Cape Breton's new mayor welcomes baby

·2 min read

The mayor of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality has a new baby.

Amanda McDougall confirmed to CBC News that she gave birth to a son on Saturday evening.

McDougall said she, along with her fiancé and stepson, are brimming with love for the new addition.

She first spoke of her expanding family last summer while announcing her mayoralty bid.

In October, the former first-term councillor and non-profit leader defeated incumbent Cecil Clarke by nearly 4,000 votes.

During her run to the mayor's seat, McDougall spoke of chauvinistic attitudes she encountered.

Time away with baby

Earlene MacMullin, the deputy mayor, will be stepping into McDougall's shoes as she takes time off to be with her family.

"Whether it's a week, or two weeks, or a month, between myself and staff [carrying out her duties] … and she's always just a phone call away," said MacMullin.

"The important thing right now, really, is to give her and her family the time that they need to adjust to the new bundle."

MacMullin said mom and baby were expected to leave the hospital on Monday.

Tom Ayers/CBC
Tom Ayers/CBC

Advice for McDougall

Emily Lutz was caring for a toddler when she decided to run in the Municipality of Kings County in 2016. Now she has a five-year-old, two-year-old and five-month-old baby.

Lutz has raised a newborn as a councillor, and in her current role as deputy mayor. She admits to encountering misogynistic attitudes in balancing work and family responsibilities.

"Being a young mother does not negate your ability to do your job, and in fact it enhances your ability to do your job," Lutz said.

"It can certainly add a new level of complexity, but it's very much something that goes hand-in-hand."

She has some advice for McDougall: Don't be afraid to delegate tasks and don't be too hard on yourself.

"It's OK to take time away," she said. "Folks take time away from council for a number of different reasons."

'It's a wonderful thing'

Yarmouth Mayor Pam Mood was asked whether McDougall might be the first Nova Scotian to give birth while holding the mayor's office.

"I have no idea, and I actually don't think it matters," Mood said. "I think it's a wonderful thing. That's what women do. They give birth."

But there's no glossing over the impact McDougall's motherhood will have on municipal politics, Mood said.

"It's an amazing example that she's set. It almost gives women permission to step into politics and know that, you know, the path has been forged before them."

When she announced her mayoral bid, McDougall said having a baby would be a constant reminder that council decisions must take into account future generations.