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Canadian Legislative Issues Advance as MPs Adopt M-388

November 22, 2012 -- The IAFF’s top Canadian legislative issues took a giant leap forward Wednesday with the adoption of private member’s motion M-388 in the House of Commons in Ottawa.

Introduced by Liberal MP Ralph Goodale in June, M-388 was adopted 150-134 by MPs . The motion calls on the Canadian government to establish a national Public Safety Officer Compensation (PSOC) benefit, to give fire fighters priority access to vaccines during an influenza pandemic and to amend the National Building Code of Canada to improve fire fighter safety.

While private member’s motions are non-binding, the fact that a majority of MPs representing a majority of Canadians voted in favour of M-388 sends the federal government the clear message that it should act on the IAFF’s Canadian legislative issues.

IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger cheered the adoption of M-388, citing it as a tremendous advance for the Canadian Legislative Program and as more proof that the IAFF’s political action formula works. He also congratulated the IAFF’s Canadian leadership for its hard work.

 “To get this motion before the House of Commons was a victory in itself; to see it adopted is a major step forward for our Canadian legislative agenda and yet another confirmation that our lobbying pays off.”

In the days leading up to the vote on M-388, numerous Canadian affiliates responded to the IAFF’s request to contact target MPs and to urge them to vote in favour of the motion. Those efforts played a key role in the adoption of M-388.

The adoption of M-388 becomes a key argument as the IAFF continues lobbying the Canadian government on the three priority issues, and it comes just as discussions with the federal government on the pandemic issue turned promising and as further consultation on the building code issue was expected. It also helps set the stage for the 20th Canadian Legislative Conference, which takes place in April, 2013 in Ottawa.

The IAFF is extremely grateful to Goodale (Wascana, Sask.), for his decisive action on behalf of Canada’s professional fire fighters and his hard work in getting M-388 adopted in the House of Commons. Goodale introduced M-388 in the House of Commons shortly after speaking at the IAFF’s 19th Canadian Legislative Conference and meeting with delegates from Regina, Sask. Local 181.

All Liberal and New Democratic Party (NDP) MPs voted in favour of M-388, as did close to 20 Conservatives. Green Party Leader Elizabeth May also supported the motion as did all four Bloc Quebecois MPs.

A jubilant Goodale noted the cross-party support M-388 received. “It’s good to see a little genuine democracy on the floor of the House – for such a worthy cause,” Goodale said. “I’m grateful to all my colleagues in all Parties who joined together to endorse these important measures in support of the courageous people who put their lives on the line daily to keep Canadians safe.”

The IAFF is also grateful to Conservative MP and IAFF ally Patrick Brown (Barrie, ON), who worked exceptionally hard on behalf of fire fighters to help secure enough votes to see M-388 adopted, and to NDP MP Peter Julian (Burnaby-New Westminster, BC), who also brought important attention to the motion. Click here to see how individual MPs voted on M-388.

Text of M-388:

M-388 — June 4, 2012 — Mr. Goodale (Wascana) — That the House hereby affirm its support for the following measures to support Canada's firefighters which, in the opinion of the House, the government should act upon promptly: (a) the creation of a national Public Safety Officer Compensation Benefit in the amount of $300,000, indexed annually, to help address the financial security of the families of firefighters and other public safety officers who are killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty; (b) the recognition of firefighters, in their vital role as “first responders”, as an integral part of Canada’s “critical infrastructure”, and as “health care workers” under the Canada Influenza Pandemic Plan, entitled to priority access to vaccines and other drugs in cases of pandemics and other public health emergencies; (c) the specification of firefighter safety as an objective of the National Building Code of Canada; (d) a review of the National Building Code of Canada, in conjunction with the International Association of Firefighters, to identify the most urgent safety issues impacting firefighters and the best means to address them.

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