That, in the opinion of this House, the government should: (a) recognize all firefighters who have fallen in the line of duty in Canada; (b) support the proposed Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation mandate for the construction of a monument in the Parliamentary precinct containing the names of all Canadian firefighters who have died in the line of duty; and (c) send a message to the Senate acquainting the Upper House of the decision of this House.
Mr. Speaker, it is with great honour to speak today to my private member's motion, Motion No. 153, which pays tribute to the sacrifice, dedication and heroism of firefighters and public safety officers who put their lives on the line so that our families, our children and our communities can live in a safer, more humane world.
Canada has not always been fair to its firefighters who had to fight tooth and nail for every bit of improvement, in addition to fighting fires and saving lives. Over 800 have died since before Confederation. Where is the monument for their sacrifice? Where is the support for their families?
Motion No 153 and my proposed amendment would help ensure recognition and financial security for the families of firefighters when their loved one is killed or disabled in the line of duty. Motion No. 153 is not my motion. It belongs to all the families of the firefighters. It also pays tribute to the 800 firefighters who made the ultimate sacrifice.
As we speak in the House today, the family of volunteer firefighter, James Peter Ratcliffe, is mourning the death of their loved one in Hudson, Quebec last Monday, June 6.
This motion and the proposed amendment is supported by the International Association of Fire Fighters, the Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation and by every one of the 180,000 full time, part time and volunteer firefighters from coast to coast to coast.
Our desire in this House today is to reflect what all firefighters and their families most certainly need and deserve. I would ask for the unanimous consent of the House to present the amendment to my motion that has already been circulated to every member of this House.
The purpose of this amendment is to provide more flexibility in choosing the site for the monument. It also seeks to include in the motion a national public safety officer compensation fund. This request is very dear to firefighters, their associations and families, and to all public safety officers.
With the endorsement of the House, this amendment will allow and encourage the government to provide true financial protection to the families of public safety officers who are killed or injured in the line of duty.
I seek the unanimous consent of the House for my motion to read as follows:
That, in the opinion of this House, the government should: (a) recognize all firefighters who have fallen in the line of duty in Canada; (b) support the proposed Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation mandate for the construction of a monument in a prominent position in the national capital containing the names of all Canadian firefighters who have died in the line of duty; (c) establish a national public safety officer compensation benefit which would also compensate the families of the fallen or permanently disabled firefighters by providing them with a one-time payment of $300,000 which would function as a direct index benefit and address their financial security; and (d) send a message to the Senate acquainting the Upper House of the decision of this House.