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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 7:44 pm    Post subject: Kent Hehr faces compaints of being disrespectful Reply with quote

( like seriously he might be in a wheelchair but this mp is seriously out of line if he treats people like this )

Hehr apologizes, pledges to do better after new complaint from Calgary mom

Calgary mother was raising concerns about denied maternity benefits in call with federal minister

By Kristy Kirkup, The Canadian Press Posted: Dec 07, 2017 10:20 AM ET| Last Updated: Dec 07, 2017 5:34 PM ET

Federal cabinet minister Kent Hehr is facing a new complaint about being disrespectful to a constituent.

Disabilities Minister Kent Hehr admitted to sometimes being "brash" and "inappropriate" after a fresh complaint of disrespect surfaced Thursday — this one from a Calgary woman engaged in a class-action lawsuit against the federal government.

Jennifer McCrea, who has been fighting on behalf of a group of mothers who say they were denied benefits while on maternity leave, contacted Hehr's office in October 2016 after being encouraged to speak to local Liberal MPs about her case.

Hehr, who was shuffled into the Sport and Disabilities portfolios by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau this past summer, was veterans affairs minister at the time.

"(He was) very condescending," McCrea said of the October 2016 interaction, noting she was able to secure less than two minutes of his time.

She asked him pointedly why Ottawa continues to fight sick women — a "loaded question" to which he allegedly replied, "Well, Ms. McCrea, that is the old question, like asking ... 'When did you stop beating your wife?"'

"I didn't respond (with) anything because my jaw was on the floor," McCrea recalled.

"I had never really actually heard of the term that it is a 'loaded question' ... I was just literally (wondering), 'Who talks like that, let alone ... a minister or a member of Parliament?"

■'Everyone ... has a sob story': Thalidomide survivors say they were belittled by disabilities minister
■Questions remain regarding Kent Hehr's thalidomide survivor comments, politics watchers say

McCrea said she decided to come forward about Hehr's comments after hearing a group of thalidomide survivors describe earlier this week how they felt belittled by Hehr's bedside manner during a meeting earlier this year.

Hehr needs to be more sensitive in his interactions, McCrea said — a sentiment with which the minister appeared to agree when asked about the issue Thursday during question period.

"When speaking to people I tend to be very straightforward; however, I understand my comments can be brash and sometimes even inappropriate," Hehr said as he read a written statement.

"I regret my comments and I sincerely apologize. As I've said before, I'm committed to taking steps to better myself."

Thalidomide comments

Hehr also apologized earlier this week after the thalidomide controversy erupted, although he described some of his comments as having been "misconstrued."

"As someone with a disability myself, it was certainly not my intention to offend anyone," he said at the time.

Conservative MP Rachael Harder, her party's status of women critic, suggested Hehr needs to consider how better to interact with his constituents.

"There is clearly a disturbing pattern here of victim blaming," said Harder, who also questioned the minister directly in the House.

"I think certainly he needs to reflect on his actions ... I would expect his behaviour to change."

a 'consistent' pattern

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh appeared genuinely taken aback by the remark.

"He can't be talking about violence against women like that," he said. "We need our leaders to be denouncing violence against women and in no way making light of it."

Stephen Moreau, a lawyer who is representing McCrea's group of mothers, said disclosing the comments in 2016 would have distracted from efforts to get the Liberal government to take action on the question of maternity benefits.

But since nothing has yet happened on that file, the two issues may be related, he suggested.

"We're seeing a comment that is consistent with the pattern that we are seeing of this government in terms of fighting the litigation tooth and nail," Moreau said.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 7:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thalidomide survivors say 'degraded, insulted' by disabilities minister Kent Hehr

Kristy Kirkup, The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, December 5, 2017 11:31AM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, December 5, 2017 4:30PM EST

OTTAWA -- Members of a group of thalidomide survivors dropped a bombshell Tuesday as they accused Disabilities Minister Kent Hehr of belittling them with insulting and degrading remarks during a face-to-face meeting earlier this year.

The comments from Hehr came during an Oct. 19 meeting, which the group had hoped would encourage the federal government to make good on its commitment to further compensate those impacted by the now-banned pregnancy drug, said Fiona Sampson, herself a survivor who was at the meeting.

The minister said, "'You don't have it as bad today as adults as you did when you were kids,"' Sampson quoted the minister as saying, along with, "'everyone in Canada has a sob story. Lots of people have it bad in Canada-- disabled people, poor people, not just you."'

Thalidomide Survivors Task Group
Members of the Thalidomide Survivors Task Group hold a news conference on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa, Tuesday, December 5, 2017. From left to right are Fiona Sampson, Mary Ryder, Lee Ann Dalling and Alexandra Niblock.(THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand)

Kent Hehr
Kent Hehr, the federal minister for persons with disabilities is said to have apologized this fall after a letter was sent to the Prime Minister's Office.

