CALGARY (660 NEWS) — Reaction from Thursday’s budget continues to roll in, with a response now coming from those who have a history of putting their heads down and accepting what’s given to them.
The Alberta Fire Chiefs Association (AFCA) which is made up of over 600 Chief Officers from over 95 per cent of the municipal fire departments in Alberta, voiced its concerns with budget cuts it will be faced with.
In a release sent to 660 NEWS, the AFCA start out by acknowledging some changes that are headed their way adding “While the financial cuts involved do not involve large amounts, the implications and messages behind them are significant.”
WATCH: CityNews’ Jon Muma reports on one firefighting group that was axed from previous provincial budget cuts.
In a letter released by the Minister of Municipal Affairs, the AFCA was made aware that a $500,000 cut was being made to eliminate the entire amount of funding available for firefighter training.
“The elimination of this training grant will directly impact volunteer departments already under stress in both small communities and rural communities.”
In the release, the association says Minister Kaycee Madu had stated the grant program was “eliminated to reduce operating costs and administrative burden.”
The AFCA is now strongly urging Premier Jason Kenney and the Cabinet of Alberta to examine the rationale used by the Minister to place this small grant on the chopping block.
“The AFCA is concerned that volunteer and career firefighters will be put at risk due to cutbacks in training.”
Press Secretary for Minister Madu, Timothy Gerwig responded to the elimination of the grant program on Saturday:
“The delivery of fire services is a municipal responsibility, meaning fire departments and their training budgets are funded by local governments,” the statement reads. “Given this, we have dissolved a small training grant that was developed in better economic times. We value the tremendous work firefighters do and continue to work with municipalities across the province to ensure public safety is protected.”