Energy Minister Michelle Mungall introduced her two-month-old son Zavier in the B.C. legislature Monday, the first time an MLA has used a rule change passed this spring.
“It means that representatives here in the legislature don’t have to choose between being a parent and being a representative, and doing it well for their constituents,” Mungall told reporters on her way into the chamber Monday. “And of course this little guy is fully in dress code today as well, so he can be on the floor and meet all the rules.”
The hidebound traditions of the B.C. legislature require jacket and tie for men, but the unwritten dress code is loosely interpreted for women. Support for new mothers has been developed over recent decades, with former Vancouver MLA Jenny Kwan and former premier Christy Clark among those who have brought infants to work.
Once the legislation passed last March, Vancouver-West End MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert took advantage of the new freedom first, bringing his infant son to a committee room where he chairs meetings as deputy speaker.
Mungall praised her colleagues and staff for the support she has received, as she juggled motherhood and her cabinet duties. The energy ministry has been busy since she was appointed last year, dealing with the controversial decision to carry on with construction of the Site C dam on the Peace River, and then adding further tax incentives that cleared the way for B.C.’s first large-scale liquefied natural gas export terminal.