Prime Minister David Eby says that despite the care that comes with leading the province, he wants his family’s life to be as normal as possible.
His wife, Cailey Lynch, and their children, Ezra, eight, and Iva, three, are used to Eby being away from his Vancouver home for work, but during a video call from Eby’s Victoria hotel room week, it’s clear that your absence never gets easier.
Over a breakfast of melon and English muffins, Ezra said Monday that he was excited about his father’s new job. He had some uneasiness, the exact nature of which was dampened by Iva trying to get his father’s attention by calling his name repeatedly.
Ezra ends with, “We just don’t see it very often.”
The precocious three-year-old knows exactly what will happen to her after Eby is sworn in.
“I am going to be the daughter of the prime minister, Dada.”
“Well, it’s a high-pressure role, squirrel, I hope you’re ready for it,” she said.
Clearly the son of a lawyer, Ezra is already negotiating with his father about when he will return home.
“One more dream,” Ezra said. “Two more nights,” Eby tells him.
Lynch, a family doctor, said she’s been able to run more telehealth appointments with patients so she can pick up kids from school and daycare and still get some work done.
“It’s been like that for our family for our entire family life, really,” he said. “So now it’s routine for us.”
The location of the swearing-in ceremony at Musqueam First Nation in Vancouver is an indication that the 46-year-old MLA from Vancouver-Point Gray will likely conduct more government business from Vancouver cabinet offices to be closer to his family.
Eby said she is aware of how her new role could change things for her family.
“The concern I have is really being at school and the other kids. Just those interactions and expectations that will be in my children that were never in me growing up,” said Eby, who grew up in Kitchener-Waterloo.
The eldest of four children, Eby’s late father Brian was a lawyer and his mother Laura was a teacher and Catholic school principal.
He recounted how one day at school, an older boy ran up to Ezra and yelled, “You’re David Eby’s son.”
Eby talked to his son about how to respond and is aware that there will be new challenges once Ezra is old enough to access social media, which can be a toxic and hate-filled space.
Eby’s predecessor, John Horgan, who has two grown children, said he was always cautious about keeping his family life private as his wife, Ellie, preferred not to be the center of attention.
Employment Minister Ravi Kahlon, who ruled out running for leadership to lend his support to Eby, said he chose not to run partly because he wanted to protect his 11-year-old son from the online virulence that comes with the job.
Eby said that while his children are used to being stopped on the street by someone who wants to share their opinion on how the NDP is running, he is committed to keeping life as normal as possible for his family.
“I think British Columbians understand that our family is not that different from theirs,” Eby said. “We have a father away for work. We try to balance after school activities and other things we have. And when I say we’re trying to meet the needs of people across our province, they know we’re coming from a place that’s aware of what they’re experiencing.”