Last week, I was in Germany for the Invictus Games Spirit Flame relay. The Flame represents the wounded warriors' spirit that, despite injury or illness, still burns bright. It was honour to be invited to go to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Centre, where Canadian soldiers who were wounded in Afghanistan and other operations abroad were treated, and see them reconnect with the doctors who took care of them all those years ago. I was joined by Team Canada Co-Captain Maj. Simon Mailloux, and Invictus athlete Cpl. (retired) Chris Klodt, who not only got to visit Landstuhl but meet with the great people of Fisher House.
One Year Anniversary of the Canada Child Benefit
Reopening Veterans Affairs Offices - Kent in Question Period | May 18th 2017
I am very proud of what we have accomplished for Veterans. By the end of this month we will have re-opened all 9 service offices closed by the former government and opened a brand new one in Surrey that will serve over 7k Veterans. Promise kept!
Je suis très fier de ce que nous avons accompli pour les Vétérans. D’ici la fin du mois, nous allons avoir rouvert les 9 bureaux fermés par le gouvernement précédent, et allons ouvrir un nouveau bureau à Surrey, qui servira plus de 7 000 Vétérans. Promesse tenue!
Strengthening the Middle Class
Calgary is a Centre for Innovation | $10m from the Oil and Gas Clean Tech Program
Through Budget 2016’s commitment in the Oil and Gas Clean Tech Program we are moving ahead with a new, innovative facility in Calgary that could turn CO2 emissions into usable commercial products.
Calgary is a centre for innovation – and our commitment to diversification and growing the economy is clear with this latest $10m investment from the federal government.
Projects selected under the Oil and Gas Clean Tech Program are intended to demonstrate industry-led clean energy technologies that could later be more widely adopted across the energy sector to improve environmental performance and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
This project is a clear example of industry, government, and capital coming together to invest in a carbon-competitive future for Alberta. These partners include the Government of Canada ($10m); Government of Alberta ($10m); up to $5M (operating costs and in-kind) from COSIA; $143,000 (in-kind) from InnoTech Alberta; and $150,000 (in-kind) from the Shepard Energy Centre.
A Personal Journey - Kent on CPAC
Honour and a pleasure being on CPAC the other week to talk politics, Calgary, my personal journey to the nation's capital as Calgary Centre’s Member of Parliament.
The previous government ignored Alberta
The previous government ignored Alberta.
It’s why I ran in 2015, and why I am proud to be a cabinet minister in this government. Here are the numbers of projects that the federal government is investing in, year by year:
$3.5 to Banff International Research Station
Proud to be at the University of Calgary today to announce a federal contribution ($3.5 million) to the Banff International Research Station, which is in partnership with the National Science Foundation and the Alberta Government.
Heureux d'être à @UCalgary aujourd'hui pour annoncer une contribution du fédéral de 3.5 millions de dollars pour la Banff International Research Station en partenariat avec la National Science Foundation et le gouvernement de l’Alberta
Diversity Makes Us Stronger: Chinatown 2017
Our nation is made a success – by, in the main, successful immigration of multitude of peoples from many races, creeds, religions, and they’ve come here to make a great nation.
Notre pays est ce qu’il est grâce entre autre à l’immigration réussie de peuples d’origines différentes qui sont unis pour faire de notre nations une grande nation.
Justin Trudeau: "I am making the case for the oil sands."
If there was one answer (on energy) from the Prime Minister’s #yyc town hall that you should hear, it’d be this one. #cdnpoli #ableg
S’il y a une réponse (sur l’énergie) à écouter de la discussion à #YYC avec le Premier ministre, c’est celle-ci
Kent on Flames.TV | Canadian Armed Forces Appreciation Night
On Pipelines | Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
Pipelines and the Environment: Justin Trudeau today at the Calgary Chamber of Commerce
After pounding the pavement in the election, earning trust of #YYC & we pounded the table for a better way #cdnpoli
Fufilling our promises to veterans (Veterans) - Speech from the Throne Debate | January 26 2016
Real Change on Pipelines (Energy) - Kent in Question Period | February 3 2016
Mr. Len Webber (Calgary Confederation, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I would like to read a quote: “Rest assured, when elected, I will pound on the table on the need for pipelines. It is the safest to transport oil and it is in the national interest”. Who said this to gain votes during the election? The member for Calgary Centre. The member voted against the motion that would affirm the House's support for workers in the energy sector and pipeline development. When he did that, was he pounding on the table, or was he selling out?
