Navigating Edmonton City Hall as a Parent – Edmonton | The Canadian News

Several candidates running for public office in Edmonton have young families, a feat that would not have been so common decades ago, especially among women.

When Mayor Don Iveson was elected to the council 14 years ago, he said that paternity leave was not even an option.

Both his son and daughter were born while he served the city of Edmonton.

“There was not much accommodation at the time. I think we have come a long way. Now there are many more younger city council members with children, ”Iveson said.

He said there have been adjustments to the council’s calendar over the years, shifting the balance from work to daytime hours and largely freeing up nights with an eye toward families.

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Now, Iveson’s children are 9 and 12, and he said he hopes to spend more time with them when his term as mayor ends in October.

“As I did things more virtually from home or had fewer things to attend to, I had so much more time with my kids. And I happen to like them a lot, ”he laughed.

Councilman Michael Walters said it has been a challenge juggling his career and family life.

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“The meeting goes on too long and I miss my son’s baseball game or a parent-teacher activity that I’m supposed to be in, and I get text messages from my wife,” he said.

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Walters said that if he can give candidates something, it will be honesty. He says work takes a long time, even on weekends.

“I was always a bit of a grumpy dad on Sundays, because he had too much. I was a little overwhelmed with the reading, to be honest. “

His sons were six and eight when he was first elected. Now, they are 15 and 17 years old, in high school.

Walters said his family is the main reason he will not run again.

“It was taken into account in a big way. I just wasn’t prepared to make that kind of time sacrifice while my kids were still at home. “

READ MORE: Will Edmonton see more women on council in October?

The new mother of the city council, Sarah Hamilton, gave birth to her baby August recently.

According to the Looking for project by nameHamilton is only the third counselor in Edmonton to have a baby while in office, the first in nearly four decades.

Edmonton’s first mayor, Jan Reimer, had two babies while on council.

“I’ve been getting phone calls from home and talking to voters while I’m feeding August,” Hamilton said.

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Hamilton said he has received a lot of support – from his partner Nick, his mother, his extended family and his colleagues.

“If I’ve had medical appointments or something, they have been very accommodating,” he explained.

Hamilton has been in office for four years and does not plan to leave city hall anytime soon.

“This is not a job, it is a responsibility, it is a duty. For this reason, I feel very convinced to continue with that work ”, he said.

He said it is important to have diverse voices on the council, including those of young families.

Hamilton believes that being a mother will improve decisions on issues such as urban planning and climate change.

If he is successful in his bid for re-election, baby August could also become a regular at city hall.

“I would like to bring it to the council. We are still in a pandemic situation, so we are going to bring it into public life, ”he laughed.

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