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Attempts to expose former Conservative MP Tony Clement’s online sexual activities go back to last summer, women say

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On Wednesday, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer requested Clement’s resignation. The demand came less than 24 hours after Clement published a statement claiming he was targeted for “financial extortion” after sending sexual images and a video to an unknown party. Clement claims he believed the person was a consenting female adult.

The Star has interviewed two women who say they met Clement online and went on to have sexual interactions with him. Both women, who know each other and consulted about speaking publicly, asked the Star not to publish their names—one out of concern over Clement’s reaction to her speaking publicly about him; the other because she feared ramifications in her professional life.

The Star has agreed to keep their identities confidential in order to tell their stories in the public interest, as Clement was a senior Conservative figure with high level security clearance.

When presented with a detailed account of the women’s claims Wednesday night, Clement responded by email: “I’m working on a statement that I’ll get to you when I’m comfortable with it. Appreciate it.”

In a statement posted to his personal website Thursday afternoon, Clement confirmed he engaged in multiple “inappropriate exchanges that crossed lines that should have never been crossed.” He said these exchanges led to “acts of infidelity.” One of these exchanges led to a woman being offered money by an anonymous social media account in exchange for intimate and personal information about him, he said.

According to the women’s accounts, sometime last spring or summer Clement became aware of Instagram accounts that sent messages about his behaviour toward women, sought information about him, and posted photos of him. The women said Clement separately told them he had reported this online behaviour to police.

This would mean Clement was aware for months that an unknown party was seeking embarrassing information about him before he publicly revealed the extortion allegations.

As a member of Parliament’s new national security committee, Clement was bound by law to notify the Clerk of the Privy Council—the federal government’s top bureaucrat—of “any change in their personal circumstances that may affect their security clearance.”

Examples spelled out in the law include criminal convictions, a change in financial situation, association with criminals and being “the subject of a law enforcement action.”

The Star reported Tuesday night that Clement flagged the issue to the Privy Council Office days ago, and that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office was made aware. The RCMP is now investigating Clement’s allegation, but refused to say when the investigation was opened.

Cameron Ahmad, a spokesperson for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, said Thursday that the PMO learned of the alleged extortion against Clement, after the privy council was informed.

The privy council did not immediately respond to the Star about when it was told about Clement’s situation.

The first woman who spoke to the Star is in her early twenties. She said Clement added her on Instagram last year and liked some of her photos. He started sending her direct messages, which she said became flirtatious and then overtly sexual. She said they started consensually sharing intimate messages, and he sent her explicit images.

“He would talk dirty to me, then send me nude photos and videos,” she said.

He asked her more than once to meet for coffee or come to his house, but the woman said she made up excuses to avoid going. She never met Clement in the offline world, she said.

A few months ago—the woman believes it was in June or July—Clement asked her to delete all records of their conversations. She said the MP told her he was concerned his Instagram account was “hacked” and asked her to only speak to him over WhatsApp, an encrypted messaging service.

The woman said she agreed with Clement’s request.

Soon after that conversation, she said an unknown user added her on Instagram. She said the account messaged her and alleged Clement engaged in inappropriate sexual behaviour toward women. The woman, who said she didn’t know who was behind the account, took it as a “warning.”

“I was actually kind of scared,” she said. “I’m still wondering how the heck did they find me?”

The woman provided the Star with a screenshot of the message, which does not show the name of the account. The message is dated July 2.

The woman said she told Clement about the message, and that he “begged” her to believe the message was not true and that she was the only woman he was interacting with. She said Clement sent her a screenshot of a different Instagram account, @pierson476. She said Clement asked her if she had seen that account on Instagram; the woman said she had not.

The woman provided the Star with the screenshot she said Clement sent her. It is timestamped in her phone “7/3/18,” a date she believes is July 3, 2018. The photo shows @pierson476’s profile page, which displays two photos: one of a smartphone displaying a picture of a shirtless Clement, the other what appears to be Clement kissing a woman on the cheek.

The Star was unable to find either account – the one that messaged the woman about Clement, and @pierson476 – on Instagram. The woman said both accounts disappeared soon after these interactions with Clement.

The woman’s ex-boyfriend, whose contact information she provided to the Star, said she messaged him sometime in the summer – he believes before August – to tell him about her online relationship with Clement. He said she also told him about the strange Instagram accounts, and that she sent him the screenshot of @pierson476.

The ex-boyfriend’s phone shows the screenshot was uploaded to his Google Photos application on July 3.

Later, in what the woman recalls to be late July, she spoke with Clement again about the strange Instagram accounts. The woman said Clement told her “someone was after him for money” and that he told her he reported the activity to “the RCMP and police.”

