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robEditor's note: The Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs is in Ottawa this week for its government-relations week. Rob Evans, deputy chief of Redwood Meadows Fire Department in Alberta and the CAFC photographer, is blogging from Parliament Hill.

March 12, 2012, Ottawa – While sitting at the Calgary airport yesterday waiting for my flight to Ottawa for government-relations week, I began to wonder how I could possibly top last year’s experience in the nation’s capital with the CAFC.

March 12, 2012
By Rob Evans

Editor's note: The Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs is in Ottawa
this week for its government-relations week. Rob Evans, deputy chief
of Redwood Meadows Fire Department in Alberta and the CAFC photographer,
is blogging from Parliament Hill.

March 12, 2012, Ottawa – While sitting at the Calgary airport yesterday waiting for my flight to Ottawa for government-relations week, I began to wonder how I could possibly top last year’s experience in the nation’s capital with the CAFC.

Last year, while sitting in Concourse D at YYC waiting for my flight, I was actually a little disappointed because I had been told that I would not be able to meet with my MP because of how busy he was with the upcoming 2011 budget. My MP, Ted Menzies, is the secretary of state for finance . . . basically Michael Flaherty’s right-hand man. But as I have become the unofficial photographer for the CAFC, I decided that it wouldn’t be a wasted trip and I would shoot as much as I could. I think I started taking pictures about an hour after checking into the hotel. You would have thought that growing up in Erin, Ont., I would have made at least one trip to Ottawa as a kid. Truth is, I had never travelled east of Kingston until I started travelling as a deputy fire chief.

But I digress . . . I had the opportunity to join a couple of the delegations to different government agencies and, as always with these trips, learned tons from my colleagues. I was still disappointed that I was not meeting with any of my local representatives until I was pulled aside by Robin MacLachlan from Summa Strategies Canada. I was told that Mr. Menzies was also disappointed that he couldn’t meet with me and was trying to secure a pass to the reading of the budget in the House of Commons. I was quite honoured to receive such an invitation and I (along with three other fire chiefs – Paul Boissonnault, Dan Heney and Brian Bentley) was there for the budget announcement supporting Canada’s volunteer firefighters. It was certainly a major highlight in my 19 years in the fire service.

This year I have meetings set up with two MPs that benefit from my department’s response to their constituencies, Ted Menzies and Blake Richards. I will also be joining a delegation that will be meeting with Public Safety Canada. Certainly there isn’t going to be anything as big as sitting in the House during a budget reading, but I’m looking forward to the meetings and the networking that will happen this week. I'll be capping it off with the reception hosted by the CAFC in the Speaker’s Lounge on Wednesday night. More than 100 MPs have said they will attend . . . who knows; maybe the Prime Minister will pop in. That might just top last year.

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