|Minister of Veterans Affairs|
November 4, 2015
|Prime Minister||Justin Trudeau|
|Preceded by||Erin O'Toole|
|Associate Minister of National Defence|
November 4, 2015
|Prime Minister||Justin Trudeau|
|Preceded by||Julian Fantino|
|Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Calgary Centre
October 19, 2015
|Preceded by||Joan Crockatt|
|Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta for Calgary-Buffalo|
March 3, 2008 – May 5, 2015
|Preceded by||Harvey Cenaiko|
|Succeeded by||Kathleen Ganley|
December 16, 1969 |
|Political party||Liberal Party of Canada|
|Alma mater||University of Calgary|
Kent Hehr PC MP (born December 16, 1969) is a lawyer, community leader and Liberal Member of Parliament for the riding of Calgary Centre after winning in the 2015 Canadian general elections. Hehr was named Minister of Veterans Affairs in the federal Cabinet, headed by Justin Trudeau, on November 4, 2015. Part of his mandate letter by the prime minister, he was mandated to reopen the nine veterans affairs offices closed by the conservative government, restore lifelong pensions for injured veterans, increase the value of the disability award, expand access to the permanent impairment allowance, create a veterans education benefit and more. He was the Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta for Calgary-Buffalo from 2008 to 2015.
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 and became quadraplegic. 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.
Hehr has also been active in numerous community groups within Calgary. He has served on the following boards in the past few years:
- 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
In June 2006, Hehr won the Calgary-Buffalo Liberal nomination in a contest with Keith Purdy, a gay rights activist. It was the first time the Alberta Liberals had had a contested nomination in Calgary since 1998. He was subsequently elected to the legislature in the March 3, 2008 general election.
After the election, Hehr was chosen to be the Shadow Minister for Justice and Solicitor General for the Alberta Liberal Caucus. 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:
- Special Standing Committee on Member Services
- Standing Committee on Community Services (deputy chair)
- Standing Committee on Resource and Environment
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. 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.
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 students 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 Section 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.
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.
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.
Hehr’s most recent call has been to give police the power to seize vehicles that contain unregistered firearms, along with the gun. Bill 201 was defeated in second reading March 9, 2009 with no Conservative MLA support.
On July 17, 2014, following some speculation, Hehr announced he would seek the federal Liberal nomination in Calgary Centre. On November 28, he was acclaimed as the Liberal candidate. Hehr won the Calgary Centre riding from Conservative Joan Crockatt in the 2015 federal election on October 19, 2015. He and colleague Darshan Kang of the newly created Calgary Skyview riding became the first Liberals elected in Calgary since Pat Mahoney in 1968.
Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence
|Canadian federal election, 2015: Calgary Centre|
|New Democratic||Jillian Ratti||3,412||5.6%||-9.56||–|
|Total valid votes/Expense limit||61,249||100.0||$221,059.99|
|Total rejected ballots||227||–||–|
|Source: Elections Canada|
|Alberta general election, 2008: Calgary-Buffalo|
|Progressive Conservative||Sean Chu||3,646||38.85%||-4.68%|
|New Democratic||Robert Lawrence||387||4.12%||-1.79%|
|Social Credit||Antoni Grochowski||158||1.69%||0.75%|
|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|
|Progressive Conservative||Jamie Lall||3,505||30.61%|
|New Democratic||Rebecca Eras||541||4.95%|
|Alberta Party||Cory Mack||230||2.11%|
|Total / Turnout||11,433||50.37%|
- "Conservatives' Calgary fortress resists change". CBC News. 2008-03-03. Retrieved 2015-09-03.
- Fekete, Jason. "Kent Hehr overcomes enormous personal and political obstacles to become Calgary Liberal MP". Ottawa Citizen. Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 26 August 2016.
- Mingo, Rita (2008-01-01). "20 Compelling Calgarians / Injury led lawyer to new rewards". Calgary Herald. Retrieved 2008-03-03.
- "MLA for Calgary-Buffalo". Alberta Legislature. Retrieved 2008-08-27.
- "Liberals select lawyer as Calgary-Buffalo candidate". CBC News. 2006-06-20. Retrieved 2015-09-03.
- "Kent Hehr, Calgary-Buffalo". Alberta Liberal Caucus. Retrieved 2008-08-27.
- "Alberta Hansard". Alberta Liberal Caucus. 2008-06-06. Retrieved 2008-08-27.
- "Crowded race for Calgary mayor". CBC News. 2010-09-20. Retrieved 2015-09-03.
- "CTV Calgary". CTV Calgary. 2008-07-24. Retrieved 2008-08-27.
- "Edmonton Journal". Edmonton Journal. 2008-07-24. Retrieved 2008-08-27.
- Alberta Hansard March 9, 2009, 286
- "Full list of Justin Trudeau's cabinet". CBC News.
- Elections Canada – Confirmed candidates for Calgary Centre, 30 September 2015
- Elections Canada – Preliminary Election Expenses Limits for Candidates
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Kent Hehr.|