Former Tory MP Tony Clement appointed to board of Conservative Fund: sources

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OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre has appointed former member of Parliament Tony Clement to serve on the board of the Conservative Fund, the federal party's main fundraising arm, sources say.

After a landslide victory in the party's leadership election on the weekend in which he received almost 70 per cent of support from members, Poilievre is transitioning into the Opposition leader's office and has begun installing his picks in key positions.

Clement is one of them, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the move who confirmed the details of his appointment to The Canadian Press.

Clement, a cabinet minister under former Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper, had recently raised money for Poilievre during his successful campaign.

In 2018, then-party leader Andrew Scheer had asked Clement to leave caucus after being made aware of allegations of sexual impropriety against the former MP,who had represented a rural Ontario riding for the Conservatives since 2006.

Those allegations came soon after Clement's own admission that he sent sexually explicit images and a video to a person he thought was a consenting woman — an interaction that turned out to be an extortion attempt.

Scheer initially said that he was taking Clement at his word that he had shown a "terrible lapse in judgment" in the sexting incident. But not long after, the former leader said he learned that there were "numerous reports of activity that was serious in nature" against the longtime MP.

On Thursday, Clement referred questions about his appointment to the Conservative Fund Canada to a party spokesman, who did not immediately answer a request for comment.

Clement sat as an Independent after leaving the Tory caucus and decided to exit federal politics ahead of the 2019 federal election, when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberals were re-elected for a second term.

That election saw him replaced by Scott Aitchison, who finished last against Poilievre in the recent leadership contest.

Since winning victory, Poilievre has made other changes to the Conservative Fund board that haven't yet been publicly announced.

Sources confirmed that Toronto lawyer Robert Staley has been selected to chair the fund, succeeding James Dodds, who was picked by former leader Erin O'Toole.

People inside the party say that appointees to the board are being given a measure of power, since they set the party's budget. The positions also carry prestige.

Harper himself sat as one of its members after the Conservatives lost the 2015 election.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept, 15, 2022.

Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press