July 25th, 2022

Coombes: Legislature must be more accessible for new parents

HALIFAX – Cape Breton Centre-Whitney Pier MLA Kendra Coombes is concerned the Houston government is blocking her ability to participate in the emergency session of the legislature tomorrow. Coombes gave birth, via C-section, on July 12 to her second child, Isla Quinn Brown.

“My NDP colleagues and I are ready to get to work. We know there are emergencies that should be addressed in the legislature and the Premier calling the House back for this summer sitting is an opportunity to talk about the health care and the cost of living crises,” said Coombes. “But if we want a more inclusive and diverse legislature that includes more women and young parents we have to make sure systems are in place to ensure they can participate.”

MLAs were given the choice to allow Coombes to appear virtually as was granted for her to appear at a recent Public Accounts Committee meeting. However, the vote had to be unanimous and failed over the weekend.

“By not giving consent they are blocking me from doing my work in a way that would accommodate being a new parent,” said Coombes. “There is a feeling of having to ask my colleagues, the majority of whom are men, for this permission that leaves a bad taste. In a space that is still only one third women we have to do better to make sure people see themselves in the Legislature.”

Coombes is the first sitting MLA to give birth in Nova Scotia. When she was elected in March 2020, she was the 51st woman to be elected in Nova Scotia and only the fifth from Cape Breton.