Patrick Brown Maverick Watch

Why a Conservative MP is now an honorary firefighter

<p>The Peace Tower is seen in Ottawa, Friday September 25, 2009. Adrian Wyld/TCPI/The Canadian Press</p>

Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

While the rest of us were more interested in other matters of MP independence, Conservative MP Patrick Brown was named an honorary firefighter by the International Association of Fire Fighters this week, in honour of his efforts to help pass a Liberal motion last fall that called for a “Public Safety Officer Compensation Benefit.”

Brown laid down the party mantle and fought for M-388 to be adopted. The bill provides assistance for a firefighter’s family if he/she is killed or becomes permanently disabled while on the job. Canadian firefighters have been fighting for the security that American firefighters have had for 20 years in knowing their families will be taken care of, should they no longer be able to do so.

“It’s close to home for us because we lost Bill Wilkins in the line of duty. You have to negotiate a payout (now),” said White, which can be tough for a grieving family. “At least we will know our families will be taken care of.” Wilkins was killed in a house fire in 2002. Since then Brown has held an annual chilifest to raise money for a scholarship fund honouring Wilkins.

Brown said M-388 was simply the right thing to do. “The party whips were surprised when they lost that vote about three months ago,” Brown recalled.

The Harper government opposed the motion on the grounds of jurisdiction and cost, but 18 Conservative backbenchers voted in favour.