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Tony Clement demonstrated 'terrible lapse in judgment,' says Scheer

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  • Tony Clement demonstrated 'terrible lapse in judgment,' says Scheer

    Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer*says MP Tony Clement will remain a member of the Tory caucus after the longtime parliamentarian shared sexually explicit images and a video with an individual online, leading to an alleged extortion attempt.

    Scheer said Wednesday he*was made aware of an RCMP investigation into the matter last week and met with Clement on Monday.

    It was then mutually decided, Scheer said, that*Clement should resign*his justice critic role and positions on a number of Commons committees*—*including a top secret national security and intelligence committee.

    It is Clement's membership on this special committee in particular that raises red flags for high-level security operatives.

    Opposition Leader Andrew Scheer spoke to reporters as he arrived for his weekly Caucus meeting. His Justice Critic Tony Clement resigned last night after being the alleged victim of a blackmail attempt. 2:22

    Parliamentarians on this committee*—*MPs and senators alike*— are privy to the nation's most guarded secrets as they review the work of*the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS),*the Communications Security Establishment, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police*and the Canada Border Services Agency.

    Scheer*said he would leave it to national security agencies*to determine if Clement has been compromised as a result of this sexting scandal.

    "I will leave it to them. Those are the experts,"*Scheer said.

    Trudeau has no comment

    Sources told CBC News Clement flagged the alleged extortion attempt a few days ago to the Privy Council Office*— the branch of the bureaucracy that supports the prime minister and cabinet*— and*the special national security committee. The precise timeline of events was not immediately clear.

    Unlike other parliamentary committees that have to report to the House of Commons, this joint committee would respond directly to the prime minister. Trudeau told reporters Wednesday he had no comment on Clement.

    On Tuesday night, Clement sent out a statement saying he shared sexually explicit images and a video of himself*with someone he believed was a consenting female. Clement said he had shared the images "over the last three weeks."

    I'm taking Tony at his word that this is the first time that this has happened.- Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer

    "The recipient was, in fact, an individual or party who targeted me for the purpose of financial extortion," he wrote.

    Sources told CBC*News that the would-be extortionist asked Clement to pay €50,000 ($75,200 Cdn) or risk seeing the images and video released publicly.

    "The*RCMP*are currently investigating the matter to determine the identity of the party responsible for the extortion attempt," Clement said.

    Scheer didn't answer questions about whether Clement can run under the Conservative banner in 2019.

    "I don't have anything further to add to that dynamic, or to anything about … internal caucus matters, but I think we*can all agree that this was a very poor decision," he told reporters Wednesday.

    "I'm taking Tony at his word that this is the first time that this has happened. It's a terrible lapse of judgment that we're all disappointed in."

    When asked if Conservative leadership has warned other Tory MPs against this sort of behaviour, Scheer said he shouldn't have to remind elected officials to refrain from obviously inappropriate conduct.

    "I don't know that too many people would have to be told not to share explicit images and videos with people that you haven't met, but obviously this is a terrible decision."