But as a childless-not-by-choice woman, I was appalled to hear that a Conservative Party staff member issued a snarky tweet asking why, if Wildrose leader Danielle Smith, 41 years old, likes families so much (referring to certain policy promises), she has no children of her own."
Smith responded with this statement:
“In the last day the question has been raised about why I don’t have children of my own. When David and I married in 2006 we intended to have children together. After a few years we sought help from the Calgary Regional Fertility Clinic. I appreciated the support and assistance of the caring staff as we went through tests and treatments, but in the end we were not successful.
“I consider myself very fortunate to have a terrific stepson, Jonathan, David’s son from a previous marriage. I am also blessed to have grown up in a large family with four siblings who have given me the opportunity to be the auntie of 5 terrific nieces and nephews: Emily, Sam, Chloe, Seyenna and Logan.
“Family is very important to me and I consider this to be a very personal matter. I will not be commenting on it further.”
Current premier & Conservative leader Alison Redford, 49 years old and the mother of a young daughter, issued a statement calling the tweet "entirely inappropriate... hurtful and does not reflect my values nor those of my campaign in any way." She also called Smith personally.
The staffer who made the tweet has resigned.
This is not the first time that childless (for whatever reason) female politicians have had to endure inappropriate comments related to their lack of children. In my own blog here, I've highlighted several cases, including U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, and, in Australia, Prime Minister Julia Gillard. Childless male politicians tend to get off easier -- although in Britain awhile back, William Hague responded to rumours that he was gay by issuing a statement that he & his wife had tried for years to have children and had suffered multiple miscarriages.
I'm curious about the staffer who made the Tweet. Does SHE have children herself? One comment I read suggested she was young and childless, and that perhaps time and life experience would give her a different perspective. I hope so (but reading other comments, I'm not entirely hopeful). Do people who make these kinds of comments not stop to think about just WHY someone might not have children (not that it's really any of their business anyway)? If it's because of fertility issues, such questions are a painful reminder; if it's because the person does not want children, it can be highly annoying.
Story about the incident in Huffington Post Canada
Commetary by Hina P. Ansari: Being Childless: Why Don't Our Opinions Count?