    The auditor general also says a legal requirement that all service members report inappropriate behaviour actually discourages some victims who don’t want to proceed with a formal complaint from coming forward.

    The Canadian Press


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    National

    Inmates kept in prison too long for lack of halfway houses: auditor

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  • OTTAWA — Canada’s auditor general says hundreds of federal prisoners are having their parole delayed only because the Correctional Service of Canada doesn’t have halfway houses for them to live in.

    In a new report Tuesday, Michael Ferguson says staying in prison, sometimes for months longer than they’re supposed to, hurts offenders’ rehabilitation and prospects for success when they’re released.

    He says the backlog of prisoners waiting more than two months for parole increased tenfold over the last three years, from 25 to almost 260.

    And the shortage of spaces means parolees are increasingly sent to communities where they have no family or supports, and no intention of staying.

    The audit says parole officers often do not get important information about the parolees they are supposed to monitor and help, such as details about health conditions that could affect their ability to live and work on the outside.

    A spot check of 50 cases found that nearly half of the time, parole officers didn’t see their parolees on the right schedule or didn’t check to make sure they were following special parole conditions.

    The Canadian Press


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