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Tony Clement finds unlikely defender in victims' advocate

cbc.ca logo cbc.ca 2018-11-08 CBC/Radio-Canada

A well-known advocate for sexual assault victims found herself defending MP Tony Clement on social media after the MP came forward to say someone tried to extort him after he shared sexually explicit images with them online.

Federal Conservative leader Andrew Scheer said Wednesday that new evidence has come to light to suggest the incident was not isolated — and that Clement is alleged to have engaged in similar behaviour in the past.

Women's rights advocate Julie Lalonde says the notion that MP Tony Clement shouldn't hold office because his sexting left him vulnerable to extortion is a form of victim-blaming. © Ashley Burke/CBC News Women's rights advocate Julie Lalonde says the notion that MP Tony Clement shouldn't hold office because his sexting left him vulnerable to extortion is a form of victim-blaming.

He then asked Clement to leave the Conservative caucus.

"I took him at his word that this was an isolated incident. Since then, there have been numerous reports of other incidents, allegations, so in that respect I've asked Tony to resign from caucus so that he can respond to these allegations," Scheer said on Wednesday.

'I'm seeing a lot of hypocrisy,' Lalonde says

On Twitter, Julie Lalonde wrote Wednesday that while Clement appears to have exhibited "creepy" behaviour toward women online, he also appears to have been a victim.

She also wrote that if Clement were a woman, she doubts people would have reacted to the sexting the same way.

"I'm seeing a lot of hypocrisy on this issue, and it's really, truly partisan ... I don't feel like it's appropriate for us to say that sextortion ... is OK if we don't like the person that's being extorted," Lalonde told CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning on Wednesday.

"I don't think that you have to pick a team. You can say he's done terrible things, and something terrible is happening to him right now."

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has asked Ontario MP Tony Clement to leave the Conservative caucus after sharing sexually explicit images with someone online. © Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has asked Ontario MP Tony Clement to leave the Conservative caucus after sharing sexually explicit images with someone online.

Lalonde said the idea that Clement shouldn't hold office because he sent sexts, thereby creating the opportunity to be extorted, is a form of victim-blaming.

"The idea that he made himself vulnerable to extortion is something that I hear about teen girls who have sent nudes — people saying, 'Well, you set yourself up to be blackmailed, you set yourself up to be exploited by sharing those nudes,'" she said.

The problem to focus on is Clement's alleged aggressive online behaviour toward women, Lalonde said, not that he cheated on his partner and sent sexually explicit images of himself.

"Those are two separate things."

CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning

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