“He was scared,” the woman said. “He said at one point he couldn’t sleep for a week.”

The RCMP refused to say when they received information from Clement or opened their investigation into his claims.

The second woman who spoke to the Star is in her twenties. She, too, met Clement online when he added her on social media. The woman said he started liking her pictures and then started sending her direct messages that often included kiss and heart emoticons.

She said she went on to have an intimate relationship with Clement. She said she decided to end their relationship because the 57-year-old MP is married.

Some time later, in May or June 2018, the woman said she received messages from “two or three” unknown users on Instagram. One of them sent her information about the first woman who spoke to the Star, and the two women connected online at that point, they said.

The second woman said one of the accounts offered her money for information about Clement, but she said she doesn’t recall which account it was.

“This person, whoever it was, was trying to expose his behaviour,” she said.

The woman said Clement was aware of this Instagram activity and flagged one of the accounts to her – @pierson476. She said Clement told her he reported it to the Ontario Provincial Police, and that all of the strange accounts have since disappeared.

The woman does not have any records of her interactions with these accounts, but she provided the Star with a screenshot of a text message conversation with Clement, in which he mentioned he was speaking with police. The woman said she scrolled back in her phone and took the screenshot Thursday, but said the exchange it shows is from July.

Sgt. Carole Dionne, a spokesperson for the OPP, declined to comment Wednesday night. She said the OPP doesn’t confirm if it receives reports from the public, nor does it confirm whether it has started an investigation.

The RCMP declined further comment Thursday, aside from confirming an investigation has been opened at Clement’s request.

Kim Fox, a Canadian journalist in Philadelphia, told the Star she also had unusual interactions with Clement on social media. About three or four years ago, she said he added her to Instagram and started liking her photos. She said she would wake up in the morning and see a “wall” of notifications — sometimes up to 10 or 20, she said.

“It was a joke, I would screen cap them and I would send them to my friends,” she said. “It just made me really uncomfortable … It’s odd behaviour for a public figure.”

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Anglais

Nostalgia and much more with Starburst XXXtreme

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Get a taste of adventure with Starburst XXXtreme based on the legendary NetEnt Game. The nostalgic themes are sure to capture fans of the classic version as they get treated to higher intensity, better visuals, and features. The most significant element of the game is its volatility. Patience will not be an essential virtue considering the insane gameplay, and there is a lot of win potential involved. It retains the original makeup of the previous game while adding a healthy dose of adrenaline. 

Starburst Visuals and Symbols

The game is definitely more conspicuous than before. The setting happens over a 5-reel, 3-row game grid with nine fixed win lines, which function if a succession from the left to the right reel is present. Only those players that that attain the highest win per bet line are paid. From a visual standpoint, the Starburst XXXtreme slots illustrates lightning effects behind the reels, which is not surprising as it is inherited from the original version. Available themes include Classic, Jewels, and Space. The game is also available in both desktop and mobile versions, which is advantageous for players considering the global pandemic. According to Techguide, American gamers are increasingly having more engaging gaming experiences to socialize to fill the gap of in-person interaction. Starburst XXXtreme allows them to fill the social void at a time when there is so much time to be had indoors. 

Starburst XXXTreme Features

Players get to alternate on three features which are Starburst Wilds, XXXtreme Spins, and Random Wilds. The first appears on reels 2,3, or 4. When these land, they expand to cover all positions while also calculating the wins. They are also locked for a respin. If a new one hits, it also becomes locked while awarding another respin. Starburst XXXtreme offers a choice between two scenarios for a higher stake. In one scenario with a ten times stake, the Starburst Wild is set on random on reels 2,3, or 4, and a multiplier starts the respin. The second scenario, which has a 95 times stake, starts with two guaranteed starburst wilds on reels 2,3, or 4. it also plays out using respin game sequence and features. The game also increases the potential with the Random Wilds feature to add Starburst Wilds to a vacant reel at the end of a spin. Every Starburst Wild gives a random multiplier with potential wins of x2, x3, x5, x10, x25, x50, x100, or even x150.

The new feature is sure to be a big hit with the gaming market as online gambling has shown significant growth during the lockdown. AdAge indicates the current casino customer base is an estimated one in five Americans, so Starburst XXXtreme’s additional features will achieve considerable popularity. 

What We Think About The Game

The gambling market has continued to diversify post-pandemic, so it is one of the most opportune times to release an online casino-based game. Thankfully Starburst XXXtreme features eye-catching visuals, including the jewels and space themes. These attract audience participation and make the gameplay inviting. The game also has a nostalgic edge. The previous NetEnt iteration featured similar visuals and gameplay, so the audience has some familiarity with it. The producers have revamped this version by tweaking the features to improve the volatility and engagement. 

