Kent Hehr

Kent Hehr PC (born December 16, 1969)[1] is a Canadian politician from Alberta. He was elected as the Liberal Member of Parliament for the riding of Calgary Centre in the 2015 federal election. Hehr was named Minister of Veterans Affairs in the federal Cabinet, headed by Justin Trudeau, on November 4, 2015, and was shuffled to be Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities in August 2017. Hehr resigned from cabinet on January 25, 2018, after allegations of workplace misconduct surfaced from when he was the Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta for Calgary-Buffalo.[2][3] He lost his seat in the 2019 Canadian federal election.


Kent Hehr

Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities
In office
August 28, 2017  January 25, 2018
Prime MinisterJustin Trudeau
Preceded byCarla Qualtrough
Succeeded byKirsty Duncan
Minister of Veterans Affairs
In office
November 4, 2015  August 28, 2017
Prime MinisterJustin Trudeau
Preceded byErin O'Toole
Succeeded bySeamus O'Regan
Associate Minister of National Defence
In office
November 4, 2015  August 28, 2017
Prime MinisterJustin Trudeau
Preceded byJulian Fantino
Succeeded bySeamus O'Regan
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Calgary Centre
In office
October 19, 2015  October 21, 2019
Preceded byJoan Crockatt
Succeeded byGreg McLean
Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta for Calgary-Buffalo
In office
March 3, 2008  May 5, 2015
Preceded byHarvey Cenaiko
Succeeded byKathleen Ganley
Personal details
Born (1969-12-16) December 16, 1969
Calgary, Alberta, Canada[1]
Political partyLiberal Party of Canada
Alma materUniversity of Calgary
ProfessionLawyer
Websitewww.kenthehr.ca

Before entering politics, Hehr worked as a disability activist and a lawyer.

Personal life

As a teenager, Hehr was active in sports including both baseball and hockey. These are interests which Hehr is still passionate about to this day. He played for the Alberta Junior Hockey League champion Calgary Canucks in 1989–90 and for the Mount Royal College Cougars the following year.

He had a goal of becoming a physical education teacher. However, on October 3, 1991, Hehr was shot as a bystander in a drive-by shooting. He was rendered a C5 quadriplegic; he is paralyzed from the chest down.[4] His injuries ended his plans, and instead Hehr pursued post-secondary studies at Mount Royal College and then at the University of Calgary, from which he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Canadian Studies and a Bachelor of Laws. Upon graduation he was named graduate of the decade and ranked among the top 40 graduates in 40 years. Prior to being elected Member of the Legislative Assembly, Hehr practised law at Fraser Milner Casgrain.

Hehr also became active in the community, leading various groups, such as the Alberta branch of the Canadian Paraplegic Association. In 2008, he was listed as one of "20 Compelling Calgarians" by the Calgary Herald.[5]

Hehr has also been active in numerous community groups within Calgary. He has served on the following boards in the past few years:[6]

  • National Education Association of Disabled Students, president
  • Calgary Advisory Committee on Accessibility, chair
  • Spinal Cord Injury Alberta, chair
  • Calgary Downtown West Community Association
  • United Way of Calgary Leaders Committee
  • Calgary Canuck Alumni Association

Provincial politics

In June 2006, Hehr won the Calgary-Buffalo Liberal nomination in a contest.[7] He was subsequently elected to the legislature in the March 3, 2008 general election.[3]

After the election, Hehr was chosen to be the Shadow Minister for Justice and Solicitor General for the Alberta Liberal Caucus.[8] As the Shadow Minister, Hehr worked to tackle crime in the province while focusing on other justice issues.

In the legislature, Hehr served on the following committees:[9]

  • Special Standing Committee on Member Services
  • Standing Committee on Community Services (deputy chair)
  • Standing Committee on Resource and Environment

Hehr campaigned for mayor in the 2010 Calgary municipal election but withdrew a month before the vote to endorse Naheed Nenshi.[10]

LGBT rights

In 2014, Hehr proposed a private member's bill into the Alberta Legislature that would urge public schools to support students who wished to create gay-straight alliances.[11] The bill, while supported by the Liberals, Alberta NDP and some Progressive Conservatives, was voted down by a majority of PC and Wildrose MLAs in April.[12]

Six months later Laurie Blakeman brought a private members bill forward which essentially adopted Hehr's motion. Instead of allowing a vote to proceed on this motion, the PC government brought in their own bill, the essence of which allowed public, Catholic, and private school entities to decide whether or not they would allow a Gay-Straight Alliance in their district. Ultimately the PCs brought in a reformed bill that effectively allowed Gay-Straight Alliances in all schools throughout the province.