Hon. Kent Hehr (Associate Minister of National Defence, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I am proud to be with a government which sees energy and the environment as two sides of the same coin. Here we have a time where Canadians have lost confidence in our system and now we are reintroducing principles that will allow us to get access to markets, something that the former government failed miserably to do.
Dignified Burials for Veterans (Veterans) - Kent in Question Period | May 31st 2016
Mr. Bryan May (Cambridge, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the people in my riding of Cambridge and North Dumfries and across this great nation are proud of the men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces who serve our country with pride and distinction and their long history of valour, both at home and abroad.
Given their service and sacrifice, it is incumbent on this government to ensure they receive a dignified burial worthy of their dedication.
Can the Minister of Veterans Affairs explain his plan to ensure veterans and all members of the Canadian Armed Forces receive the funeral benefits they have earned?
Hon. Kent Hehr (Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for Cambridge for his dedication to veterans.
This government recognizes the service and sacrifice of Canada's veterans by making it easier for families to access the funeral and burial program for a dignified burial.
We are expanding the program eligibility to more families of lower income veterans by increasing the estate exemption from $12,000 to $35,000 and apply an annual cost of living adjustment.
We are committed to delivering services veterans need and this includes a dignified burial
Canada Child Benefit, Canadian Pensions, and Wildfires - Global TV
A pleasure being in studio with Global TV Calgary yesterday to speak on the CCB, CPP, and middle class tax cut. #cdnpoli / Ce fut pour moi un plaisir d’être dans les studios de @GlogalCalgary hier pour parler de #ACE, #RPC et baisses d’impôts pour la classe moyenne #Polcan
Transit Announcement - $1.0B to Alberta Municipalities
Today in Calgary I had the pleasure of announcing $1.08B to Alberta's municipalities to support their public transit and water and waste infrastructure projects. The government of Canada is providing 50 % of these funds.
Among the public transit projects approved in Alberta so far, three are in Calgary, for a total federal investment of over 68.4 million dollars.
Aujourd’hui à Calgary, j’ai eu le plaisir d’annoncer un investissement de 1,08 milliard de dollars dans les infrastructures locales pour les collectivités de l’Alberta afin de soutenir des projets de développement du réseau de transport en commun et du réseau d'approvisionnement en eau potable et de traitement des eaux usées. Le gouvernement du Canada fournira 50% de ce montant.
Parmi les projets de transport en commun approuvés à date, il y en a trois à Calgary, pour un investissement total de la part du gouvernement fédéral de 68,4 millions de dollars.
A Clean Economy for All
Our Sacred Obligation (Veterans) - Kent in Question Period | June 16th, 2016
I had the pleasure on Thursday to speak to our sacred obligation to veterans when asked about it in Question Period. See below for the video.
Hon. Kent Hehr: Mr. Speaker, we understand on this side of the House that we do have a sacred obligation to our veterans, and we are doing that daily.
We are fulfilling our mandate commitments. We are fulfilling our obligations to increase financial security for our veterans and for those who are most severely disabled. We did that in budget 2016, and we are going to continue to work on our mandate items, including an option for a lifetime pension.
I would ask the member to understand that what he did was merely kick this problem down the road, and we are actually dealing with it at this time.
Reopening Veterans Offices (Veterans) - Kent in Question Period | May 17th 2016
Hon. Mark Eyking (Sydney—Victoria, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, our veterans, indeed all Canadians, were shocked when the former Conservative government decided to close the Veterans Affairs service offices across this country. In my own riding in Sydney, we helped service veterans in Cape Breton and all Nova Scotians. The community was outraged with the flagrant disrespect that the previous government showed for our men and women in uniform.
Can the Minister of Veterans Affairs update this House on measures regarding the Veterans Affairs service office in Sydney and across this country?
Hon. Kent Hehr (Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has been on me since day one about opening these offices, and so I am glad to report that budget 2016 is a great one for veterans.
