Thank you, Mr. Speaker. As we all know, last year was a very bad year for forest fires in the north, and this year is shaping up to be as bad or even worse. But I'm glad to see, Mr. Speaker, that the Minister responsible for forest fire management is acting decisively to respond to the situation. We all applauded his announcement yesterday of a 31 per cent raise to certified firefighters' wages with good reason, although the other part of his announcement was just as important. Many of my constituents have complained in the past about compensation when their cabins or traplines were destroyed by fire. The increased compensation announced yesterday by the honourable Minister will go a long way towards addressing their concerns.
Mr. Speaker, increased community involvement is the other important part of these new initiatives. Involving community leaders about how to fight forest fires is a common-sense solution which will help us use our limited resources better and more efficiently. I hope the government and the Minister will work hard to help communities take action now to build fire breaks, develop an action plan or do whatever needs to be done to protect our communities from fires.
Finally, Mr. Speaker, I am glad to see that it is a cool, wet day again today. I know many of us look forward to sunshine in the summer, but with the forest being so dry, we need all the rain we can get. I hope we get enough to make this summer a safe and happy one for all northerners. Mahsi.