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rob-evans
 
March 22, 2011, Ottawa – Members of the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs are in Ottawa this week to meet with MPs and further enlighten them about fire service issues, in particular, the proposed $3,000 tax credit for volunteer firefighters. Rob Evans reports from Parliament Hill.

March 21, 2011
By Rob Evans

March 22, 2011, Ottawa – When I was enrolled in a journalism program at a Calgary tech school, I would have given my first born to be in Ottawa during a week like this. The nation’s capital during budget week is full of story lines that can keep you typing for a long time. Maybe that’s why I majored in photojournalism . . .

My Monday meetings with two Alberta MPs were cancelled, understandably, because they are both Conservative and the MP for my constituency is the minister of state for finance. I’m thinking MP Ted Menzies may have more important things on his plate on the day before the federal budget is brought down than meeting with a deputy fire chief from Alberta.

Many fire chiefs in attendance have been lucky enough to get time with their MPs and as such, the morning was spent listening to updates from the executive and learning how to talk to our elected officials. After lunch, many of the chiefs headed up to Parliament Hill for their meetings with MPs and government officials.

Tuesday is a day full of more meetings and the budget. The CAFC is hopeful that the volunteer tax credit will be included in the budget. Either way, the work in Ottawa will not end for the leaders in the Canadian fire service. As we heard Monday morning, the lines of communication have to be kept open. Our elected officials shouldn’t hear from us just when we want something. Invite them to the station once in a while for a coffee with the guys. I wonder if Mr. Menzies will do lunch with me when he gets back home? I’ll have to get my people to call his people.

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.