New Brunswick Tribune

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

A NB MLA with a newborn is defending her request for hybrid legislature sittings

NB MLA with newborn defends request for hybrid legislature sittings

Key takeaways:

  • Megan Mitton, a New Brunswick Green MLA, has found herself defending a request to hold hybrid-virtual sittings next week. 

Megan Mitton, a Green MLA in New Brunswick, has found herself defending a request to switch to hybrid-virtual sittings next week.

Every day, Mitton brings her infant, who is less than six months old, to the legislature.

Her request for hybrid-virtual sittings is also motivated by the recent increase in COVID-19 cases, particularly in Zone 3.

“I have an infant who cannot be vaccinated or wear a mask, but I must bring him here,” she explained.

Mitton is breastfeeding, as are many new mothers.

Also read: The government’s pandemic response is being questioned by NB opposition parties

She finds it aggravating to defend herself in front of mostly male coworkers.

The government’s house leader, Glen Savoie, addressed Mitton’s situation directly in the legislature.

Kris Austin, the leader of the People’s Alliance, made a similar connection to Mitton.

“I’m trying to be sensitive to the member who had a baby,” he said.

Austin has been outspoken in his opposition to hybrid-virtual sittings, which he sees as a way for MLAs to avoid traveling to Fredericton to conduct legislative business in person with their colleagues.

NB MLA with newborn defends request for hybrid legislature sittings
NB MLA with newborn defends request for hybrid legislature sittings. Image from Global News

He stated, “What I want to see is really strict rules on how this works.”

He mentioned PC MLA Glen Savoie, diagnosed with cancer but continued to work in the legislature.

“When I look at him, I notice that he comes here every day.” On Friday, Austin asked, “How do we justify others staying home for other reasons?”

But it’s complicated for Mitton.

“Being the only MLA asked about my situation can be a little unsettling,” she admitted. “He’s only six months old, so I’m his only source of nutrition.”

It’s frustrating for her to have to fight for accommodations in 2021 to do her job as an MLA while also being a mother, she said.

Mitton claimed that the legislature “wasn’t built for caregivers” and that “it shows.”

“I’ve heard some comments from certain MLAs, since it became public that I was pregnant, that well, maybe, I should have known what I was getting myself into and shouldn’t even be here — is sort of the tone,” she said, holding back tears. It irritates me greatly to hear that.”

“I’m trying to make things better for people like me to be able to come here.”

Source: Global News

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