Mark Clairmont | MuskokaTODAY.com
PARRY SOUND-MUSKOKA — MP Tony Clement has decided not to run again in October’s federal election.
In a letter made public this afternoon, the embattled political veteran says in part: “This was actually not a difficult decision, and it is also the right one.”
He says he and his family are fine with the decision, but he says “It’s time to move on” from the “personal crisis I created,” in reference to the sexting scandal that rocked him and his family and political career last year.
The independent member of Parliament said on Tuesday, that “I am still a movement conservative,” and that he will be “supporting my Leader and Party in the upcoming election.”
His letter didn’t exactly clarify if that party and that leader are that of Andrew Scheer, who removed him from the Tory caucus.
Clement will remain an MP for the local until the his term runs out.
The Parry Sound-Muskoka Conservative riding association must now quickly pick a candidate to run in the fall federal election on Monday, Oct. 19.
Huntsville Mayor Scott Aichison says he would seek the nomination if Clement did not run.
Clement’s letter reads:
“I’d like to update people on my present and future status.
After having spent the last several months on personal and family well-being, and on my duties as MP for Parry Sound-Muskoka, it is time for some decisions to be made.
Let me recognize and appreciate the many people locally, and across the country, who’ve offered their prayers, encouragement and support throughout the last few months. You’ve helped me emerge as a better person.
I’ve decided that I will not run for re-election as MP in the upcoming election. This was actually not a difficult decision, and it is also the right one. I am very content with it, as is my family. It’s time to move on. My personal life is back on track after the personal crisis I created, and that better lived life will continue. I’m still a movement conservative and will be supporting my Leader and Party in the upcoming election. Of course, I will complete my current term to the election date.
I want to thank the countless friends, supporters, staffers, colleagues and, most importantly, the amazing people of Parry Sound-Muskoka, for their support over the past 13 years. It has been a dream job and there has been no higher honour. This is in addition to the over eight years I spent as Member of Provincial Parliament in Brampton and Mississauga. That was an experience I’ve treasured as well.
As I look back on my Ontario and national political life, there have been lows but many more highs. I have sat at the cabinet table for 16 years, with eight different portfolios. Some highlights include: working with many devoted and talented public servants in the battle against SARS; establishing the Mental Health Commission of Canada; coordinating the efforts to save the country’s auto and other industry sectors during the Great Recession; and leading the deficit reduction plan that returned the federal government to a balanced budget.
I’ve participated in the making of many momentous decisions: war and peace, economic rebuilding and how Canada would meet the challenges of a disrupted and changing world order.
As a party activist for 44 years, I’ve been a party president in Ontario and nationally, and participated in 13 Ontario elections and 12 federal elections. I’ve run for party leader both federally and provincially. I’ve won six general elections (and lost two). Most importantly, I have worked hard to help people, which is the highest calling imaginable.
I offer my thanks to premiers Mike Harris and Ernie Eves, and Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who included me in their cabinets; my late step-father John Clement, Premier William Davis, prime Minister Brian Mulroney and Preston Manning, for their mentorship; and, of course, my wife Lynne, without whom none of the good I accomplished would have been at all possible.
In addition, my three wonderful children Alex, Maxine and Elexa, have lent me out for all of their lives, and I am looking forward to more time together in the future. My mother, Carol, also deserves a lot of credit for my successes, and she always had my back.
Politics has changed so much since I was first elected in 1995. Anyone who enters this life faces loneliness, anxieties and adversity.
But also triumph and a feeling of accomplishing something important. I commend you all. For me, despite the challenges and the obvious effects on my emotional well-being, I am convinced this has been worthwhile as my life’s work.
As this chapter draws to a close, I remain an idealist who believes that people working together can make a difference for their community, our country and the world.”