Mr. Speaker, the Strait Area Mutual Aid Association is a group of 25 volunteer rescue units in eastern Nova Scotia that responds to emergencies such as fires, accidents and search and rescues, all free of charge to governments or citizens. These volunteer services are absolutely vital to safety in rural communities, but they are being gouged by the outrageous radio licence fees they must pay to the federal government.
The previous Conservative government raised the association's fee from a flat rate of $260 per year to an irrational calculation totalling over $8,000. This increase ignores the economic value of volunteer services to the federal government and it threatens the very future of these services in rural Canada.
I call upon the new industry minister to correct this situation. Volunteer rescue units simply cannot afford these high fees, and eastern Nova Scotia simply cannot afford to lose their services.