Forward Avenue Report
Liberal MP Ralph Goodale Brings IAFF Issues to House of Commons
June 8, 2012 -- The IAFF’s key federal legislative priorities in Canada will likely be debated in the House of Commons later this year due to the efforts of Saskatchewan Liberal MP Ralph Goodale.
Goodale has tabled private members’ motion M-388 in the House of Commons, which states that the federal government should establish a Public Safety Officer Compensation (PSOC) benefit in the amount of $300,000, give fire fighters priority access to vaccines and antivirals in the event of an influenza pandemic and amend the National Building Code of Canada to improve fire fighter safety.
Based on Goodale’s standing in the order of preference for private member’s business, M-388 will likely come up for first debate in the House of Commons in early fall, and for second debate in November. A vote on M-388 should come before Christmas.
Goodale and his staff worked with the IAFF Canadian Office on the wording of M-388 and upon tabling it this week, Goodale told the IAFF he will try to muster sufficient support among MPs to get it adopted in the House of Commons. “It is an honour to be able to promote your very worthy ideas,” he said. The full text of Goodale’s message to fire fighters is attached.
While non-binding, private member’s motions focus important attention on issues and capture the interest of parliamentarians from all sides of the House. The adoption of a private member’s motion signifies that a majority of MPs representing a majority of Canadians agree that the government should act on an issue. This is the first time three IAFF issues have been addressed in a single private member’s motion.
The IAFF is grateful to Goodale for acting decisively to help advance issues affecting Canada’s professional fire fighters and their families, and pledges to continue working with him toward the adoption of M-388 in the House of Commons.
Goodale, the Liberal Party Deputy Leader who represents the Regina-area riding of Wascana, met with members of Regina, SK Local 181 during the 19th Canadian Legislative Conference and also spoke during the conference’s opening session. He commended the IAFF for its lobby, stating “it is professional, it is focused, it is relevant, it is persuasive and it is very well done.”
He also thanked fire fighters for their roles in society. “You are the nation’s first responders to all manner of emergencies. Fire fighters are typically first on scene. Peoples’ lives depend on how well you do your jobs.”
Full Text of M-388:
M-388 — June 4, 2012 — Mr. Goodale (Wascana) — That the House hereby affirm its support for the following measures to support Canada's firefighters which, in the opinion of the House, the government should act upon promptly: (a) the creation of a national Public Safety Officer Compensation Benefit in the amount of $300,000, indexed annually, to help address the financial security of the families of firefighters and other public safety officers who are killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty; (b) the recognition of firefighters, in their vital role as “first responders”, as an integral part of Canada’s “critical infrastructure”, and as “health care workers” under the Canada Influenza Pandemic Plan, entitled to priority access to vaccines and other drugs in cases of pandemics and other public health emergencies; (c) the specification of firefighter safety as an objective of the National Building Code of Canada; (d) a review of the National Building Code of Canada, in conjunction with the International Association of Firefighters, to identify the most urgent safety issues impacting firefighters and the best means to address them.
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