Mr. Speaker, you know that I have a great deal of respect for you. I voted for you to be the Speaker. You are a young face in this chamber, a young Speaker, the youngest Speaker in the history of Canada, I believe. I am convinced that a young Speaker such as yourself will breathe new life into the rules, customs and practices of this chamber.
I was pregnant while a member of Parliament and I had a premature baby. I was told that I could not come and vote with a baby in my arms. Is there a rule against this? A custom in this regard? I do not know, but that is what I was told. I was very upset that I was unable to do my parliamentary duty from start to finish, that I was unable to vote when I should because I had my baby with me.
I bring this up now because, as you know, the situation has arisen again in the House. I read what you said to the media to the effect that there is reportedly no rule on this subject and that you did not intend to remove a baby from this chamber. I am sure that you did not intend to do so because I know that you are a very honourable person. You are a father, and I am sure that this was not your intention. However, there is now some ambiguity because I experienced a similar situation.
I would humbly ask you to clarify whether or not there is a rule. If there is a rule, I would like you to do away with it. If there is not, I would like you to clarify this situation so that we women of childbearing age will know how to mange our family lives and achieve a work-life balance.
By so doing, you will also send a message to Quebec and Canadian society saying that women can participate in politics even if they are in their childbearing years and that they have a place in this chamber. This is a key message from both a political and human standpoint.
Right now, we are like the cobbler's barefoot children. It seems that we do not have the right to vote when our babies are with us. I am speaking of newborn babies, not children who are five or six years old and who can be taken to daycare. I am asking you to consider this issue.
There is another thing that I would like to mention. It is like a scavenger hunt to find the infamous change tables in the Parliament buildings. I remember very well that it was extremely difficult for me to find them. The washroom right here still does not have one. I would like to have a few more change tables and the tools for us take care of our small babies while still doing our duties as members of Parliament.
I would like to thank you and tell you that you can rest assured that I will vote for you again if the constituents of Ahuntsic vote for me again in the next election.