IN THE HOUSE ~ Federal Budget ~ Question on the public safety officer compensation fund

41st Parliament, 1st Session
Mr. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NDP):

Question~Madam Speaker, I welcome the member back to the House. I hope he is not going to avoid the opposition questions. I think it would be a real surprise and a delight for us to have the Conservatives actually answer opposition questions. That is what we are looking for.

I would like to come back to the issue of firefighters, because no government has treated the firefighters with more disrespect than the Conservative government. We know, and the member knows, that six years ago in the House an NDP motion was brought forward to create a public safety officer compensation fund for our nation's firefighters and police officers. Conservatives voted for that NDP motion. That NDP motion was adopted by this Parliament. Now we have had five years of delay in the implementation of the public safety officer compensation fund.

What that means is that when firefighters or police officers pass away in the line of duty, their families are left destitute. That is a profound disrespect to the families of our nation's firefighters and police officers.

My question is very simple. When will the government act and put in place the public safety officer compensation fund to compensate the families of the firefighters and police officers who die in the line of duty?

Response~Mr. Brian Storseth:
Madam Speaker, I congratulate the hon. member on his re-election to this House. I am glad to see that he is turned over a new leaf and is going to be such a positive force in this 41st Parliament moving forward.

What I do know about this item in the budget is the following. I talked to one of them and his son. The father had served for over 30 years as a volunteer firefighter in our area, as his son is doing now as well. When they talk about real measures that are getting done, they talk about our volunteer firefighters tax credit. They would hope, and I know, that the member for Burnaby—New Westminster would not use this as an excuse to avoid voting for this budget and taking a real step forward for volunteer firefighters in recognizing the great work they do for all Canadians across this country from sea to sea to sea.