OTTAWA – Former cabinet minister Kent Hehr says he will remain a member of the Liberal caucus following an investigation into allegations of inappropriate conduct with women – although he’s not returning to the government’s inner circle.
Hehr, who has served as both veterans minister and sport and disabilities minister, resigned from cabinet in January after he was accused of making inappropriate sexual remarks during his time as a provincial politician in Alberta.
He says on Twitter that he remains focused on making both personal and professional improvements, and will continue to strive to do better.
Hehr left cabinet pending the result of the investigation after former Alberta legislature employee Kristin Raworth accused him of calling her “yummy” a decade ago. He was also accused of groping a young female staffer on Parliament Hill.
In his statement, Hehr says he does not recall the encounter with Raworth, but has nonetheless apologized.
Raworth sent a tweet of her own with the #MeToo hashtag, calling it an incredible day and urging anyone who is scared to tell their stories or share their truth: “It’s worth it.”
Hehr, who represents the riding of Calgary Centre, says the report made clear that the complaint of inappropriate touching was the result of unintentional contact.
Hehr, a quadriplegic, says his disability leaves him with no feeling or independent movement in his hands and limited muscular control and feeling in his arms.
That, however, doesn’t discount the feelings of those he interacts with, he added.
Prior to the more serious allegations, a number of people came forward last fall to accuse Hehr of being disrespectful and belittling towards them, including thalidomide survivors who said he called their cause a “sob story” _ a comment he has described as having been “misconstrued.”
Hehr acknowledged that his conversational style needs to change and that he has unintentionally made people uncomfortable in the past.