Tony Clement finds unlikely defender in victims' advocate
'I'm seeing a lot of hypocrisy on this issue,' Julie Lalonde says
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.
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.
If you think anyone who cheats or anyone who sends nudes can’t hold political office because they set themselves up to be extorted or made into a national security issue, I’m truly astounded by your naivety about human sexual behaviour. <br><br>Like wow.—@JulieSLalonde
COMPLEXITY: Get into it! <br><br>Tony Clement can be both a creep and someone who has been victimized. <br><br>We can, and should, call out how women have known for years that he is trash. We can, and should, also condemn being extorted for their nudes. <br><br>Come on, people.—@JulieSLalonde
"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."
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