News / Calgary

Bye, bye for your baby: Councillor pitches parental leave for Calgary politicians

Calgary's elected officials currently don't have a leave option dedicated to parenthood.

A newborn crying baby boy is shown

Handout / Toronto Star Staff

A newborn crying baby boy is shown

Oh baby, councillors with newborns could soon have clarity on diaper-changing leave.

Coun. Gian-Carlo Carra has drafted a notice of motion to outline rules for elected officials who need to take some time for parental leave.

Carra himself has a young son, but says this motion isn't a personal ask to help him grow his family, nor is it a plan to help Coun. Evan Woolley, who recently announced his wife is pregnant.

"We had a conversation about term limits that sparked a larger conversation about what we're trying to do," said Carra. "I think what we're trying to do, ideally, they're trying to create healthy turnover in our governance and create an opportunity for more Calgarians."

One of the arguments Carra cited against term limits is that there are too many barriers that need to be addressed that don't involve removing choice from voters.

He's the office of councillors to draft how much leave a councillor would be entitled to, who would represent them while they're caring for their child, how much money they can earn on leave, what kind of benefits they'll have and who approves parental leave.

"If we're serious about making this a job and a period of service that's accessible to any and all Calgarians, addressing parental leave is definitely something we need to do," said Carra. "We want young people, and families and moms to step in and play this role and lend their perspective."

Ask Her YYC member Sarah Elder-Chamanara said those who are in support of term limits should fall in line with a parental leave plan because it could help bring more diversity to council.

"I don't think this is something we should chastise people for," Elder-Chamanara said. "Being a parent is a really important part of society in general and we should be supportive of that. We want people to have happy strong happy families, and a parental leave policy will enable that."

This comes on the heels of Edmonton's newly minted bylaw for council paternety leave that will see councillors eligible for 26 weeks leave, with a full salary for the first 10 weeks and a percentage of their salary based on the duties they are able to fulfil after that.

Woolley said because he hasn't read the notice of motion, he has no comment.

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