Kent Hehr

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Kent Hehr
Taft at Holy 2008-02-20 25a.jpg
Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta for Calgary-Buffalo
In office
March 3, 2008 – May 5, 2015
Preceded by Harvey Cenaiko
Succeeded by Kathleen Ganley
Personal details
Born (1969-12-16) December 16, 1969 (age 45)
Calgary, Alberta[1]
Political party Alberta Liberal Party
Alma mater University of Calgary
Profession Lawyer
Website KentHehr.ca

Kent Hehr (born December 16, 1969)[1] is a lawyer, community leader and former Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta for Calgary-Buffalo.[2] He is also the federal Liberal candidate for the riding of Calgary Centre in the upcoming 2015 election.[3]

Personal life[edit]

As a teenager, Hehr was extremely 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, in October 1991, Hehr was shot as a bystander in a drive-by shooting and became a quadriplegic.[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
  • Canadian Paraplegic Association (Alberta), chair
  • Calgary Downtown West Community Association
  • United Way of Calgary Leaders Committee
  • Calgary Canuck Alumni Association

Political career[edit]

In June 2006, Hehr won the Calgary-Buffalo Liberal nomination in a contest with Keith Purdy, a gay rights activist.[7] It was the first time the Alberta Liberals had had a contested nomination in Calgary since 1998.[7] He was subsequently elected to the legislature in the March 3, 2008 general election.[2]

Kent Hehr and David Swann at the Calgary Stampede

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 has been working to tackle crime in the province while focusing on other justice issues.

In the legislature, Hehr serves 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[edit]

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 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. The PCs were met with an outraged public who could not understand why Gay Straight Alliances should not be made available in all schools where kids wanted them. Ultimately the PCs brought in a reformed bill that effectively allowed Gay Straight Alliances in all schools throughout the province.

Further, because of Hehr and Blakeman's work, the PCs in their bill also reversed Sec.11.1 of the Human Rights Act which was brought in 2008 by then Premier Ed Stelmach. Sec.11.1 was seen by the LGBTQ community as an affront to their personal dignity. In the interim, sensing public opinion has changed on sexual minority rights in the province the PCs also removed their opposition to same sex marriage in Alberta's marriage legislation. Ultimately Hehr's motion 503 created an environment where Alberta became more open and accepting of LGBTQ rights.

Gun violence[edit]

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 has been putting 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 has been to give police the power to seize vehicles that contain unregistered firearms, along with the gun.[13] Bill 201 was defeated in second reading March 9, 2009 with no Conservative MLA support.[15]

Federal politics[edit]

On July 17, 2014, following some speculation,[16] Kent Hehr announced he would seek the federal Liberal nomination in Calgary Centre.[17] On November 28, he was acclaimed as the Liberal candidate.[3]

Electoral record[edit]

Alberta general election, 2008: Calgary-Buffalo
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
Liberal Kent Hehr 4,583 48.83% 12.42%
Progressive Conservative Sean Chu 3,646 38.85% -4.68%
Green Stephen Ricketts 611 6.51% -2.16%
New Democratic Robert Lawrence 387 4.12% -1.79%
Social Credit Antoni Grochowski 158 1.69% 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. 
Alberta general election, 2012: Calgary-Buffalo
Party Candidate Votes %
Liberal Kent Hehr 4,744 42.02%
Progressive Conservative Jamie Lall 3,505 30.61%
Wildrose Mike Blanchard 2,413 20.31%
New Democratic Rebecca Eras 541 4.95%
Alberta Party Cory Mack 230 2.11%
Total / Turnout 11,433 50.37%

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b http://www.kenthehr.ca/index.php?a=bio
  2. ^ a b "Conservatives' Calgary fortress resists change". cbc.ca (CBC News). 2008-03-04. Retrieved 2008-03-03. 
  3. ^ a b http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/kent-hehr-named-federal-liberal-candidate-for-calgary-centre-1.2854798
  4. ^ Dempster, Mike (2005-06-14). "Access advocate tackles workplace barriers: Lawyer won't let tragedy rule life as he works to change attitudes". Business Edge. Retrieved 2015-03-30. 
  5. ^ Mingo, Rita (2008-01-01). "20 Compelling Calgarians / Injury led lawyer to new rewards". Calgary Herald. Retrieved 2008-03-03. 
  6. ^ "MLA for Calgary-Buffalo". Alberta Legislature. Retrieved 2008-08-27. 
  7. ^ a b "Liberals select lawyer as Calgary-Buffalo candidate". cbc.ca (CBC News). 2006-06-20. Retrieved 2007-09-14. 
  8. ^ "Kent Hehr, Calgary-Buffalo". Alberta Liberal Caucus. 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 2010-11-23. 
  11. ^ http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/gay-straight-alliance-bill-for-schools-voted-down-in-alberta/article17871798/
  12. ^ http://www.edmontonjournal.com/Critics+slam+Wildrose+after+straight+alliance+motion+voted+down/9716088/story.html
  13. ^ a b "CTV Calgary". CTV Calgary. 2008-07-24. Retrieved 2008-08-27. 
  14. ^ "Edmonton Journal". Edmonton Journal. 2008-07-24. Retrieved 2008-08-27. 
  15. ^ Alberta Hansard March 9, 2009, 286
  16. ^ http://www.calgarysun.com/2014/07/05/a-federal-liberal-named-trudeau-treated-like-a-rock-star-in-the-heart-of-conservative-country
  17. ^ http://www.calgaryherald.com/Kent+Hehr+seek+federal+liberal+nomination+Calgary+Centre/10038440/story.html

External links[edit]