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News Sep 6, 2021 10:15 PM EST

BREAKING: Disgraced Liberal Minister Kent Hehr now running to be Calgary's next mayor

Hehr said that the investigation into the allegations taught him two lessons — how he must be more aware of how his disability is perceived and be more careful in conversation.

BREAKING: Disgraced Liberal Minister Kent Hehr now running to be Calgary's next mayor
Alex Anas Ahmed Calgary, AB

Note: This story has been updated to clarify that Mrs. Kristin Raworth's complaints were found legitimate, and not specifically that what she was claiming was proven.

Kent Hehr is set to enter the Calgary mayoral race. Hehr was a former Liberal cabinet minister that represented Calgary Centre before resigning from cabinet due to sexual harassment allegations and subsequently lost re-election in 2019.

While the identity of one of his accusers was never made public but is known to be an employee of another Liberal MP's constituency office, the other, Kristin Raworth, was a legislative assistant in Edmonton when Hehr was a Calgary MLA. Hehr resigned from cabinet in January 2018 after Raworth alleged that he made women feel unsafe at the Alberta Legislature when he served provincially.

Raworth said the first time she met Hehr he called her "yummy" and made similar remarks or tried to brush up against her in later encounters, reported the Calgary Herald. Raworth added she was previously warned to avoid getting in an elevator with him at the legislature by a member from 2008 to 2015.

However, Hehr said he doesn't remember meeting Raworth. In an earlier statement, he said it was "clear from the report that I made her uncomfortable."

"Last year, I apologized sincerely," said Hehr in February 2019. "I understood from her public statements that she kindly accepted. I renew my apology and my commitment to learning from this experience."

The review found Raworth’s complaints were legitimate, but details of the independent investigation were kept under wraps by the PMO due to privacy concerns.

CTV News reported that following Hehr's resignation, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said confidentiality was crucial to releasing the investigation's findings. He was non-committal at the time when asked whether the probe would be released to the public.

Trudeau wanted to ensure the probe is carried out correctly. "So we're going to do what is right and what is reasonable in every step," he said. "I think people need to know that we take these allegations very seriously and that we follow through investigations in the right way."

He then walked back his comments, stating confidentiality is important in some circumstances and not as important in others.

Ultimately, Raworth felt "thrown under the bus" by the secrecy surrounding the investigation.

In February 2019, Liberal MP Kent Hehr’s accusers in a sexual harassment investigation said they would forgo privacy in exchange for laying eyes on findings of a third-party investigation into the Calgary Centre representative’s conduct.

Raworth said she’s yet to view the report for the sake of "closure" on her claims against the Calgary politician.

In a statement, Hehr said he "was not involved in the decision about releasing the report." He did not comment on whether he would support Raworth’s push to view the report.

"It’s about us, and we should be able to have access to that," said Raworth, "instead of this government that speaks to transparency … holding that so close to the vest."

In a statement to Postmedia, the PMO said, "the findings of these investigations are not made public due to privacy considerations and to protect the integrity of the process."

"(My lawyer) called the Prime Minister’s Office again to try to find out what was going on," said Raworth, "and at that point was when we found out my allegations had been deemed founded."

"It made me feel angry because (the PMO) should have ensured that myself and the other girl involved saw (the report) and were made aware of it before Mr. Hehr was. Or, at least, before he was confident enough to be doing media interviews."

Raworth said the ordeal let her down, citing Trudeau's talk of "championing women," including his "because it’s 2015" comment about gender equality in his cabinet.

"You have to walk that talk as well in terms of the way that you handle [allegations] when it’s negatively impacting your administration, and that was not my experience," she said.

"As soon as the 'Me Too' movement became a frustration and annoyance for the prime minister… they didn’t want to deal with it."

Despite receiving broad support when she tweeted allegations about Hehr, a Calgary MP at the time, she now wishes she never said a word.

She received death threats on social media and email, threatening voicemails on her work line, and 3 am calls to people close to her, saying they would track her down.

She received a note under her door at home. "Shut the f–k up," it said, "or we’re going to come after you."

As a public servant with the Alberta government, Raworth was under the watch of legislature security and was told not to be alone.

She detailed threats to local police that hoped she got injured, raped or killed. Others call her a "whore."

"I can’t go home tonight because I’m worried about what will happen to me," Raworth said in January 2018. "I wish I hadn’t said anything. If this is the price, it’s just not worth it to me. Not now."

While Raworth still works in the political sphere, she said coming forward had nothing to do with party allegiances. She wants to see uniform rules around sexual harassment applied to all political parties.

"Every single political party should have the same code of conduct … there needs to be transparency," she said.

Raworth said her boss in the Alberta public service has been incredible in his support but, beyond that, she feels let down by the provincial and federal governments.

"I said right from the start that I believed in the #MeToo movement, that it was important to have these situations investigated, for complaints to be taken seriously," said Hehr in a CBC interview.

"You needed to have a system where people felt comfortable to come forward, and that's what I tried to do, to remain true to that process."

Hehr added that the investigation into the allegations taught him two lessons — how he must be more aware of how his disability is perceived and be more careful in conversation.

He admitted to being "brash" and "inappropriate" at times after a Calgary mother complained about his language during a meeting.

"I have an extremely casual conversation style, and this is with people I've known for 40 years or, frankly, four minutes," said Hehr. "I think your strengths are your weaknesses, as my dad always says, but you got to build from here."

"I was a progressive in this city before being a progressive was cool," he said, "so I know how to work with people of all political backgrounds."

He added: "I believe this will change me in many ways and in a positive fashion, and, yes, there's going to be some scars here."

Hehr told CBC on Monday that he champions respectful workplaces. He also encouraged voters to read up on the allegations and make their own decisions.

"Since that time, I have been on a deeply personal journey, understanding the structures and unfairness of them that hold women and girls back in our society," said Hehr.

"I am committed as mayor, as every person in this city should be, to eradicating those barriers, to ensuring they have a safe city, a respectful city, and a city they can build their lives in and feel comfortable doing that."

Raworth did not return The Post Millennial's request for comment by the time of writing.

Calgary ER doctor and pro-restriction rally host Dr. Joe Vipond posted a photo with Hehr in August, calling it "one of my favourite moments of the day."

Hehr was elected in 2015 to represent the federal riding of Calgary Centre. Before resigning from cabinet, he was in charge of the sport and persons with disabilities portfolios, and before that, he was minister of veterans affairs.

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