Three-month-old Skander-Jack made a big impression in the House of Commons on Tuesday, both for his arrival and his exit.
Skander-Jack’s mom, NDP MP Sana Hassainia, brought the baby into the chamber because she could not find her husband, and a vote on the long-gun registry was about to begin.
Speaker of the House Andrew Scheer, himself a father of four, noticed MPs taking photos with mother and son. His press secretary said the Speaker was concerned that the vote was about to begin and the commotion was upsetting the decorum of the House.
Hassainia says a page asked her to remove Skander-Jack for the vote to take place, but the Speaker’s press secretary says he did not want the baby to leave, just for onlookers to stop taking photos in order for the vote to proceed. Hassainia handed the infant to a page in order to participate in the vote.
The incident highlights the issue of infants in public places. Cute and sometimes cranky, babies in public can be controversial. Here's a list of some places where babies are, and are not, welcome:
Certain famous landmarks are off-limits to young children. Kids under the age of 8 are not allowed on tours of the leaning Tower of Pisa. Similarly, the tour of the necropolis underneath St. Peter's Basilica is off limits for children under the age of 11. Although not on the same scale, a tour company in New York City offering Gossip-Girl themed tours states on its website that children under the age of 9 are not permitted.
In the air
In June 2011, Australian Business Traveller magazine reported that Malaysia Airlines would no longer allow infants in their executive class areas on certain models of planes. While a Twitter exchange with managing director and CEO Tengku Azmil said the policy was in response to first class clients who complained about crying infants, a press release later said the move was due to a 2003 seating reconfiguration that made it impossible to accommodate bassinettes.
On Air Canada, infants between the ages of seven-days-old and two-years-old can travel in executive class, but only on the lap of a parent. In economy class, babies can travel on the lap of a parent, or with a child restraint device in their own seat — but prices vary. On WestJet, there are no first class seats and infants are permitted to travel with a restraint device or on a parent's lap.
At Saskatoon city council
Should parents be allowed to bring young children to work? Take our survey.
Saskatoon city councillor Tiffany Paulsen said fellow council members and city administrators were supportive when she brought her newborn daughter to council meetings.
A month after giving birth, she and the baby returned to work.
"Luckily I had a quiet baby," she said. "It would have been very difficult if I had a baby that was colicky."
Now ten months old, her daughter does not attend council meetings.
Infants and young children can be a sensitive topic for restaurant-goers, owners and parents. In 2010, Olde Salty's, a restaurant in North Carolina, posted a sign that said "Screaming Children will NOT be tolerated."
In July 2011, McDains Restaurant in Pennsylvania, a bar and restaurant attached to a golf course, opted to ban children under the age of six in response to customer complaints. In late 2011, staff at Cosmo restaurant in Croydon, UK, asked two moms with young babies to each pay a 3 pound ($4.72 CAD) fee for the children. The restaurant later posted a clarification on their website, saying the policy is intended for toddlers who eat less than children, and is to be used at the manager's discretion.
Stories about breastfeeding moms being asked to leave food and retail outlets are not uncommon.
In the UK in 2008, a mom breastfeeding her 10-month-old daughter was asked to leave a McDonalds in Dorset by a junior manager.
In early 2011, CBC reported that two moms breastfeeding in a baby clothing store in the Les Ailes shopping complex in Montreal said they were asked to leave the store and use the private room for breastfeeding moms in the adjoining mall.
In both cases, the moms returned in the future with more "lactivist" moms for breastfeeding sit-ins. Both stores apologized to the moms.