And when Hehr was told about the impact their condition was expected to have on their life spans, Sampson alleges he responded: "'So, you probably have about 10 years left now. That's good news for the Canadian government."'

In a statement Tuesday, Hehr flatly denied ever making the latter remark, and described the first two comments as having been "misconstrued." He also apologized to the group last month after a letter of complaint was sent to the Prime Minister's Office.

"As someone with a disability myself, it was certainly not my intention to offend anyone," the statement said. "While some of my comments were misconstrued, as soon as I learned that my comments were felt to be offensive, I immediately called the organization directly and apologized."

Sampson also accused Hehr of touching a survivor in an "unwelcome" way during the meeting. "It was ... physical contact that violated her personal space," Sampson said.

Tuesday's news conference was the first he's heard of any such allegation, Hehr insisted. "If there was any physical contact, it was completely accidental and I apologize."

The survivors were on Parliament Hill on Tuesday to press their demand that the federal government take further action to help -- in particular by honouring a promise to provide lump-sum compensation of $250,000 and increased annual pensions. But their allegations against the minister stole the spotlight.

"It felt like a physical blow to my body," Sampson said of the comments.

"We were shocked and stunned because really, he is the minister responsible for persons with disabilities. He's supposed to be our champion ... Not only did he not step up as a champion, but he degraded us, he insulted us."

In his statement, Hehr said his heart goes out to survivors, that he listened to their stories, and that the government is taking concerns very seriously. Sampson said she's not convinced, and that his apology will only ring hollow until the government delivers on its promise.

"Until we get the full support promise fulfilled, the apology is meaningless."

Patients have received lump sum payments of $125,000 each, she said, adding patients are struggling to make ends meet due to the extent of their disabilities.

Sampson also said her group has had more positive meetings with other Liberal cabinet ministers, including Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett and Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland.

"I don't think any of us wanted this to happen," she said. "We feel like we've been absolutely backed into a corner and forced to shame the government like this."

NDP health critic Don Davies said the comments hint at a deeper problem within Liberal ranks.

"I think they speak to a deeper problem that goes to a lack of sensitivity that I think is more disturbing," Davies said.

Thalidomide was billed as a safe, effective sedative and morning sickness remedy after it first became available in Canada in 1959. It was banned in 1962 after it was found to be causing widespread birth defects and infant deaths.

Lee Ann Dalling, also a thalidomide survivor, said she feels betrayed by those Liberal MPs who supported a unanimous motion in the House of Commons in 2014 calling for "full support' to Canadian victims.

"I thought, 'Finally, our federal government is trying to make amends for the 50-plus years of pain, ridicule, rejection and suffering," she said. "A life that was versus a life that could have been and should have been."

Survivors believed they were being shown compassion, respect, dignity and accountability that had been sorely lacking from Ottawa, Dalling said.

"We all endure humiliation on a daily basis due to our physical appearance. There's not a day that goes by that I do not receive a hurtful comment related to thalidomide. The federal government reneging on its promise of full support compounds these daily indignities."

In a statement released Tuesday, Health Canada said it was aware of the concerns brought forward by the thalidomide survivors group.

"Health Canada is aware of Ms. Sampson's views regarding support for thalidomide survivors and will consider her views along with other input on the effectiveness of the program," the department said.

"The government of Canada is fully committed to providing support to confirmed Canadian thalidomide survivors so that they may age with dignity."


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 08, 2017 11:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It this day, when joke pictures or a patting a bottom can get someone run out of the Senate, you feel the hole that exists in the criminal code.

After all, if we are going to impose special pronouns on ourselves so that those who don't know if they're punched or bored feel their dignity is sufficiently respected, then why would we do anything less for thalidomide victims.

OK, not pronouns, but where is the Human Rights Commissions when you need them?

Why isn't this guy being carried off to a re-education camp, where he will be reprogrammed? Why isn't he under arrest for a speech violation?

This is a guy who needs to be dragged before a 'proceeding' and get his financial penalty so that politicians learn their lesson.

Joined: 02 Mar 2009
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Location: Ontario

PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 10:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

( is more allegations against this minister , its clear he's not a very sympathetic guy and doesn't seem to care much about the people he claims to want to help )

Veteran’s wife calls Veterans Affairs minister insensitive

ANDREA GUNN Ottawa Bureau
Published December 11, 2017 - 7:41pm
Last Updated December 12, 2017 - 6:37am

Another allegation of insensitive comments from federal minister Kent Hehr has surfaced, this time from the wife of a disabled veteran.

Hehr, who is the former veterans affairs minister and the current minister of sport and persons with disabilities, has been under fire in recent weeks for statements he allegedly made to a group of thalidomide survivors in October.

On Monday, Kim Davis spoke to The Chronicle Herald about similarly inconsiderate comments she says he made to her in the summer of 2016 when he was in Dartmouth.