Gun violence

For Hehr, himself a shooting victim, a major focus has been on gun violence in the province. Soon after he was elected, the City of Calgary became trapped in a gang war which has claimed the lives of many young individuals.[13]

Hehr put pressure on the government to help reduce these numbers. He started by calling on the province to increase the number of police officers on the beat in downtown Calgary. The Mayor and the Police Chief have also joined in his call to increase the number of police officers.[14]

Hehr's most recent call was to give police the power to seize vehicles that contain unregistered firearms, along with the gun.[13] Bill 201 was defeated in second reading on March 9, 2009, with no Conservative MLA support.[15]

Federal politics

On July 17, 2014, following some speculation, Hehr announced he would seek the federal Liberal nomination in Calgary Centre.[16][17] On November 28, he was acclaimed as the Liberal candidate.[18] Hehr won the Calgary Centre riding in the 2015 federal election on October 19, 2015. Alongside Calgary Skyview member of Parliament Darshan Kang, who was elected the same evening, Hehr became the first Liberal elected in Calgary since Pat Mahoney in 1968.[18]

Hehr was appointed Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence in Justin Trudeau's first cabinet on November 4, 2015.[19]

In a cabinet shuffle in late 2017, Hehr became Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, succeeding Carla Qualtrough on August 28, 2017.[20][21]

In November 2017, it was reported that the Ethics Commissioner was investigating Hehr following accusations that he used Parliamentary Resources to help his father campaign for a seat on the Calgary Board of Education.[22] He was subsequently cleared in this investigation.

In December 2017, Hehr was accused of making insensitive remarks to a group of thalidomide survivors. In a meeting early that year, the members of the group accused Hehr of inappropriate touching, saying "Well you don't have it so bad. Everyone in Canada has a sob story", and in reference to their reduced life expectancy "So you probably have about 10 years left then now, that's good news for the Canadian government."[23] He denied making the statement.

Shortly after, a wife of a veteran suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder came forward accusing him of poor treatment during a meeting in October 2016. The woman said he was "very condescending", gave her only two minutes of his time, when asked a question about the government denying maternity benefits he replied "Well, Ms. McCrea, that is the old question, like asking ... 'When did you stop beating your wife?'",[24] and when asked about support for her family he allegedly responded "you married him, he's your responsibility".[25]

Hehr resigned from cabinet on January 25, 2018, amid allegations of sexual harassment.[2]

He was defeated in the 2019 federal election.

Electoral record

Federal

2019 Canadian federal election: Calgary Centre
** Preliminary results — Not yet official **
Party Candidate Votes%±%Expenditures
ConservativeGreg McLean37,30656.6+11.44
LiberalKent Hehr17,77127.0-19.52
New DemocraticJessica Buresi6,5169.9+4.33
GreenThana Boonlert2,8534.3+2.1
People'sChevy Johnston9071.4-
Animal ProtectionEden Gould2470.4-
IndependentMichael Pewtress1380.2-0.19
Christian HeritageDawid Pawlowski1220.2-
Total valid votes/Expense limit 65,864100.0
Total rejected ballots 385
Turnout 66,24969.4
Eligible voters 95,408
Conservative gain from Liberal Swing +15.48
Source: Elections Canada[26][27]
2015 Canadian federal election: Calgary Centre
Party Candidate Votes%±%Expenditures
LiberalKent Hehr28,49646.52+27.40$190,509.57
ConservativeJoan Crockatt27,74645.3010.07$157,845.73
New DemocraticJillian Ratti3,4125.579.59$19,466.71
GreenThana Boonlert1,3472.208.13$3,584.84
IndependentYogi Henderson2480.39$1,203.28
Total valid votes/Expense limit 61,249100.00 $222,181.20
Total rejected ballots 2270.37
Turnout 61,47672.36
Eligible voters 84,960
Liberal gain from Conservative Swing +18.73
Source: Elections Canada[28][29]

Provincial

2012 Alberta general election: Calgary-Buffalo
Party Candidate Votes%
LiberalKent Hehr4,74442.02%
Progressive ConservativeJamie Lall3,50530.61%
WildroseMike Blanchard2,41320.31%
New DemocraticRebecca Eras5414.95%
Alberta PartyCory Mack2302.11%
Total / Turnout 11,43350.37%
2008 Alberta general election: Calgary-Buffalo
Party Candidate Votes%±%
LiberalKent Hehr4,58348.83%12.42%
Progressive ConservativeSean Chu3,64638.85%4.68%
GreenStephen Ricketts6116.51%2.16%
New DemocraticRobert Lawrence3874.12%1.79%
Social CreditAntoni Grochowski1581.69%0.75%
Total 9,385
Rejected, spoiled, and declined 218
Eligible electors / Turnout 35,122 27.35%
Liberal gain from Progressive Conservative Swing 8.55%
Source: The Report on the March 3, 2008 Provincial General Election of the Twenty-seventh Legislative Assembly. Elections Alberta. July 28, 2008. pp. 178–180.

