Former firefighter Wade Ritchie, right, gets some face-to-face time with Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger behind closed doors after the official opening of the new Workers Compensation Board office in Brandon on Monday. Brandon East NDP MLA Drew Caldwell is in the foreground with his back to the camera. (TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN)
Fired firefighter Wade Ritchie requested and received a private meeting with Premier Greg Selinger at the opening of Brandon’s Workers Compensation Board office on Monday.
While both a Workers Compensation Board employee and Brandon East NDP MLA Drew Caldwell were obstructing reporters from getting close to the scene, Ritchie, the president of the Brandon Professional Firefighters/Paramedics Association, was joined by two senior union members, Scott Hemstad and Marc Lefebvre, at the meeting.
After the meeting, Selinger denied the meeting was to talk to Ritchie about his dismissal from the Brandon Fire and Emergency Services on Jan. 26, stating they discussed the future of the Manitoba Emergency Services College.
"They think there’s some potential to expand the operation of the fire college in partnership with Assiniboine Community College as it moves to the North Hill," Selinger said. "We said we’d take it under advisement. No, no we did not discuss any other issues."
Ritchie confirmed Selinger’s side of the story and said that even current firefighters can make use of the services the local fire college offers.
Ritchie added their meeting, which lasted several minutes and was held in a side room, was cordial.
"I’m not even sure it would have been appropriate to discuss it with him," Ritchie said of his battle with the city to get his job back.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition February 14, 2012