OTTAWA — A former Canadian cabinet minister resigned from several parliamentary posts Tuesday night after acknowledging that he had sent sexually explicit photographs and a video to a woman over a three-week period.
Tony Clement, a Conservative who twice ran for the leadership of his party, said in a statement that he had believed that the recipient was “consenting.” But he said, without offering details, that he had “been targeted for the purpose of financial extortion.”
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, which Mr. Clement said were investigating, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Mr. Clement, 57, said he would retain his seat in Parliament but would resign as the Conservatives’ spokesman on justice issues, a high-profile post, and from several committee positions.
“I recognize now that I have gone down a wrong path and have exercised very poor judgment,” Mr. Clement said. “I apologize to my family for the needless pain and humiliation my actions have caused. I also apologize to my colleagues and my constituents for letting them down.”
Mr. Clement said he would seek unspecified “help and treatment” and asked that his privacy be respected.
Andrew Scheer, the party’s leader, said in a statement that he was disappointed by Mr. Clement’s actions but encouraged that he had decided to seek help. Mr. Clement’s admission may be embarrassing for Mr. Scheer, a social conservative who has opposed same-sex marriage and abortion rights.
Compared with many Canadian politicians, Mr. Clement was an early adopter and avid user of social media, particularly Twitter and Instagram. Unusually, Mr. Clement has not posted any new tweets since Oct. 31. He is married to Lynne Golding, a prominent Toronto lawyer.
Mr. Clement first rose to prominence in a right-of-center Progressive Conservative government in Ontario in which he held several cabinet positions, including health minister.
His initial bid to be elected to the federal House of Commons in suburban Toronto failed. In 2006, after moving to a district north of Toronto, Mr. Clement won his seat by a 28-vote margin.
While the Conservatives were in power, Mr. Clement held four different cabinet posts, again including that of health minister. In 2010, while serving as industry minister, Mr. Clement misspoke to a group of people from the telecommunications industry, saying that Canada needed more “sex stories,” rather than success stories.
That same year he came under criticism when millions of dollars in government money was spent in his electoral district in advance of a Group of 8 summit meeting. An Olympic-sized ice rink appeared, along with public washrooms, statues, gazebos and flower boxes, far from anywhere the world’s leaders would visit.