Firefighters’ good will for Lac-Mégantic thwarted

Firefighters’ good will  for Lac-Mégantic thwarted

Commentary by Jonathan Letellier de St.-Just-Black

The Lac Mégantic tragedy has stirred up a vast array of questions and issues.
The July 6 derailment of 72 train cars claimed the lives of 47 residents in Lac Mégantic.
The fire was devastating and the horror historic.

One feels quite helpless in regards to such events but fundraising is one efficient way for Quebecers to help out.
In Quebec City, though, one fund-raising effort has proved problematic.

The local firefighters union wanted to participate in the sale of “Courage et Solidarité” bracelets, a campaign started by the Sureté du Quebec. Lac-Megantic-BraceletsThe bracelets sell for $5 and funds go to the Lac Mégantic relief fund.
The fire service management refused the union’s request to sell the bracelets in public during work hours, instead suggesting the bracelets be sold at a fire station on Rue St. Jean.

In media reports, union president Eric Gosselin said such a gesture was “useless” and deplored the loss of possibly $25,000 for Lac Mégantic the bracelet sale could have raised. He noted that firefighters have raised money in similar ways in the past, notably the Loto-Pompier.

Even Mayor Regis Labeaume said fire bosses should be more lenient and allow firefighters to sell the bracelets. The mayor said the city had no hesitation in sending firefighters to Lac Mégantic to aid in putting out the massive fire.
As Eric Gosselin stated earlier this week, it’s a disappointing outcome for a gesture of good will.
Thankfully, for the time being, Canadian Tire offers the “Courage et Solidarité” bracelets for the affordable cost of $5.

Still, shouldn’t fire service management be asked to explain further why it rejected its firefighters’ efforts to help fellow citizens in Lac Mégantic? What was gained by thwarting this opportunity for both firefighters and citizens to contribute to the relief fund? Was it more about labour relations than solidarity with victims of a terrible disaster?

I guess it’s “back to the old grind” for the firefighters as we’ll stay curious about the immediate help for the victims of the Lac Mégantic derailment.

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Based on an article that appeared in Le Soleil recently

Bracelets pour Lac-Mégantic: vente publique refusée aux pompiers de Québec
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