Mr. Speaker, last Friday it was implied both inside the House and outside that I would preclude women with children from working in my office because I was concerned that their family responsibilities would impair their ability to do their job.
That is simply not the case. I apologize for failing to make my position clear in my comments in the standing committee. Two of my staff are married women with children and I oppose bias in hiring, particularly on marital grounds. I asked applicants during the interview stage about their family situation but this was not a factor in the hiring decision. I selected people on the basis of their qualifications and experience.
I now understand this is against the rules and I will refrain from doing so in the future. However I think it is sad that an employer cannot discuss an employee's family situation to arrange support for them during family sickness or emergency.