Kent Hehr to stay on as Calgary MP, after he resigns from cabinet amid sexual harassment allegations
Hehr said he welcomes investigation into allegations
Kent Hehr says he'll be staying on as MP for Calgary Centre after he resigned from cabinet pending an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment.
"Throughout my career I have always tried to conduct myself with respect towards others, and I understand the most important thing is how each individual feels," said Hehr in a statement on Thursday.
"I have been informed that an investigation into these allegations has begun and I welcome and respect this process.
"While this is ongoing, I have resigned from cabinet pending the outcome of the investigation. I do not want to be a distraction to all the good work being done by our government. I will be staying on as member of Parliament for Calgary Centre to continue working hard on behalf of my constituents," he continued.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a statement from Davos, Switzerland earlier in the day saying he had accepted Hehr's resignation.
The prime minister was asked about allegations that had been posted to social media that suggested women felt unsafe being alone with Hehr at the Alberta legislature, where he was a member from 2008 to 2015.
Kristin Raworth suggested on Twitter that the MP made sexually suggestive comments to her in an elevator, telling her, "you're yummy."
She has since posted a statement to her Facebook page, saying that it's time for the political landscape to change.
"First off, I assure you that this isn't just my experience. It's the experience of many people who experience sexual harassment in political work. Mr. Hehr resigned today, but this can't be the end of the conversation. Because this isn't about him. Or me. We need to continue to support survivors and we need to continue to make politics a place for women," Raworth wrote.
2nd Calgary Liberal MP to resign after allegations
Hehr is one of just two Liberal MPs in Calgary.
The second, Darshan Kang, resigned from caucus last fall amid allegations of sexual harassment toward a woman at his constituency office in Calgary.
He denies those allegations.
Mount Royal University political scientist Duane Bratt said the latest development isn't likely to help the federal Liberal Party's cause in Calgary.
"I really think this is going to end, well it has ended Darshan Kang's career. We'll wait to see about Kent Hehr but I think it's really ended the Liberals here," he said.
Premier Rachel Notley also commented on the situation. She didn't name Hehr directly, but instead talked generally about the duty governments have to victims of sexual harassment and violence.
"Owing to the bravery and resolve of women speaking out, we are finally facing a reality that unfolds daily in the lives of countless women. Generations of people have worked to get us to this point and no longer will they be sidelined and dismissed," Notley wrote.
Owing to the bravery and resolve of women speaking out, we are finally facing a reality that unfolds daily in the lives of countless women. Generations of people have worked to get us to this point and no longer will they be sidelined and dismissed.—@RachelNotley
"Governments at all levels have a duty to lead: with better resources and supports to protect victims, laws that create healthier workplaces, and safe avenues for people to speak out. Enough already. We can change. Let's change together."
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With files from Dave Gilson