IN THE HOUSE ~ Speaking on my Private Member's Motion - M-153 - In recognition of fallen firefighters across the country

Mr. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, I am rising to state unequivocally that as the mover of the main motion I support the amendment. This amendment was drafted in consultation with the Table.

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to stand and urge all members of Parliament to support Motion No. 153 as amended, which would recognize fallen firefighters across the country.

Since Confederation hundreds of firefighters have died in the line of duty and yet we have not to this date fully recognized those firefighters or their families. For 12 long years firefighters have been coming to Parliament 1 out of 365 days to ask for that recognition. Three hundred and sixty-four days of the year those firefighters put their lives on the line to protect members of the community. Since Confederation we have not as a Parliament recognized firefighters nor their families.

One day a year for 12 years they have come to this place and have asked members of Parliament to recognize their families. For 12 years there have been photo ops but there has not been any recognition.

With Motion No. 153 as amended, all members of Parliament, presumably next Wednesday, will have the ability to stand in the House and show the country that they recognize Canadian firefighters. Every member of the House will have a choice to make. They will either be voting for the recognition of firefighters who have fallen in the line of duty or they will be voting against the recognition of firefighters who have fallen in the line of duty. The choice is very clear and I hope all members of the House will vote to recognize firefighters.

When I stood to speak in the House on June 10 in the first hour of debate on Motion No. 153, I recognized at that time the family of James Peter Ratcliffe, a firefighter in Hudson, Quebec, who died in the line of duty four days before that first hour of debate.

Since then, over the course of the summer I and other members of Parliament have urged the government to act in this regard and recognize firefighters. I participated, as did the member for Gatineau, on September 11 here on Parliament Hill in the annual memorial service for fallen firefighters. At that time we recognized a number of firefighters who died in the previous year.

I would now like to read the names of the fallen firefighters into Hansard: Captain Ernest Paul Wyndham, Edmonton Fire Department; Firefighter Chad Jerry Schapansky, Clearwater Fire Department; Platoon Chief Gerald McNally, Sault Ste. Marie Fire Department; District Chief Dale F. Long, London Fire Department; Firefighter Dustin Douglas William Engel, Sahtlam Fire Department; Captain/Pilot Kerry J. Walchuk, Clearwater, British Columbia; Captain Robert Campbell, Toronto Fire Services; Firefighter Brent Hugh Dempsey, Youngstown Fire Department; Captain John L. MacFarlane, Scarborough Fire Department; and Firefighter Walter Drake, Toronto Fire Services.

The list of names that I have just read is the names of firefighters who have fallen in the past year. Hundreds have fallen since Confederation.


Tonight we have had an historic debate. Next week we will have an historic vote to recognize Canadian firefighters and to recognize their families.

I urge all members of the House to vote to support our firefighters, to support their recognition and to support the recognition of their families.