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Kent Hehr withdraws from Calgary’s 2021 mayoral race

Two weeks after entering the race for Calgary mayor, former Liberal MP Kent Hehr has withdrawn his name for health reasons.  

Hehr jumped into the campaign Sept. 6, citing himself as a true progressive alternative to the 29 other candidates in the field.

Health complications have cut that run short, his campaign said. Hehr recently fell ill and was tested for COVID-19. Hehr is a quadriplegic and any contracted virus is potentially life-threatening, they said.  

“I could not be more disappointed than I am today to announce that I will not continue my campaign to be Calgary’s next mayor,” Hehr said in a statement.

“I began feeling ill on Sunday morning. I got a COVID test and have not received the results yet. But I immediately suspended all campaign activities.”

Hehr said he is double vaccinated. But given the number of Albertans with the Delta variant and the ICUs being at or near capacity, the risks were compounded, he said.

Social media response after launch

Shortly after Hehr’s initial campaign launch, social media comments around his past sexual harassment allegations and other questionable conduct. 

The allegations stemmed from his time as the Alberta Liberal Party MLA for Calgary Buffalo.

In his initial interview with LiveWire Calgary, Hehr said he’s been on a deep personal journey after those events. He said that journey demonstrated the deep-seated barriers holding women back.

“People in positions like the mayor of Calgary need to lean in and work every single day to break down those barriers,” Hehr told LiveWire Calgary at the time.

It’s not believed Hehr’s withdrawal is related to initial negative feedback received. His campaign said he had good support at the doors. He wasn’t dissuaded by the critics.

“However, please do not mistake my withdrawal from the campaign with indifference to the campaign,” the statement from Hehr read.

He said that he was proud of the policy he’d put together for the campaign and was ready to fight for the mayor’s seat.

“Although my campaign ended today, I still believe in the limitless potential of the city. I hope you will all become engaged in this campaign and vote for a more progressive, more fair, more dynamic Calgary for everyone,” Hehr said.

There are 29 candidates vying for Calgary mayor. Nomination Day closed at noon yesterday and an official list will be made public just after noon Sept. 21.

Calgary’s municipal election will be held Oct. 18.