Three-month old booted out of Commons

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No baby in the Commons?


That's what happens when the Speaker of the Commons is only 32 years old and doesn’t have much experience.


Snap decisions are not always the best political decisions.

Speaker Andrew Scheer, ordered the three-month old son of NDP MP Sana Hassainia, out of the Commons just before a vote Tuesday afternoon.


The Verchères-Les Patriotes MP had arrived at the last minute and could not find her husband who usually cares for his son Skander-Jack while she votes.

So she came in and took her seat with her baby still in her arms. A mob of MPs has quickly gathered around her and began snapping photos and making funny faces at the boy.


Speaker Scheer, who did not want to delay the vote, sent a page to tell her that she could not have her child with her in the Commons.

Rather than duck out and miss the vote, Hassainia gave her boy to the page and told him to wait for her in the hall outside until after the vote.


After the vote, some MPs asked her what had happened. She explained.

Several of them did not agree with Speaker Scheer’s decision.

Especially since Scheer, despite his young age, is the father of four, one of whom is only 11 months old.


It seems Scheer was unaware of the several precedents allowing babies into the Commons with their MP mothers.


Sheila Copps had her daughter Danelle with in the Commons in 1987. New Democrat  Michelle Dockrill had her baby with her in 1998.

Rather than sending a page to boot out the baby, Scheer could have stood up and asked MPs buzzing about the baby to stop taking photos and get back to their seats, because it was time to vote.

Taking it out on a mother and her child was not the right thing to do. Call it a lack of experience.


Scheer returned to the Commons the next day and said that from now babies in the arms of their MP mothers will be allowed in the House of Commons.


But please gentlemen, no more pictures of children. The Commons is not a photo studio.

He could have added that the House of Commons is already too much of a  kindergarten.


MP Hassainia had the last word: "We do not want privileges. We just want to work and take care of our family."


And so it was that a young Commons Speaker learned that in life, sometimes you think things over before making an on-the-spot decision.


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