That is characterized by the potential win cap of 200,000 times the bet. Starburst XXXtreme does not just give betting alternatives for players that want to go big. The increase of multipliers also provides a great experience. If the respins in the previous version were great, knowing that multipliers can go hundreds of times overtakes the game to a new level. 

Players should get excited about this offering. All of the features can be triggered within a single spin. Whether one plays the standard game or takes the XXXtreme spin route, it is possible to activate all of the features. Of course, the potential 200,000 times potential is a huge carrot. However, the bet size is probably going to be restricted and vary depending on the casino. It is also worth pointing out that a malfunction during the gameplay will void all of the payouts and progress. Overall, the game itself has been designed to provide a capped win of 200,000 times the original bet. 

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Anglais

‘We’re back’: Montreal festival promoters happy to return but looking to next year

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In downtown Montreal, it’s festival season.

In the city’s entertainment district, a musical act was conducting a sound check on stage Friday evening — the second day of the French-language version of the renowned Just For Laughs comedy festival. Tickets for many of the festival’s free outdoor shows — limited by COVID-19 regulations — were sold out.

Two blocks away, more than 100 people were watching an acoustic performance by the Isaac Neto Trio — part of the last weekend of the Festival International Nuits d’Afrique, a celebration of music from the African continent and the African diaspora.

With COVID-19 restrictions continuing to limit capacity, festival organizers say they’re glad to be back but looking forward to next year when they hope border restrictions and capacity limits won’t affect their plans.

Charles Décarie, Just For Laughs’ CEO and president, said this is a “transition year.”

“Even though we have major constraints from the public health group in Montreal, we’ve managed to design a festival that can navigate through those constraints,” Décarie said.

The French-language Juste pour rire festival began on July 15 and is followed by the English-language festival until July 31.

When planning began in February and March, Décarie said, organizers came up with a variety of scenarios for different crowd sizes, ranging from no spectators to 50 per cent of usual capacity.

“You’ve got to build scenarios,” he said. “You do have to plan a little bit more than usual because you have to have alternatives.”

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MELS new major movie studio to be built in Montreal

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MONTREAL — MELS Studios will build a new film studio in Montreal, filling some of the gap in supply to meet the demand of Hollywood productions.

MELS president Martin Carrier said on Friday that MELS 4 studio construction will begin « as soon as possible », either in the fall or winter of next year. The studio could host productions as early as spring 2023.

The total investment for the project is $76 million, with the Quebec government contributing a $25 million loan. The project will create 110 jobs, according to the company.

The TVA Group subsidiary’s project will enable it to stand out « even more » internationally, according to Quebecor president and CEO Pierre Karl Péladeau. In the past, MELS Studios has hosted several major productions, including chapters of the X-Men franchise. The next Transformers movie is shooting this summer in Montreal.

Péladeau insisted that local cultural productions would also benefit from the new facility, adding that the studio ensures foreign revenues and to showcase talent and maintain an industry of Quebec producers.

STUDIO SHORTAGE

The film industry is cramped in Montreal.

According to a report published last May by the Bureau du cinéma et de la télévision du Québec (BCTQ), there is a shortage of nearly 400,000 square feet of studio space.

With the addition of MELS 4, which will be 160,000 square feet, the company is filling part of the gap.

Carrier admitted that he has had to turn down contracts because of the lack of space, representing missed opportunities of « tens of millions of dollars, not only for MELS, but also for the Quebec economy. »

« Montreal’s expertise is in high demand, » said Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante, who was present at the announcement.

She said she received great testimonials from « Netflix, Disney, HBO and company » during an economic mission to Los Angeles in 2019.

« What stands out is that they love Montreal because of its expertise, knowledge and beauty. We need more space, like MELS 4, » she said.

There is still not enough capacity in Quebec, acknowledged Minister of Finance, the Economy and Innovation Eric Girard.

« It is certain that the government is concerned about fairness and balance, so if other requests come in, we will study them with the same seriousness as we have studied this one, » he said.

Grandé Studios is the second-largest player in the industry. Last May, the company said it had expansion plans that should begin in 2022. Investissement Québec and Bell are minority shareholders in the company.

For its part, MELS will have 400,000 square feet of production space once MELS 4 is completed. The company employs 450 people in Quebec and offers a range of services including studio and equipment rentals, image and sound postproduction, visual effects and a virtual production platform.

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