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Tony Clement’s downfall shows it’s time for men to do better

Toronto Star logo Toronto Star 2018-11-08 Star Editorial Board -

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

Tony Clement posing for the camera: MP Tony Clement proves men must do better. © Sean Kilpatrick MP Tony Clement proves men must do better.

A year after the Harvey Weinstein scandal and a year after New York Congressman Anthony Weiner was jailed for 21 months for sexting with a 15-year-old girl on Skype, some men still aren’t getting the message of the #MeToo movement.

That is simply this: it’s not just about rape. Uninvited sexual attention — exposure, stalking, harassment, trolling, touching, persistent attention, sexting — are in some cases illegal and in others unwelcome, uncivilized and unacceptable.

There can be no excuse for any man not to have received this message, loud and clear, by this point.

But in the wake of this week’s double-whammy scandal surrounding MP Tony Clement, it clearly bears repeating: men must do better.

As readers will know by now, earlier this week it was revealed Clement, a now ex-member of this country’s national security committee and Conservative caucus, was dumb enough to send sexually explicit photos — and a video, to boot — to someone he didn’t even know but says he thought was a “consenting female recipient.”

That person then allegedly turned around and demanded money — reported to be in excess of $75,000 — to not share the images publicly.

Police are investigating the alleged extortion and Clement’s best hope from this is that that person is of age and it doesn’t involve national security.

There’s more.

In the fallout from that revelation it has become clear that Clement, who is 57, has made numerous women, including much younger women, feel “uncomfortable” over the years by obsessively “liking” their Instagram photos or direct messaging them on Twitter late at night with questionable messages.

Among the landslide of women who turned to social media to complain about his unwanted attention this week was Claire McWatt. She was a 23-year-old chair of the Toronto Youth Cabinet in 2014 when Clement sent her a direct message on Twitter after midnight expressing a desire to talk municipal politics. “He knew how young I was. That’s creepy,” she said.

Indeed, Rachel Curran, a former senior Conservative aide in the Harper government, told the Globe and Mail that Clement was known for sending “multiple unsolicited” direct messages to young women, characterizing his behaviour as “harassment.”

But still, with his career — if not his marriage and relationship with his three adult children — in ruins, Clement continues to claim to be oblivious to how he made women feel.

“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,” he wrote in a letter to constituents on his web page on Thursday.


Women deserve better than this. Men must do better than this.


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