Hon. Wayne Easter
Mr. Speaker, that is a very sincere and legitimate question from the member opposite.
There is no question that first responders are extremely important in terms of biological, radiological, chemical, nuclear or any other emergency disaster. In fact in 95% of the cases, they are the first on the scene. They are an important element of our overall safety and security program.
We have been working with first responders in terms of training. There has been a fair bit of spending, under OCIPEP, for that area. I had the opportunity to attend a workshop in Calgary, Alberta, where first responders were talking about their needs and how they could better co-ordinate and operate together. We are doing a considerable amount.
In terms of the specific request of the member, the government, at an appropriate time, will respond to that question. One of the reasons we are in the shape we are as a government, being the only nation in the G-8 that has a surplus, is because we manage the financial aspects of the country well and we establish some priorities.
We will have a look at that proposal, in the context of all the other proposals that will come forward to the Government of Canada.
Subtopic: Budget Implementation Act, 2003