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. The sources are being granted anonymity because they are not authorized to publicly discuss party business.

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

Filings with Elections Canada show raised millions of dollars more than his competitors brought in.

In 2018, then-party leader Andrew Scheer 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 the party.

Former Tory MP @TonyclementCPC appointed to board of Conservative Fund: sources. #CDNPoli #CPC

Anthony Koch, a spokesman for Poilievre, acknowledged a request for comment but did not immediately provide a response.

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

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

Since winning, 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.

Party insiders regard appointees to the board as wielding 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.

On Thursday, Poilievre delivered his inaugural address in the House of Commons — a tribute to the late Queen Elizabeth and constitutional monarchy.

After the speeches, MPs — including Liberal cabinet ministers — lined up to shake the Conservative leader's hand and offer congratulations on his new role.

Social media posts also show Poilievre met with different caucus members.

During his first few days as Opposition leader, the Conservative party issued an apology for an automated text message it says was sent to party members who live in the riding of a Quebec MP that decided to resign from the Tory caucus after Poilievre's victory.

Alain Rayes, who decided to sit as an Independent after campaigning for former Quebec premier Jean Charest to win the leadership, said he believed Poilievre's office sent a text message to party members in his riding asking them to encourage him to step down.

The text message seen by The Canadian Press says that Rayes has decided not to fight inflation with Poilievre's team and encouraged recipients to call the MP's office and tell him to quit.

After the party's apology late Wednesday, Rayes issued a statement on social media noting the party did not say sorry to him personally.

"For me, bullying in any form is unacceptable," he wrote Thursday.

"I will never hesitate to denounce it vehemently. I would like to thank all those who have shown their support."

Poilievre also found himself in a verbal tussle with a reporter in Ottawa on Tuesday who interrupted the start of his press conference after being told the new leader would not take any questions during his first media appearance since his big win.

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

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