Mr. Speaker, I too am pleased to speak to the motion.
The Government of Canada is committed to protecting and promoting Canadian heritage. Canada has a rich and diverse history and cultural heritage, which all Canadians celebrate.
In this the year of the veteran, 60 years after the end of World War II, we have also been reminded that Canadians owe a debt of recognition and respect to the men and women who have served in Canada's armed forces, particularly during times of war and especially to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of our nation.
We have been reminded that there are too many stories that have been untold. Sadly, many parts of Canada's complex story remain uncelebrated, not just histories of the war and our veterans. One of these many stories is that of the courage and sacrifice of Canada's firefighters who have died in the line of duty, serving communities across the country. I have been privileged to attend ceremonies at Rideau Hall where firefighters have received Orders of Canada, but we need to do more.
The story of Canada's fallen firefighters is one that should be commemorated in the national capital and therefore I wish to voice my support for Motion No. 153.
I am happy to note that the National Capital Commission and the Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation have agreed on a location at LeBreton Flats. The foundation itself advocates the appropriateness of the LeBreton Flats location because of the space available and accessibility. At the request of the foundation, the NCC has agreed to reserve a location for the new monument to Canadian firefighters for three years.
The Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation is a long time proponent of a national monument commemorating fallen firefighters. Its main aims are: to see a national monument to firefighters constructed in the national capital; to hold a memorial service for fallen firefighters at the monument every year; to care for the families left behind through scholarships and financial assistance; to assist official efforts to recognize fallen firefighters; and, to promote initiatives aimed at increasing fire and life safety awareness.
Both the monument and the memorial ceremony have been envisioned in the most inclusive way, encompassing firefighters of every rank and region, city and country. The foundation has long expressed its desire to ensure that the monument will honour all firefighters across the country and has stated:
All races, creeds, cultures, religions will be respected and those who carry no religious connection are equally part of this Memorial.
Clearly, the intent seems to be to create a new monument that will, in honouring firefighters, also reflect what we should continually celebrate about Canada: the diversity of our land and people, and the outstanding commitment of individuals to contribute to the good of their communities and the nation.
Poll after poll tells us that Canadians want to know more about our own history and that Canadians want more opportunities to celebrate our diverse heritage and the achievements of the nation and outstanding Canadians.
Firefighters are an integral part of Canadian heritage. As well as saving lives, firefighters must also be recognized for their contributions to the economy of the country, saving the businesses and places which support the prosperity of Canadians. They keep us safe through the less glamorous, but equally, they do vital work in public safety, public education, fire prevention and accident prevention.
People are usually afraid of fire so the individuals who make it their business to step toward what any normal person fears are very special individuals.
Today the House has an opportunity to support the motion and essentially agree that the time has come for the duly elected representatives of Canadians to recognize the contribution of firefighters and to remember those firefighters who have died in the line of duty serving Canadians.