Davis said she was at an event for the opening of the Nova Scotia Operational Stress Injury Clinic, which is funded by Veterans Affairs Canada, when she approached Hehr.

Davis, an outspoken activist for veterans, said she challenged Hehr about what the government was doing to look after the families of veterans who have to become full-time caregivers.

In Davis’ case, her husband, a Bosnian veteran, was suicidal and has such severe PTSD that she had to quit her job as a college instructor to care for him.

“I had to give up a career that I enjoyed that had a pension and benefits. Now when I reach age 65 I won’t even qualify for CPP as I haven’t been working,” she said.

Davis said when she explained her situation to Hehr, he responded by telling her Veterans Affairs Canada does not have an obligation to her, as it was her choice to marry her husband.

“I don’t become speechless very quickly but I was dumbfounded that he actually said that,” she said.

Davis said she then went on to tell Hehr that she didn’t think it was fair that, as per the Children of Deceased Veterans Education Assistance Act, if her husband committed suicide her children would have their education paid for but because she had to quit her job to care for him, they might not have the opportunity.

Hehr responded again by saying being with her husband was her choice, Davis alleges.

Davis’ description of the exchange was corroborated by Dawn Marie Collins, another spouse of a veteran, who was standing next to Davis at the time. Collins said she remembers the conversation and that she also felt belittled by Hehr at the event.

In an emailed statement, Hehr completely denied making those comments to Davis.

“At the office opening in June 2016, I noticed some members in the audience wanted to speak with me. I agreed to have a private meeting with them on the spot. I listened to their concerns, and we had a cordial meeting,” Hehr said.

Hehr said improving the lives of veterans and their families is a priority for the federal government, touting an increase to the caregiver recognition benefit to $1,000 month tax-free beginning in April 2018.

“As I have said, I am taking steps to better myself as a representative of the people of Calgary and of Canada. I will continue to advocate for all Canadians, including our most vulnerable.”

In response to The Chronicle Herald’s request, a staffer from Hehr’s office also sent a number of screenshots of Davis broadly venting and criticizing Hehr and VAC on a public Facebook group for Canadian veterans, as well as a screenshot of a comment on a post on Hehr’s official page.

The staffer said the screenshots weren’t to discredit Davis, but to show that she has been vocal about her concerns.

Following her encounter with Hehr, Davis said she was not at all surprised to hear that he had also made questionable comments to survivors of thalidomide, a drug once widely prescribed to pregnant women for morning sickness until it was found to cause serious birth defects.

At a press conference in Ottawa last week, members of the Thalidomide Survivor Task Group accused Hehr of trivializing their struggles by telling them everyone has “a sob story” at a meeting back in October.

Hehr has apologized for the comments, which he said were misconstrued.

Davis said she just wants to make people aware that Hehr’s apparent lack of sensitivity is not a one-time thing.

“He doesn’t seem to care, he doesn’t seem to have any filters,” she said.

“It’s like he is given free range to say whatever he wants and doesn’t seem to have any backlash or recourse because of it.”


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 16, 2017 9:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kent Hehr acknowledges he can be 'brash and insensitive' but believes he still belongs in cabinet

MP for Calgary Centre says he maintains an 'excellent working relationship' with the prime minister

By Robson Fletcher, CBC News Posted: Dec 15, 2017 3:33 PM MT| Last Updated: Dec 15, 2017 3:33 PM MT

Kent Hehr acknowledges he can be "brash and insensitive" at times but doesn't believe that should disqualify him from his job as the federal minister of sport and persons with disabilities.

Numerous Canadians have come forward publicly in recent weeks to say they were insulted, offended or otherwise treated rudely during meetings with Hehr.
■Kent Hehr forced to defend himself against allegations of rudeness, again

The Liberal MP for Calgary Centre — who became a quadriplegic at age 21 after being struck by a bullet as a bystander in a drive-by shooting — said Friday his disability hasn't impacted his empathy one way or another when he's speaking with others who are struggling with disabilities of their own.

Rather, he attributed the series of offensive interactions to his personal communication style and the volume of people he meets across Canada.

"I do pride myself on taking many, many meetings," Hehr told CBC News in Calgary.

"I do pride myself on being direct and trying to be solution-oriented. But I know this can come across as brash and insensitive. And that's where I need to work on myself to understand that I need to lean in and understand that people need an empathetic ear."

Hehr said he's learned from the mistakes in the previous meetings and continues to work on his demeanour.

The reason he got into politics, he added, "was to assist people to build their lives," and he wants to continue doing that as a member of the federal cabinet.

And he still he believes his job is safe, in spite of the recent controversy.

"I believe that the prime minister and I have an excellent working relationship," Hehr said.

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Kent Hehr faces compaints of being disrespectful

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