It was kidding around time at the B.C. Legislature, as a normally serious place had everyone smiling on Monday afternoon.
Energy Minister Michelle Mungall brought her nearly three-month-old baby Zavier on to the chamber floor for the first time.
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The infant is the first baby allowed to take a seat in the the legislature after the rules were changed in March to allow infants on the floor while in the care of a parent.
“It means our democratic institutions are becoming more family friendly. It means representatives here at the legislature don’t have to choose between being a parent and being a representative,” Mungall on her way to her seat, with Zavier in her arms.
“People have been going out of their way to ask what they can do to support and make sure this is a family-friendly place.”
Mungall brought Zavier into the daily caucus meeting with her NDP colleagues before the meeting.
The energy minister ran a bit late out of the meeting but not because of a hungry baby or a diaper change.
“It took us a while to get out of the caucus room because everyone wants to hold him,” said Mungall.
Mungall was on maternity leave from the middle of July until the end of September. Her husband Zak Matieschyn is on paternity leave and comes to the legislature with Zavier so he can be close to his mother.
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Zak also met the legislature dress code, outfitted in lace-up shoes, a bow tie and jacket. His mother introduced him formally in the legislative chamber,
“On March 8 of this year, the B.C. legislative assembly unanimously supported a rule change that allows infants to be on the floor of the legislative chamber while in the care of a parent. This follows previous changes, over the last two decades, such as adding change tables in the washrooms and allowing for maternity leave,” said Mungall.
“In 2018, women take on many roles, including motherhood and careers. By improving access to affordable, quality child care programs and supportive workplaces, it’s more and more possible that we’re able to continue in our jobs and careers while being a parent.”