New baby-friendly Legislature replaces traditions that kept children from the house
REGINA -- Children have always been banned from the Saskatchewan Legislature, but that tradition changed on Thursday as MLA Nicole Sarauer brought her newborn daughter Olivia into the house for the first time.
Sarauer is only the second MLA to give birth in Saskatchewan history. Her pregnancy prompted both sides of the house to rethink the rules.
"We have many members on both sides of the assembly who have young children, both fathers and mothers and I think it's long overdue," Minster of the Status on Women Tina Beaudry-Mellow said.
Steps have been taken to make the Legislative Building more baby friendly, starting with change tables in washrooms, including those reserved for male and female MLAs.
The presence of a baby prompted MLAs to be on their best behavior.
"We'll maybe keep the desk clapping to a minimum not to get any tears on this side," NDP leader Ryan Meili said.
By tradition, a non-elected person on the floor of the assembly chamber is declared a stranger in the house with the Sergeant at Arms authorized to draw his sword. Times have moved forward and Nicole Sarauer's daughter will soon be no stranger to this house.