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Former Liberal cabinet minister Hehr reflects on his role in #MeToo movement

“I have taken pause every day since to reflect not just on the accusations, but how I have lived my life,” Kent Hehr wrote.

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Kent Hehr, a former Liberal cabinet minister from Calgary booted from the caucus after sexual harassment allegations, is reflecting on his role in the #MeToo movement.

Hehr was first elected as an MP in the riding of Calgary Centre in 2015. He held two cabinet positions but resigned in 2018 after allegations of misconduct arose from when he worked in the Alberta legislature as an MLA for Calgary Buffalo.

 On June 6, 2018, following the completion of an internal investigation, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau decided that Hehr would not return to cabinet.

“More than two years have passed since I faced the #MeToo accusations that led to me resigning from Cabinet. While it has been a whirlwind, I have taken pause every day since to reflect not just on the accusations, but how I have lived my life,” Hehr wrote in a blog posted Thursday titled “#MeToo: What I’ve Learned”

Kent Hehr

“This came into sharp focus a month ago when the woman who accused me of sexual harassment in 2018 apologized for making libellous statements about Canadian public figure Warren Kinsella, She falsely claimed that he had abused women and hit his wife, and was forced to retract these statement.

“When I read this, my mind immediately went to the classic Clint Eastwood film, Unforgiven. My favourite scene is when Eastwood’s character, an aging outlaw killer, stands above the corrupt sheriff who pleads, “I don’t deserve this, to die like this. I was building a house.” Eastwood’s character replies, “Deserve’s got nothing to do with it.

“I stand by what I wrote to Canadians in the spring of 2018. The same woman who accused Kinsella alleged, when I was an MLA twelve years ago and she worked at the legislature, that I had called her “yummy” in an elevator. I did not, and do not, recall ever meeting her. I certainly don’t recall ever saying “yummy” to her (or to anyone, for that matter).

“The important question for me is whether I could become a better person from the #MeToo movement. The answer has proven to be yes. I used to think that I could call myself a feminist simply because I was a progressive. I thought it was enough that I believed in equal pay for equal work, a woman’s right to choose, and national daycare. I thought it was enough that I ran in elections under the Liberal banner, as a champion of women’s liberation and gender equality.

“But it was not enough, not even close.

“The truth is: I have acted inappropriately at times in my life—sometimes inadvertently, sometimes by choice. I grew up playing hockey, and if there was ever a place for toxic masculinity to fester it was in the dressing room. Everything centred around sex; it was far from healthy or respectful, and I willingly took part. I spent more than my fair share of time sitting around a pub table where improper conversations about women were commonplace.

“I didn’t see, or try to see, the inherent harm in what I thought was harmless banter. This was wrong. Even as an elected politician, I could revel in a bad joke with friends, colleagues and my own staff. I realize now more than ever that this was also wrong. I take personal responsibility, and what I stated in 2018 doesn’t just stand: it takes on new meaning for me every day.

“Here’s another quote I love from Unforgiven. The Schofield Kid says, “Yeah…well, I guess they had it comin’.” Eastwood’s character replies, “We all have it comin’, kid.” I agree: sometimes we do have it coming, whether we deserve it or not.

“At 50, there are more days behind me than ahead. I’ve learned during my time rolling this earth that, while “deserve” may have nothing to do with it, forgiveness does. I hope to be forgiven and I want to forgive others as well.”

Hehr lost his seat in the 2019 election.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard. He has served as the City Editor of the Calgary Sun and has covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years. dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

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Justice Centre sues province of Alberta over COVID restrictions

The JCCF is suing on behalf of two Alberta churches and two individuals.

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The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) has filed a court challenge against the Alberta UCP government’s health regulations, saying they violate ACharter freedoms.

The JCCF is suing on behalf of two Alberta churches and two individuals.

The Alberta government first declared a state of public health emergency in Alberta on March 17.

“Under the guise of ‘two weeks to flatten the curve,’ the resulting lockdown devastated small businesses and has led to large-scale societal harm in the form of increased unemployment and poverty, deteriorating mental and physical health, drug overdoses, cancelled surgeries, the loss of personal liberty and even death,” said the JCFF in a Saturday release.

“On November 24, the Alberta government again declared a state of public health emergency, imposing a ‘second wave’ of lockdown harms and authoritarian restrictions on the ability of Albertans to travel, conduct business, visit family and friends, obtain necessities, peacefully assemble, manifest their religious beliefs, and breathe freely.”

