ASHTON CALLS FOR FEDERAL ACTION ON FIRST NATIONS FIRE SAFETY - Statement in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, Today I rise to honour the work of Aboriginal communities in ensuring fire safety.

Recently, I had the honour of meeting Timothy Mason, a Band Constable in St Theresa Point, a hero, who without equipment and without a second thought ran to a house on fire, used a chainsaw to cut through the wall and rushed in to save an infant. Tragically that fire claimed the life of another baby.

The story of Constable Mason and others shows the strength of communities. The broader story points to the failure of the Federal government.

First Nations face a disproportionate risk when it comes to ensuring fire safety. They have fewer smoke alarms, fewer maintenance people, and inadequate access to proper equipment. It doesn't end there - First Nations live in the most deplorable housing conditions in Canada. The substandard quality of housing, and the increasing overcrowding puts First Nations at greater risk. The lack of access to water and sewer services leaves communities desperate in ensuring their safety and health. The situation is even more difficult in isolated communities such as St Theresa Point.

We need Federal action to stop the tragic deaths and improve fire safety for First Nations.