Attempts are being made at City Hall to make running for office more family friendly. Council is publicly, for the first time ever, reviewing the recent announced changes to the Municipal Government Act.
Coun. Bev Esslinger is trying to get it so rules are in place for good because what’s there now in each individual council offers no guarantees. That’s why she’s asking for a parental leave provision that can be set by a city council for several years and not be open for a revision in every four year mandate.
“It’s a barrier if they want to have children and they don’t know if they can miss more than eight meetings in a row,” Esslinger told reporters. “It’d be at the discretion of each and every council. So by saying that councils have a right to establish policies on parental leave, embed that in the MGA, it really speaks to the value that women have at the table.”
“It’s like, please may I please have a break. And that’s not really a way to plan a life.”
“Hopefully we’re going to give the opportunities for people that are having young families to be able to run for office and be assured that their council has established a policy that would protect them for future leaves as necessary.”
Council is also raising a couple of other potential amendments to the MGA on compensation for land use when ecological reserves are set aside, and an ombudsman oversight which is good for small towns, but not needed in Edmonton since we already have a city auditor.
MLAs and other provincial officials will tour this summer gathering input on MGA changes.