OTTAWA – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has accepted Kent Hehr’s resignation from the federal cabinet pending an investigation into an allegation that the sport and disabilities minister made inappropriate sexual remarks while a provincial politician.
Trudeau, who characterizes the move as a leave of absence, says Hehr’s duties will be performed in the meantime by Science Minister Kirsty Duncan.
The allegation, which stems from Hehr’s time as an Alberta MLA a decade ago, were levelled on social media Wednesday night.
Kristin Raworth, a former employee at the Alberta legislature, says when she started her job, she was warned against being alone with Hehr but ended up in elevators with him because they worked in the same building.
She says he once called her “yummy” and would make similar remarks in subsequent encounters. Upon talking with other female staff, she realized others had similar experiences.
Her accusation follows other complaints about Hehr’s dismissive and insensitive conduct levelled last fall by the wife of a military veteran and a group of thalidomide survivors.
Speaking in Davos, Switzerland, earlier Thursday, Trudeau restated his unequivocal support for women who step forward with those kinds of allegations and said he’d be speaking later in the day with Hehr.
Raworth came forward after two young women told CTV about sexual misconduct by Ontario Progressive Conservative Party Leader Patrick Brown while he was a Conservative MP.
Brown denied the allegations but nevertheless stepped down as leader of the party.
Hehr was elected as a Liberal MP for Calgary in 2015 and was appointed veterans affairs minister, but he was shuffled out of that position last year.