02/08/2012 02:21 EST | Updated 04/09/2012 05:12 EDT

Sana Hassainia: NDP MP Says Case Of The Ousted Baby Over After Speaker Explains


OTTAWA - A New Democrat MP has closed the case of the bounced baby, saying it was all a misunderstanding.

Sana Hassainia brought her three-month-old infant into the House of Commons this week just before a key vote, drawing the attention of delighted fellow MPs who began snapping pictures of mother and son.

When parliamentary pages brought her a message from the Speaker, Hassainia thought she was being told to remove her child, Skander-Jack, from the chamber.

But she says Speaker Andrew Scheer later explained he was only concerned about cameras in the House, which are not allowed.

Hassainia said her first child — named after the late Jack Layton — was well-behaved, neither crying nor creating a disturbance.

"They told me some MPs had noticed the presence of my baby in the House," she said at a hastily called news conference, Skander-Jack in her arms.

"It was forbidden, and so I had to get him out. Maybe there was a misunderstanding.

"In any case, the story is over because the office of the Speaker assured us that it was possible, that I could go into the House with my baby when there is a vote."

Women MPs from other parties nevertheless asked Scheer to clarify the rules for infants in the Commons, including whether breastfeeding is allowed.

In 1998, New Democrat MP Michelle Dockrill brought her seven-week-old baby, Kenzie James, into the Commons as she voted during proceedings.

MP Elizabeth May, the Green party leader, said Wednesday that at the time Dockrill was asked not to come back with the infant.

"She was told never to do it again," May said in the Commons.

"The rule she offended, apparently, at the time she was nursing him and was told it violated the rule against eating in the chamber. I think we need greater clarity."

Scheer promised he would outline the rules surrounding infants.

"I will come back to the House with a clarification," he said.

"I can assure the House as a father of four, the youngest being 11 months, that I have a great deal of sympathy for the challenges that parents face."

In 1987, Liberal MP Sheila Copps became the first woman to give birth to a child while sitting as a federal member of Parliament.

Hassainia said balancing work and family is important.

"It's not a privilege. ... It's an important issue for us. And I will make sure, as an MP, as a mother, to defend it again, until we are able to really talk about reconciling work and family because right now it is not the case at all."

Also on HuffPost

Photo gallery BABY BANS See Gallery