March 24, 2011, Ottawa - So, today ends my first trip to Ottawa and what an experience it has been. I am so appreciative of the opportunity to take in the CAFC’s government relations week. The continued networking that I have done by working side by side with my metro counterparts is truly priceless.
|CAFC President Rob Simonds with
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty in
Ottawa this week after the
announced a tax credit for
volunteer firefighters in its budget.
Photo by Rob Evans.
The networking is not just with fellow fire chiefs from across the country. Meetings with government officials, MPs, cabinet ministers, senators and all of their staffers goes far with presenting Canadian fire service issues on the Hill. But the government relations shouldn’t just be taking place one week in March by a group of fire chiefs who can make it to Ottawa. All fire department leaders need to realize that open discussion has to begin to take hold throughout the year. And we all need to realize that it is not just large national issues for the fire service that need to be discussed. We need to start making elected officials truly understand our own local issues as well.
Surely as you are reading this a non-confidence vote will soon be taking place, if it hasn’t already. If so, reach out to the parties running in your ridings. Not just to your local favorite, but to all. Make this a platform item for everyone running for the House. This will not go down with the dropping of the writ! Keep it front and centre across Canada.
Rob Evans is the deputy fire chief for Redwood Meadows Emergency
Services, 25 kilometres west of Calgary. Evans attended the Southern
Alberta Institute of Technology in 1989 and studied photojournalism. In
1992 he joined RMES after taking pictures of an interface fire and
making prints for the department. He has his NFPA 1001 level II
certification, NFPA 472 Operations and Awareness (hazmat), NFPA 1041
level I (fire service instructor), Henson College Fire Service
Leadership certificate and is a registered Emergency Medical Responder
with the Alberta College of Paramedics. He lives in Redwood Meadows with
his wife, a firefighter/EMT with RMES, and three children.