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Clement admits to multiple acts of infidelity as long ago as last summer

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  • OTTAWA — Former Conservative MP Tony Clement has had inappropriate online relationships with more than one woman and went to the police months ago because someone was trying to pay one of the women to offer up intimate details of their exchanges, he admitted Thursday.

    When Clement told Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer last week that he had shared explicit images of himself online in October and was being extorted to prevent the images from being released publicly, he insisted it was an isolated incident.

    It was not.

    “During a period of personal difficulty and weakness I engaged in inappropriate exchanges that crossed lines that should never have been crossed,” Clement wrote Thursday in a statement to his constituents in the Ontario riding of Parry Sound-Muskoka.

    Scheer looked grim as he was forced to take time away from a policy announcement on crime in Brampton, Ont. to respond to the latest admissions.

    “This was a shock to me when I was made aware of the situation,” said Scheer.

    Despite knowing for several months that someone had been trying to dig up dirt on him, Clement continued to sit until Tuesday on Parliament’s national-security and intelligence committee. Members have top-secret clearances and can be privy to extremely sensitive information.

    Clement is no longer on that committee and the RCMP and the Privy Council Office are investigating possible security breaches.

    Clement approached Scheer last week to let him know someone was trying to extort him because he’d sent explicit images and a video to someone he thought was a “consenting female.” He also asked the RCMP to investigate.

    Thursday, Clement said the most recent extortion attempt was by “foreign actors” but provided nothing to explain why he believed that to be the case.

    Clement said he wouldn’t comment beyond what was in his statement. Scheer said he knew no details of the extortion, including how much money was sought.

    Clement resigned as the Conservative justice critic and from his committee assignments Tuesday night. Wednesday morning, Scheer said Clement would remain in the Conservative caucus because he trusted Clement’s claim that he’d committed a single, though terrible, “lapse in judgement.” A few hours later, after more allegations about Clement approaching young women online surfaced on Twitter, Scheer said Clement was no longer welcome in the Conservative caucus.

    Scheer said he found out about the information in Clement’s Thursday statement only when he posted it publicly.

    Clement wrote on Thursday that he had let himself and everyone who cares about him down.

    “Pride and vanity got the better of me, and shame held me back from getting back to the path of good,” he wrote.

    “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,” he wrote.

    He said his constituency office will stay open and he will remain an MP.

    Clement has already been reassigned a new seat in the back row of the House of Commons. He is in a small section with three other MPs —  former Liberal cabinet minister Hunter Tootoo, former Liberal MP Darshan Kang and former NDP MP Erin Weir — who have also found themselves on the outs with their parties because of allegations of improper behaviour.

    Clement was a Conservative party stalwart, a cabinet minister in Stephen Harper’s government and twice a candidate for the federal party leadership. He dropped out of the most recent leadership contest early on and endorsed Maxime Bernier. He has also run for the provincial Tory leadership in Ontario, where he was once a cabinet minister.

    Janice Dickson and Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press



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    Feds poised to bolster RCMP accountability

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  • OTTAWA — The federal government is poised to try to improve RCMP accountability by placing some external eyes on the national police force.

    Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale and RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki are expected to announce the plans at a news conference in Ottawa on Wednesday.

    The long-anticipated move is the latest attempt at rebuilding the force following years of sagging morale over internal bullying and harassment.

    Insiders say the measures to be announced Wednesday are the beginning of a process that involves several steps to ensure the force benefits from independent advice and scrutiny.

    The announcement will represent the Liberal government’s response to two critical 2017 reports.

    In the first, the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP said the force lacked both the will and the capacity to address the challenges that afflict its workplaces.

    The commission urged the government to usher in civilian governance or oversight for the paramilitary-style police force.

    The second report, a review by former auditor general Sheila Fraser of four harassment lawsuits from female members, also called for substantial reforms.

    At the time, Goodale said both reports described “similar serious and long-standing concerns” and would “inform further action” to ensure that the RCMP is a healthy and respectful employer.

    Lucki became the RCMP’s first permanent female boss last year when she took over the commissioner’s post from Bob Paulson.

    Before he left, Paulson delivered an apology to hundreds of current and former female officers and employees who were subjected to discrimination and harassment dating back as far as four decades.

    The words of regret came as the Mounties settled class-action lawsuits stemming from allegations that cast a dark pall over the force.

    The Trudeau government has directed Lucki to modernize and reform the RCMP’s culture, protect employees from harassment and workplace violence, and foster reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.

    Goodale’s mandate letter to Lucki, issued last year, also asked her to make the force representative of Canada’s diverse population by embracing gender parity and ensuring that women, Indigenous members and minority groups are better reflected in positions of leadership.

    Another priority is implementing measures to improve health and wellness after an auditor’s report found the force was failing to meet the mental-health needs of its members due to a lack of resources, poor monitoring and meagre support from supervisors.

    Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press


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    Google wants court to decide whether search curbs would infringe charter rights

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  • OTTAWA — Google wants the Federal Court to decide whether limiting search-engine results in the name of privacy would infringe Canadians’ constitutional guarantee of free expression.

    The leading internet search engine advocates broadening an upcoming court hearing to squarely address the question.

    Privacy commissioner Daniel Therrien has asked the Federal Court to clarify if Google’s popular search tool is covered by the law governing how companies handle personal information.

    A man who says a Google search reveals outdated and highly personal information about him will be the test case that helps a judge decide whether the search engine must remove the links from its results.

    Therrien argues the federal law on private-sector use of personal information includes such a right to de-indexing.

    In documents filed with the court, Google says the privacy commissioner’s reference application is illogical and inefficient because it is too narrow and therefore won’t fully explore the relevant constitutional questions.

    The Canadian Press


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    january, 2019

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