Currently in Alberta, no gathering around allowed in houses, outdoor gatherings must have no more than 10 participants and only members of the same household are allowed to dine in restaurants together. Pubs must also stop booze service at 10 p.m. Weddings and funerals are limited to 10 people.

As part of the court challenge the Justice Centre will argue the orders violate multiple Charter-protected rights, such as the right to peacefully assemble, the right to visit friends and family, the right to freely practice religious beliefs, the right to travel and the right to conduct business and earn a living.

The JCCF will also argue that these constitutional rights violations are not justified because lockdowns cause far more harm than whatever harm from COVID-19 lockdown measures may prevent.  

“In a free society, the government respects citizens as they exercise their freedom and responsibility to respond to a perceived crisis as they deem best for themselves and their loved ones. Arbitrary and authoritarian control, based on fearmongering by the government, only ever exasperates the problems facing society, as we have seen for the last nine months,” said JCCF lawyer James Kitchen.

“Politicians have not put forward any persuasive evidence that lockdowns have saved lives, but there is no question that lockdowns have caused grave harm to millions of Canadians suffering unemployment, poverty, cancelled surgeries, suicides, isolation and the loss of their liberty.

“The people of Alberta have suffered under the oppression of a medical dictatorship for long enough. The soul-destroying lockdowns have wrought havoc. It’s time for Albertans to get their freedom back.”

At a Calgary freedom rally on Saturday, JCCF head John Carpay said the group is seeking an immediate injunction to stop the orders followed by a permanent one.

Carpay told the Western Standard in an interview similar lawsuits will be filed against the governments of BC, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario before Christmas.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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‘WOE CANADA’: Canucks fire anthem singer for anti-mask support

“I sing ‘O Canada’ as a sign of unity and strength for all Canadians. The true north strong and free,” Mark Donnelly said.

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The Vancouver Canucks have fired their famed anthem singer for being set to perform “O Canada” at an anti-mask rally Saturday.

Mark Donnelly said he will sing ‘O Canada’ at the B.C. Christmas Freedom Rally 2020 at the Vancouver Art Gallery, protesting COVID-19 restrictions. 

“I sing ‘O Canada’ as a sign of unity and strength for all Canadians. The true north strong and free,” he told Postmedia.

Shortly after the Vancouver Sun published its story, Vancouver Canucks owner Franceso Aquilini tweeted: “Hey @VancouverSun change the headline to ‘Former Canucks anthem singer.’ #wearamask.”

The team then issued a statement confirming the firing.

Tweet of Vancouver Canucks’ owner

“Mark Donnelly is acting independently and we hope the public understands he is not representing the Vancouver Canucks,” the statement said.

“We encourage everyone to wear a mask and to follow the provincial health orders.”

BC residents are stay-at-home orders and a mask mandate. People have been told to avoid social gatherings of all kinds.

The singer has achieved world-wide fame with his booming voice and getting the fans to sing along.

He drew attention of a different sort when he took a tumble over a red carpet on the ice in a 2014 junior game – he got up and continued to perform the anthem while skating.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Kenney hits out against anti-mask protesters

Kenney has been under fire for not condemning the 500 protesters who showed up in Calgary to protest mandatory mask regulations. Rallies were also held in Red Deer and Edmonton.

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Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has lashed out at protesters who refuse to wear masks – telling them to visit his friend in ICU if they think COVID-19 is a hoax.

Kenney has been under fire for not condemning the 500 protesters who showed up in Calgary last weekend to protest mandatory mask regulations. Rallies were also held in Red Deer and Edmonton.

“If you think this is a hoax, talk to my friend in the ICU, fighting for his life,” said Kenney during a live Facebook stream Thursday night.

“If you’re thinking of going to an anti-mask rally this weekend, how about instead send me an email, call me all the names you want, send me a letter, organize an online rally.”

Another rally is planned for Saturday in Calgary. The province has currently outlawed public gatherings of more than 10 people.

If you refuse to wear a mask, Kenney said: “Don’t go where you have to wear a mask.”

On Thursday, Alberta announced a new record daily figure for new coronavirus cases at 1,854. There were also an additional 14 deaths reported.

Alberta has had 63,023 cases of COVID-19 resulting in 575 deaths.

The province currently has the most active cases and second highest hospitalization rate of any Canadian province.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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