Not only will we be reopening the nine offices closed by the previous government, including in Sydney, Victoria, but we will be opening a new office in Surrey, B.C., and bringing mobile services to the north. This, along with hiring more staff to reduce the veteran- case manager ratio toward 25 to 1, will mean better in-person service, including in Cape Breton, for our veterans.
Energy: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Question Period
On April 13th Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stood up in the House of Commons to speak to a question asked by the opposition on Canada's support of the Canadian oil sands. This was his reply.
Right Hon. Justin Trudeau (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I again find it mildly humourous that the opposition is taking us to task for being unable to do in five months what it was unable to do in 10 years.
The fact of the matter is that the initiatives taken by the previous government did not help the Alberta oil industry, did not help Albertans, and did not help the workers who are now out of work. What we need is a government that actually restores public confidence and gets our resources to market in responsible, sustainable ways. That is why Canadians elected us. That is what we are going to work very hard to do.
Supporting Military Families and Spouses (Veterans) - Kent in Question Period | February 19 2016
Mr. Ken McDonald (Avalon, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, when Canadian Forces members are deployed across the world, their spouses and their children are just as much a part of that deployment. They live it alongside our service men and women as if they were on the front lines also.
Coming home, wounded or not, families are the primary support for forces members and veterans. The government promised to do more to support families as they support veterans.
Can the Minister of Veterans Affairs tell us what steps he has taken to begin this work?
Hon. Kent Hehr (Associate Minister of National Defence, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Avalon for his advocacy on behalf of veterans and their families.
The Prime Minister gave me a mandate to ensure veterans receive the care, compassion, and respect they deserve. Families are the cornerstone of a return to wellness. We were proud to announce two new tools, the OSI resource for caregivers, and the veterans' mental health tutorial. These online resources will help to better understand veterans' mental health issues and reduce stigma. These are just the first steps in a better approach.
My Speech - Speech from the Throne Debate | January 26 2016
Hon. Kent Hehr (Associate Minister of National Defence, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, it is a great honour and privilege for me to be here in this august House to make my comments regarding the Speech from the Throne.
It is also the first time for me to thank my constituents of Calgary Centre who put their trust in me to become one of the first Liberals, along with my colleague from Calgary Skyview, to be elected to the House of Commons from Calgary in 48 years. It is truly a privilege to have earned their trust and to be here to serve the people from that community going forward.
Calgary Centre is a unique place. We have a whole host of different people, different communities, and different situations that exist on the ground. We have kids in school and seniors in the later stages of their lives. We have school teachers, businessmen and we have a great many people who are doing very well and a great many people who struggle in my community, almost a microcosm of what would be found in almost any urban centre. Many of the policies that we ran on as a party that were identified in the throne speech really captured their imagination and captured issues they were facing. In my view, the issues that are facing Alberta and Calgary at this time are well addressed in both the throne speech and in what we put forward as a party during the election.
I would like to thank numerous people in my life who helped me along the way. I would like to start with two people who have been there from the beginning, my mom and dad, Richard Hehr and Judy Hehr, two pragmatic, hard-nosed school teachers from Alberta, who taught me the value of being a public servant, of being a reasonable human being most days, and carrying me along from my recalcitrant and lackadaisical youth to a more productive future. I thank them for being there each and every step of the way. They worked very hard on my election campaign and taught me the value of understanding the concept of equality of opportunity. Whether one is born to a wealthy family or one that struggles, he or she is going to get a fair shake in this country and we need government to ensure that, to ensure that there are strong public schools, access to health care, university and to have a social safety net if they stumble or fall that allows the government to help them get up and get on their way.
I have been fortunate enough to represent a constituency that I was born in. I live 17 blocks away from the hospital that I resided in. My parents were there from day one, door knocked harder than anyone and without their love and support, I definitely would not be here today.
Another person I need to recognize is my sister, Christy Smith. Although she is two years younger than I am, she has always been my older sister. She was more organized, a little brighter than I was, a little more competent than I was, and helped me along the way through a great many trials and tribulations. It was not always easy for her. I recognize that and she is doing very well. Some of the joys in my life are my family as well as her three kids, Marshal, Jackson and Parker. They mean a great deal to me and have helped me get here.
Finally, I would like thank Deanna Holt, the love of my life and my pillar when times are grim. Too many of you know in this chamber that without support at home, none of this is possible. With the patience of our spouses, and the tolerance of the long hours and arduous trips, we can do this service to our country.
