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, MLA Interlake
May 6, 2013

International Firefighter's Day

Mr. Speaker, this Saturday marked International Firefighters' Day. On this day we recognize the sacrifices that firefighters make to ensure that our communities are as safe as possible. In some cases, their dedication is shown through years of working in the industry; in others, through innumerable hours of volunteering. This is only one day but we can show our support and appreciation to the firefighters who protect us so well throughout the year.

This February I had the opportunity to spend time with some of the Interlake's courageous firefighters. The second annual St. Laurent firefighters' ball, held at the St. Laurent recreation centre, gave residents from the area a chance to come together and enjoy fun, food, games and, of course, support our local firefighters. The event was a hit and I thank everyone involved in making it such a success.

Not only do firefighters put their lives on the line every day but they also face a higher risk of cancer in later years. Over the past decade, Manitoba has led the way in continually passing laws that presumes that certain diseases are caused by firefighting. We were the first in Canada to have this kind of legislation and since then, we have continued to expand the types of cancers that are covered including the addition of breast cancer, in recognition of the role of women firefighters.

We've also extended the coverage to include heart attacks within 24 hours of an event, as well as to volunteer and part-time firefighters. Other jurisdictions are now following our example, Mr. Speaker. These measures are just some of the ways we can show our firefighters that we appreciate their sacrifices.

Firefighters the world over represent a group of committed people who routinely place the safety and needs of others before their own. Manitoba's brave men and women are no exception. I invite all honourable members to join me in remembering those who have risked and still risk their lives while protecting our communities.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.