January 13, 2006 16:03 ET

Liberals Voted Against Helping Firefighters: Another Example of Liberal Fly-by-the-Seat-of-Their-Pants Policy

BURNABY, BRITISH COLOMBIA--(CCNMatthews - Jan. 13, 2006) - NDP MP Peter Julian (Burnaby-New Westminster) was shocked today to hear Paul Martin announce plans to introduce a fund to support Canada's emergency first responders after 59 Liberal MPs and cabinet ministers tried to defeat his similar private member's motion (M-153) last October. Julian's motion sought full recognition and a benefit fund for Canadian firefighters who fall or are injured in the line of duty. Fortunately, Julian's motion passed its final vote in the House of Commons 161 to 112.

"I cannot believe that Mr. Martin is serious about this fund when his caucus voted against the initiative the NDP brought forward for firefighters' families in the last Parliament," said Julian. "Nor was there any mention of this fund in the Liberal platform.

"This is just another display of Mr. Martin's 'values of convenience,' promising during a campaign what his caucus voted down less than three months ago."

In Canada, the vast majority of fire departments do not have benefits to provide for the family of fallen firefighters. This means that families of fallen or disabled firefighters are saddled with financial hardship and uncertainty after their loved one has given his or her life to save others.

"For 12 long years, these brave men and women who have been putting their lives on the line have been fighting for recognition and for the security and dignity of their families," said Julian. "Yet when they had an opportunity to get something done for these families in the House of Commons, Liberals voted to deny them that security."

"The NDP will continue to fight for emergency first responders and their families in the next Parliament and ensure that this announcement doesn't turn into just another broken Liberal promise."

In the past 150 years, approximately 800 firefighters have lost their lives in the line of duty. Today, an average of 10 firefighters lose their lives every year.

Contact Information

  • NDP Press Office: 613-236-3613 x 2833