I can also say that it was not without a tremendous number of volunteers and people who followed me on this journey that we worked very hard on a long campaign, but were there for the stretch banging on doors, handing out pamphlets, telling people that I am a reasonable guy most days. I thank them for being out there and assisting me along this journey.
If we look at our campaign pledges and how it fits with Alberta and Calgary at this time, we look at the factors that are going on in Alberta. Some of the measures we implement in our platform are going to assist in what is no doubt a difficult time.
Our 15 commitments to veterans (Veterans) - Kent in Question Period | January 27 2016
Real change on access to tidewater (Energy) - Kent in Question Period | January 26 2016
Mrs. Shannon Stubbs (Lakeland, CPC): Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Prime Minister was wrong when he said his government is working hard to create jobs. There is one important nation building project that will create thousands of much needed, well-paying jobs across Canada. It is Energy East. While the government ponders vague regulatory changes, hundreds of thousands of Canadians ponder how they will pay their bills this month.
Does the Minister of Natural Resources realize that his levering does not instill confidence and creates an unstable environment for the whole economy?
Hon. Jim Carr (Minister of Natural Resources, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, we have indicated that we understand the human consequence to job loss. We understand that the low commodity prices in the oil and gas sector and in potash have led to layoffs across the country, most recently in New Brunswick. We take that very seriously and we also understand that moving forward the best chance to create new jobs in the energy sector is to make sure that major new pipeline projects and other projects throughout the country have a regulatory process behind them that enjoys the confidence of Canadians.
Mrs. Shannon Stubbs (Lakeland, CPC): Mr. Speaker, Alberta attracts people from all across Canada to pursue opportunities for themselves and for their families, but hard-working Albertans are hit by this energy sector downturn the worst, including thousands of people in Lakeland.
On this side, we know that impacts all sectors and all Canadians. A strong Alberta means a strong Canada. I am proud of Alberta's world-leading energy sector. When is the Minister of Natural Resources or any of the four Alberta Liberal MPs finally going to support Alberta's energy workers who contribute so much to Canada?
Hon. Kent Hehr (Associate Minister of National Defence, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for her question and her concern for Albertans because I, too, am concerned, and the people I am talking to are actually refreshed by the new approach of this government. We have a Prime Minister who is willing to engage with first nations people, a Prime Minister who has willingly engaged with premiers and other people on the ground to see that these projects get consensus. I suspect the member should come down to Calgary and talk to the people I am talking to. They are happy we are in charge.
What we're doing for veterans. (Veterans) - Kent in Question Period | January 25 2016
Ms. Irene Mathyssen (London—Fanshawe, NDP): Mr. Speaker, Canada's veterans have suffered cuts to benefits, the closure of frontline offices, and worse, suicide rates have climbed, homelessness has increased and yet veterans still face unacceptable waits for mental health services., and the report on veterans' treatment, buried by the previous government, is still missing in action.
Our veterans need help today. They should not have to wait for the minister to get around to reopening offices.
When will all veterans finally get the mental health and other services they need?
Hon. Kent Hehr (Associate Minister of National Defence, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I can tell the member Veterans Affairs is working hard to rectify many of the situations that she put forward. We are going to be reopening offices, we are hiring more frontline staff, we are going to get a handle on our mental health issues, and we are ensuring that our frontline staff is delivering the services in a timely manner for our men and women who have fought for this nation.
I can assure the member that we are working hard and we will see a better Veterans Affairs going forward then the one we saw under the former government.
Importance of reaching out for help (Veterans) - Kent in Question Period | December 11 2015
If you need help, reach out.
I made the following answer in the House of Commons today with respect to veterans and the stresses of the holiday season.
This can be a difficult time for many Canadians, including veterans. I want veterans to know that our government is here to help. Veterans and their families can immediately reach a mental health professional by contacting Veterans Assistance Services 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We will be launching a social media campaign to promote this service and to highlight the importance of reaching out for help.
I encourage all members of the House to spread the message and to support our veterans.
You can reach a mental health professional at any time—24 hours a day, 365 days a year—by calling 1-800-268-7708
For the hearing impaired, dial 1-800-567-5803 (TDD)