OTTAWA - Former Conservative MP Tony Clement says he has engaged in more than one inappropriate online exchange.
In a letter to constituents posted on his website Thursday morning, Clement wrote that the exchanges led to multiple acts of infidelity.
Clement wrote that one exchange led to a woman being offered money through an anonymous social media account in exchange for intimate and personal information, and he contacted Ontario police to report that exchange last summer.
“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,” Clement wrote.
On Tuesday, Clement resigned from his role as his party's justice critic and from his committee duties, after admitting to sending sexually explicit images and a video to someone he thought was a consenting woman who he says tried to extort him.
Initially party leader Andrew Scheer did not ask him to leave caucus, saying he believed Clement's claim that the exchange that led to the extortion attempt was isolated.
Scheer's stance shifted Wednesday afternoon after he learned of more allegations from women posting about Clement's behaviour on social media.
“New information became available today that suggest there are allegations that this is not an isolated incident and therefore I've asked Tony to resign from caucus and he has done so,” Scheer said.
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 office in Parry Sound-Muskoka will remain open and he will continue his responsibilities as an MP.
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 also ran for the provincial Tory leadership in Ontario, where he was once a cabinet minister.
Clement is a heavy user of social media, frequently posting on Twitter and “liking” posts on Instagram.
He is married to lawyer and author Lynne Golding.