Karina Gould becomes first federal cabinet minister to give birth

Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould rises in the House of Commons in Ottawa, Wednesday, January 31, 2018. Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould has made history, twice over, with the birth of a baby boy this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

OTTAWA - Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould has made history — twice over — with the birth of a baby boy this week.

She's the first woman to give birth while holding a federal cabinet post.

And she's the first federal minister to take maternity leave.

"My husband, Alberto, and I were thrilled to finally meet our son, Oliver, earlier this week," Gould said in a statement Friday.

"We are grateful to be able to say that everyone is happy and healthy."

There is no provision for members of Parliament to take maternity leave, but MPs can make arrangements with their party leadership to take time off, beyond the 21 days of paid medical leave accorded each MP.

Gould is expected to be off the job until at least May.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has handed temporary responsibility for Gould's portfolio to Treasury Board President Scott Brison.

"I will be spending time with my family now, but I look forward to returning to work when I am ready to resume my duties as Canada’s minister of democratic institutions," Gould said.

"As we join so many other Canadian parents who juggle the responsibilities of career and family, Alberto and I want to thank everyone for their kind words and support."

She added that constituents in her Burlington, Ont., riding can continue to contact her MP's office for any help or services they need.

Liberal Sheila Copps became the first sitting MP to have a baby in 1986. She was an Opposition MP at the time.

But it did not become a relatively common occurrence until after the 2011 election, which saw an influx of young women elected to the House of Commons.


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