[30] [31]

References

  1. http://www.kenthehr.ca/index.php?a=bio
  2. "Hehr won't return to cabinet, but remains in Liberal caucus after harassment investigation". CBC News. Retrieved 2018-08-06.
  3. "Conservatives' Calgary fortress resists change". CBC News. 2008-03-03. Retrieved 2015-09-03.
  4. Fekete, Jason. "Kent Hehr overcomes enormous personal and political obstacles to become Calgary Liberal MP". Ottawa Citizen. Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 26 August 2016.
  5. Mingo, Rita (2008-01-01). "20 Compelling Calgarians / Injury led lawyer to new rewards". Calgary Herald. Archived from the original on 2011-08-05. Retrieved 2008-03-03.
  6. "MLA for Calgary-Buffalo". Alberta Legislature. Retrieved 2008-08-27.
  7. "Liberals select lawyer as Calgary-Buffalo candidate". CBC News. 2006-06-20. Retrieved 2015-09-03.
  8. "Kent Hehr, Calgary-Buffalo". Alberta Liberal Caucus. Archived from the original on 2009-01-31. Retrieved 2008-08-27.
  9. "Alberta Hansard". Alberta Liberal Caucus. 2008-06-06. Retrieved 2008-08-27.
  10. "Crowded race for Calgary mayor". CBC News. 2010-09-20. Retrieved 2015-09-03.
  11. https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/gay-straight-alliance-bill-for-schools-voted-down-in-alberta/article17871798/
  12. https://edmontonjournal.com/Critics+slam+Wildrose+after+straight+alliance+motion+voted+down/9716088/story.html
  13. "CTV Calgary". CTV Calgary. 2008-07-24. Retrieved 2008-08-27.
  14. "Edmonton Journal". Edmonton Journal. 2008-07-24. Archived from the original on 2008-08-30. Retrieved 2008-08-27.
  15. Alberta Hansard March 9, 2009, 286
  16. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-07-14. Retrieved 2014-07-11.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  17. https://calgaryherald.com/Kent+Hehr+seek+federal+liberal+nomination+Calgary+Centre/10038440/story.html
  18. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/kent-hehr-named-federal-liberal-candidate-for-calgary-centre-1.2854798
  19. "Full list of Justin Trudeau's cabinet". CBC News.
  20. https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2017/08/28/seamus-oregan-to-be-named-veterans-minister-as-trudeau-shuffles-cabinet.html
  21. http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/federal-trudeau-cabinet-shuffle-bios-photos-who-1.4265394
  22. http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/preliminary-ethics-inquiry-launched-kent-hehr-1.4386795
  23. https://www.thestar.com/opinion/star-columnists/2017/12/07/wanted-a-disabilities-minister-sensitive-to-the-needs-of-others.html
  24. https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2017/12/07/disabilities-minister-kent-hehr-apologizes-for-condescending-remark-to-calgary-mom.html
  25. https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2017/12/12/how-many-political-lives-does-kent-hehr-have.html
  26. "List of confirmed candidates". Elections Canada. Retrieved October 4, 2019.
  27. "Election Night Results". Elections Canada. Retrieved November 8, 2019.
  28. "October 19, 2015 Election Results — Calgary Centre (Validated results)". Elections Canada. 21 October 2015. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
  29. "Elections Canada – Preliminary Election Expenses Limits for Candidates". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2019-04-30.
  30. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/calgary-centre-election-results-and-riding-info-1.3275852
  31. http://www.cbc.ca/news2/interactives/results-2015/
29th Ministry – Cabinet of Justin Trudeau
Cabinet posts (3)
Predecessor Office Successor
Carla Qualtrough Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities
August 28, 2017 – January 25, 2018
Kirsty Duncan
Erin O'Toole Minister of Veterans Affairs
November 4, 2015 – August 28, 2017
Seamus O'Regan
Julian Fantino Associate Minister of Defence
November 4, 2015 – August 28, 2017
Seamus O'Regan
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