IN THE NEWS-Island MPs trying to get across "sense of urgency" around decriminalization bill

MPs on Vancouver Island held consultation in Nanaimo last week as the federal NDP tries to drum up support for a bill to decriminalize drug possession. 

The NDP's critic for mental health and addictions, Gord Johns, and Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Lisa Marie Barron met with representatives from the Canadian Mental Health Association and other social services agencies on Friday, March 11. 

Johns is holding consultation across the country after bringing forward a bill to decriminalize drug possession, provide a path for expungement of criminal records related to drug possession charges, and to develop a national strategy to manage overdose risk. 

NDP bill would help address the toxic drug overdose crisis that continues to devastate communities on Vancouver Island

NANAIMO – Illicit drug toxicity is now the leading cause of unnatural death in B.C., according to a report from a panel of experts released this week. Today, NDP Critic for Mental Health and Addictions, Gord Johns, and NDP MP Lisa Marie Barron (Nanaimo-Ladysmith) toured Nanaimo to see the effects of this crisis first hand. Johns recently tabled a bill which would decriminalize drug possession for personal use and expand access to crucial harm reduction, treatment and recovery services to help address the growing crisis.  

“Like many communities in B.C. and across the country, Nanaimo has been struggling with the toxic drug overdose crisis which has cost many families their loved ones. No one should have to experience this kind of suffering,” said Johns. “The Liberals continue to ignore the advice of experts on how to deal with this crisis. I am hopeful they, and all Parliamentarians, will support my bill which will save lives here in Nanaimo and across Canada. 

MPS debate NDP initiative to help address the overdose crisis

OTTAWA – Today, NDP MP Gord Johns’ bill to decriminalize drug possession for personal use and expand access to crucial harm reduction, treatment and recovery services will be debated in the House of Commons. In British Columbia alone, 2,224 people died from toxic drugs last year, a 26 per cent increase from the year before, making last year the deadliest in the province’s overdose crisis. In the past six years, nearly 25,000 Canadians have died from the crisis, with the number of deaths increasing every year since the Liberals were elected. Johns and his NDP colleagues are urging all Members of Parliament to support this initiative to help ensure more families across Canada don't lose a loved one to this crisis.

“Canada is dealing with a second health pandemic which is needlessly killing thousands of people. The overdose crisis will not end on its own. It’s clear we need to take a new approach or else thousands more will die,” said Johns. “My bill follows the advice of the government’s own expert task force which recommended decriminalization, something that has been called for by public health authorities, police chiefs and major cities. It’s time the Liberal government listened to the experts and treated this like the health crisis it is.”

IN THE NEWS-CAPE seeks support of NDP Critic Gord Johns to improve protection of interpreters' health and safety

Ottawa- On Monday, February 14, Greg Phillips, National President of the Canadian Association of Professional Employees (CAPE), Met with Gord Johns, Canada's New Democratic Party Critic for Mental Health and Addictions; Public Services and Procurement, seeking his support to champion the implementation of measures to protect federal interpreters' health and safety at work. 

MP Gord Johns shared our concerns, recognized the gravity of the situation and committed to raising the issue with other parliamentarians and committees. 

Support for seniors finally on the way

OTTAWA – People on Vancouver Island are finding it harder to afford groceries and rent as the cost of living rises. Vulnerable seniors have been particularly hard-hit since the LIberal government cut them off the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) they relied on forcing some to live out of their cars and do without vital supplies like medication. Earlier this week, the Liberal government finally agreed to provide a one-time payment in April with emergency funds available to those in dire financial circumstances as early as March. For almost six months, the NDP has been calling on the government to fix their mistake and have called the government's announcement a long overdue step to correct the harm that was done to seniors. 

“It’s unthinkable that the Liberal government would put seniors in a such a difficult situation and take so long to fix their own mistake. Because of their actions, seniors in my riding were left without any way of paying for their groceries, rent and medication which took a major toll on their mental health,” said MP Gord Johns (Courtenay-Alberni). “New Democrats refused to back down while seniors suffered and thankfully the Liberals listened.” 

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