Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal Party won re-election and the IAFF is looking forward to working with MPs from all parties to advance fire fighter and public safety issues in a minority government.
The election result presents an excellent opportunity for the IAFF to build on several key advances that came during the last four years under the Liberals, including a national line-of-duty death benefit, a comprehensive plan to address post-traumatic stress among first responders and the establishment of Fire Fighters National Memorial Day.
In a minority government, the Liberals will need support for their initiatives from other political parties, which is good for democracy as more voices representing more viewpoints will be shaping public policy.
The International’s non-partisan approach and the existing relationships the IAFF and its affiliates have with MPs from all political parties will be a great asset during the coming session of parliament.
“We congratulate Prime Minister Trudeau and all 338 MPs who were elected last night,” says General President Harold Schaitberger. “Canada’s professional fire fighters are prepared to work with Liberals, NDP, Conservatives, Greens and all other MPs who share our mission to keep advancing fire fighter and public safety issues across Canada.”
He added that the strong progressive presence in the minority parliament means that fire fighters won’t have to worry that the advances we made in the last session of parliament may be clawed back, and bodes well for the continuation of a respectful environment for workers and labour unions going forward.
During the campaign, the IAFF reached out to members and the public to educate them about the political parties’ records of support on fire fighter issues and the many advances achieved in the last session of parliament. For example, the Memorial Grant Program for First Responders, which came into effect last year, has already provided more than $15 million to the families of IAFF members who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
The IAFF thanks all locals and members who participated in the election campaign by supporting MPs from various political parties, thereby helping to maintain our presence in the political arena and to ensure fire fighter issues were front and centre during the campaign.
“Conservative governments in Ontario and Manitoba have shown fire fighters how important it is to support parties that are prepared to work with labour and not against us, and how important it is to have working relationships with those holding the reins of power,” says 13th District Vice President Fred LeBlanc.
15th District Vice President David Burry says the election of a good number of Liberal MPs in Atlantic Canada “means there will be good support for fire fighter issues in the next session of parliament.”
6th District Vice President Mike Carter says while the election result doesn’t resolve many of the political concerns felt by western Canadians, there’s no question that Liberals have prioritized fire fighter issues. “No one can deny the Liberal Government has moved forward on significant issues related to fire fighters and our families, and there’s no reason we should not expect the same level of focus on our issues going forward.”
The IAFF also expresses its gratitude to Ralph Goodale, who was unsuccessful in his re-election bid in the Wascana, Saskatchewan riding. Goodale, a longtime IAFF ally who served the last four years as Public Safety Minister, was a champion of public safety issues and brought them quickly to fruition in full consultation with the first responder community.
“To Ralph Goodale, thank you and best of luck with whatever comes next. You are a true friend to Canada’s professional fire fighters and your dedication and commitment to us and our families will not be forgotten,” Schaitberger says.
The IAFF will formally engage the new government as soon as possible in advance of the 27th Canadian Legislative Conference March 29-April 1, 2020, in Ottawa.