A Conservative MP is stepping down from Canada’s fledgling National Security Committee after he says he sent sexually explicit messages and a video to an unknown source.
Tony Clement informed the Privy Council Office, the department that supports the prime minister, days ago that he had sent inappropriate text messages to someone he believed to be a consenting adult. Both the Prime Minister’s Office and the RCMP have been informed of the issue.
Clement released a statement Tuesday night saying he was stepping down as the Conservatives’ justice critic, as well as from his role on the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians and other committee work.
“Over the last three weeks, I have shared sexually explicit images and a video of myself to someone who I believed was a consenting female recipient,” Clement wrote in the statement.
“The recipient was, in fact, an individual or party who targeted me for the purpose of financial extortion. The RCMP are currently investigating the matter to determine the identity of the party responsible for the extortion attempt.”
The RCMP confirmed they were investigating Clement’s claims, but would offer no further comment Tuesday night. A message to Clement was not returned. He has asked for privacy. A message to Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer’s office was not returned.
Clement, who held several posts in Stephen Harper’s cabinet, remains in the Conservative caucus. In a statement Tuesday, Scheer said deputy leader Lisa Raitt will be assuming his committee roles.
It’s unclear if Raitt will sit on the National Security Committee, a brand new and tightly-guarded body to provide civilian oversight of Canada’s national security apparatus.
“While I’m greatly disappointed with Mr. Clement’s actions, I am encouraged that he has decided to seek help and I wish him all the best in doing so,” Scheer wrote in a statement.
It’s unclear what Clement is seeking help for. He’s known in Ottawa as a straitlaced, teetotalling MP. Under Harper, he served as Treasury Board President, industry minister, and economic minister for northern Ontario.