The Alberta Legislative Assembly has a new member who didn’t need an election to earn his seat. It’s Hansard Rose, a four-month-old kitten now assuming the esteemed position of the parliamentary mascot.
Nathan Cooper, Speaker of the Alberta Legislative Assembly, received the kitten when she was just a few days old. The feline was a rescue animal.
However, the stray puss quickly found her place in the historic building. Officially, she might be Copper’s pet, but in reality, everyone working in the Parliament has adopted the black-and-white cat.
In the beginning, the representative actually took turns bottle-feed the newborn critter. When Hansard became ill, everyone in the office pulled together to assist the cat.
Hansard currently splits her time between the Cooper family home and the seat of the parliamentary institution. At home, Nathan Cooper’s children never miss a chance to play with the adorable puss.
“I also have three kids who love Hansard, and it’s been a really great addition, not just to the legislature but also to the family,” the speaker said
Besides, the four months old kitten is a frequent topic of debate on his various social media sites. Furthermore, Hansard also has a dedicated Twitter page.
Strangely the account wasn’t her owner’s idea. In fact, the profile was set up by a complete stranger.
Yet Nathan Cooper appreciates the initiative. In an interview, the politician reveals :
“They’ve been a great addition, super funny and engaging, really chatting from Hansard’s perspective, but it’s actually not me or my office.”
Although he doesn’t know the account manager, the speaker still has one request: that the profile’s publication remains as non-partisan as the speaker is.
Hansard relays an important message
Cooper stresses that the message he wants to communicate with the cat is about the legislature’s importance and how people can interact with it.
Deep thinking went into the selection of the young feline’s moniker. In legislatures structured after the Westminster model, a Hansard serves as the authoritative record of the proceedings.
Nathan Cooper thinks his cat has helped him improve the public’s engagement in the political process.
Usually, politicians and politics can appear to be far-off, remote issues. Still, Cooper insists that they are also individuals with families, pets, and the desire to interact with the general public.
At last, the politician hopes the next Assembly speaker will follow in his footsteps and bring a kitten. It might become a tradition like the presidential pet in the US.