Federal minister welcomes son, makes history as 1st cabinet member to give birth in office

Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould speaks during a news conference on Friday June 16, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould has given birth to a son and made history as the first cabinet minister to do so while in office.

In a press release Friday morning, Gould said she gave birth earlier this week to a son she and her husband have named Oliver.

“We are grateful to be able to say that everyone is happy and healthy,” said Gould in the statement.

“I will be spending time with my family now, but I look forward to returning to work when I am ready to resume my duties.”

She also tweeted a photo of she and her husband with their new son.


Members of Parliament do not pay into Employment Insurance and as such, do not qualify for parental leave.

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WATCH BELOW: Karina Gould on ministerial motherhood and electoral reform

Click to play video: 'Food for Thought with Minister Gould'
Food for Thought with Minister Gould

They can take 21 days of medical leave but after that, are docked pay if they do not show up for work in the House of Commons.

Any time off in addition to the medical leave has to be negotiated with the party leadership.

READ MORE: Shared Parental Leave benefit to give families five more weeks of paid leave

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has made a point of encouraging more women to get into politics and ensuring women are represented equally in his cabinet as are men, and Budget 2018 included plans to look into how to create a parental leave program for parliamentarians.

He offered congratulations in a tweet shortly after the news release went out.

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For now, Scott Brison, president of the Treasury Board, will be taking over the Democratic Institutions portfolio while Gould is on leave.

Gould said constituents from Burlington, Ont., which is the riding she represents, should continue to raise any concerns with her constituency office as needed.

She offered a special thanks to the Burlington & Area Midwives and the nursing staff at Joseph Brant Hospital for taking care of her during her pregnancy and delivery, and said the support she and her husband Alberto have received so far has been amazing.

“As we join so many other Canadian parents who juggle the responsibilities of career and family, Alberto and I want to thank everyone for their kind words and support.”

WATCH BELOW: Shared Parental Leave benefit to give families five more weeks of paid leave.

Click to play video: 'Shared Parental Leave benefit to give families five more weeks of paid leave.'
Shared Parental Leave benefit to give families five more weeks of paid leave.

In a statement last month, Gould said she would take a parental leave after giving birth but did not say for exactly how long.

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In her statement Friday, Gould said she would wait and see.

” I will return to the House — and to my Ministerial portfolio — when the time is right for me and my family.”

READ MORE: New Zealand’s PM is pregnant — here’s how female leaders can make it work

Liberal MP Sheila Copps became the first sitting MP to give birth 31 years ago.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced in January 2018 that she is also expecting her first child and will take six weeks off after her baby is born around June.

During that leave, the country’s deputy prime minister will take over her duties until she returns to work and her partner takes on the role of full-time caregiver to the child.


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