WATCH: Sooke’s mayor recently returned from maternity leave and says her personal experience has made her aware of gaps in legislation when it comes to elected female politicians. Monica Martinez reports.
Sooke Mayor Maja Tait is just days back at her job after giving birth a few months ago.
She went on maternity leave last fall, temporarily giving up her duties as mayor and as Sooke’s CRD director.
But when returned to work April 1st, she was surprised to hear her CRD role would not be given back.
The position comes with a $17,000 stipend and involves representing Sooke at the CRD meetings.
Council appoints a representative, which in most cases, is the mayor.
“That is where in dialogue with a councillor that was my alternate with the CRD Board it became clear that I would not be reassigned or reappointed to the CRD board and that is what caught me by surprise” Tait said.
That alternate is councillor Rick Kasper who has been doing the job in Tait’s absence.
“The motion did not have any timeline or dates associated with it,” Kasper said.
But regardless, he looks forward to welcoming the mayor back into the CRD role.
“I’ll be recommending to council that they reappoint Maja as soon as possible. I even have her laptop here and her iPad with all her stickers,” he said.
Mayor Tait said she would be grateful for that looks forward to the council meeting Monday night, but the confusion has brought to light gaps in legislation when it comes to elected female politicians.
“We need to now address that barrier so that young women will step forward and having a children is no longer a reason to not get into municipal office,” she said.
This past weekend, elected officials passed a resolution at the Association of Vancouver land Coastal Communities voting to present this issue at this year’s Union of BC Municipalities.
“It is precedent setting, it is groundbreaking and it’s just never entered the conversation before.”
It’s a conversation that is just beginning, with months still to go before UBCM meets this September in Victoria.