NDP MLA Aleana Young was part of a heartwarming story this fall when she became only the second person in history to bring a baby in the house at the Saskatchewan legislature.
This was after she gave birth to her daughter Hara a couple days before she won the constituency of Regina University in the 2020 Saskatchewan general election. She was able to celebrate the victory with her baby at home since she had to wait for the official results to be called due to a higher amount of mail-in ballots from this year’s provincial election.
Both a politician and small business owner, Young knew she wasn’t going to have access to a typical parental leave, so she was thankful she was able to bring Hara with her on the floor at the legislature.
Young admitted it was a wild couple months for her as she began her career as a MLA.
“It was pretty special,” said Young. “She is not going to remember, but there will certainly be some stories I can tell her when she is a bit older like when she was three or four weeks old and nursing on the floor of the legislative assembly of Saskatchewan.”
She hopes to see more young women with children consider politics as a career since there are rules in place that allow flexibility for parents.
“I’m hoping by normalizing motherhood and politics, other young women or men out there can look at politics as a field that they can participate in and have their children included while experiencing a health family life.”
Young is not the only member of the opposition party to have their baby accompany them on the floor at the legislature.
While Hara was with Young in the house during a short two-week fall session earlier in December, Regina Douglas Park MLA Nicole Sarauer was the first to do it with her daughter Olivia during the fall session of 2019. Sarauer brought in rules to make the legislature more baby-friendly in spring 2019.
Sarauer said it was important for her to make it accommodating for other young women with babies who want to be in politics.
“I wasn’t sure how long it would take before we would have another MLA in the chamber who needed [those rules]. So I’m happy it happened after a few short years the legislation was passed,” she explained. “And for it to be Aleana, who is someone I consider a dear friend, is even more wonderful.”
Sarauer is also expecting a second child. She confessed she’s nervous about what it will be like to have two children under the age of two, but said she knows the legislature is a workplace that is more accommodating than it was in the past.