IN THE NEWS - CVR - Courtenay-Alberni MP ‘baffled’ by lack of federal housing funds following budget

While the 2023 Federal Budget released Tuesday (March 28) offered some highlights for taxpayers, Courtenay-Alberni NDP MP Gord Johns says he’s disappointed by the lack of funds to address the housing crisis.

Johns noted from Ottawa shortly after the budget was released by Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland that he is “completely baffled” by the lack of a cohesive housing strategy by the Liberal government. He noted the idea that free market housing will solve the housing shortage has never worked anywhere in the world.

IN THE NEWS PQB - PODCAST: Gord Johns, Member of Parliament for Courtenay – Alberni

The MP talks about Fish Farms, Island Rail and the Pharma Care Program.

Johns is the critic for Mental Health and substance use and talks about a bill which he tabled.

“Last year, I spent the bulk of my year in between the House of Commons, and weekends traveling the country, listening to experts, hearing from everyone, from police chiefs to medical health experts about how to respond to the crisis. And tabled legislation to respond to the expert task force on substance use, which just reflected that. Sadly, it was defeated by both Conservatives and Liberals.”

Johns also comments on Reconciliation and offers his thoughts on how to get more people to the polls at election time.

IN THE NEWS - The Tyee - Could Giving Youth a Voice in Politics Help Fix Climate Change?

“Right now big decisions are being made for young people and they don’t get to give their feedback on decisions made today about the world they’ll inherit,” Johns told The Tyee.

It’s important for youth to have a voice in politics for several reasons, he says.

First, young people are citizens too so what they want is important, he says.

“Look at the mess we’re in — they’ll inherit this,” he says, referring to the climate crisis. “We need to ensure they have a seat at the table.” 

Second, Johns says young people are more informed than some people might think.

IN THE NEWS-MP Johns helps Qualicum Beach Climate activists petition federal government

The Qualicum Beach youth climate activists known as “Fridays for Future” think youth should have a say in the future of the planet and they are bringing their message to Ottawa with the help of local Member of Parliament Gord Johns.

“Their commitment is inspiring,” said Johns. “This is the kind of leadership we need. The climate emergency is inter-generational and we need the youth to be part of the discussions and the solutions.”

The NDP has been pressing the government to lower the voting age to 16, and Johns was a leader in the nationwide ban of single use plastics, according to the release.

IN NEWS – Federal Retirees – Advocacy Spotlight: Nanaimo and area branch participates in health-care roundtable

In January, Nanaimo and area branch past-president Bob Willis and advocacy liaison Marg Smith attended a seniors' health-care roundtable in Qualicum Beach hosted by MP Gord Johns and NDP leader Jagmeet Singh.

Willis and Smith were two of just 10 community leaders invited to attend the roundtable, thanks to the branch's ongoing advocacy work.

The roundtable discussion focused on issues in the health-care system, such as the shortage of physicians and other health-care practitioners in Oceanside, the barriers internationally trained physicians face in qualifying to practice medicine in the province, as well as the hurdles that Canada-trained physicians encounter to practice medicine in other provinces. 

IN THE NEWS – PBQ – Afghan Family Builds new life in Qualicum Beach

Courtenay-Alberni Member of Parliament Gord Johns, his constituency assistant Kim Slomnicki, and with the unflagging activism from Taussig, all worked together to bring the rest of the family to Canada.

 “Mushtaq was in hiding from the Taliban and he was in danger,” said Slomnicki. “Naomi came to us seeking help in 2021. No one gave up.”

Johns met with immigration, refugees and citizenship minister Sean Fraser and pressed him to assist in reuniting the family. Slomnicki, on the other hand, helped Walizada to meet urgent deadlines for the required permanent residency and sponsorship documents.

IN THE NEWS – – Government hid CEBA outsourcing contract with Accenture

Gord Johns, an NDP MP on the operations committee who introduced the motion to expand the investigation to more consultancies, told the Globe it was alarming to hear about Accenture’s work on CEBA.

“We assumed it was running through the public service,” he said. “We didn’t know this until now.”

Johns – who noted the six companies in the probe have seen their government contracts balloon from $50 million a decade ago to $500 million today – said increased outsourcing leads to higher costs for taxpayers and diminishes the capacity of the public service, which leads to even more reliance on expensive consultants.

IN THE NEWS – Nanaimo News Bulletin - Probe into former residential school in Alberni resets death toll at 67

Last week's announcement ended with a number of calls to action, including a request for funding from the federal government so the nation can conduct more research and replace the former residential school buildings on its territory with a healing centre. Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns, who attended the event, said that Canada needs to step up and answer the call to action.

"They provided the resources to build these institutions, they need to provide the resources to tear them down and remove them, but also to replace them with healing," said Johns.

Tseshaht First Nation never asked for the school to be placed on its territory, but community members now have to live with the ghosts of the residential school. Watts described stories of swings moving without any wind, lights turning off and on and the sounds of children playing in an empty gymnasium.

"The things we're sharing today are the things we've been taught as kids," he said. "We hope survivors feel that the truth they've been speaking to us for decades has come to light. We hope they feel a little lighter today."

IN THE NEWS- NDP pass motion to expand investigation into McKinsey contracts and reckless governments outsourcing

NDP Public Services and Procurement critic Gord Johns made the following statement in reaction to an NDP motion to expand the investigation of outsourcing government work successfully passing on Monday:

“For years we have seen an over-reliance on costly outsourcing, and this is bad for everyone. The more than $100 million given to McKinsey is just one of the most recent examples. I’m happy to see that Canadians are finally going to get some real answers and transparency on both the Liberal’s and Conservative government’s close relationship with these huge corporations. Canadians deserve to know that when their government is spending hundreds of millions of dollars, that it’s to get them the best services and programs possible – not to line the pockets of the ultra-wealthy"

IN THE NEWS- NDP demanding better mental health supports

NDP Mental Health and Harm Reduction Critic Gord Johns made the following statement on the Liberals' new health care agreement with the provinces and territories, and its exclusion of urgently needed mental health funding:

“After doing everything right and isolating during a global pandemic, Canadians are now dealing with a cost-of-living crisis exacerbating stress, anxiety, and feelings of isolation. But when people reach out for help, they’re met with either wait lists that are months long or high costs that put help out of reach.

Mental health care is health care. No one should have to decide between filling their fridge or getting the quality health care they need. But unfortunately, Canadians are having to make tough choices. That’s why people were expecting Justin Trudeau to include real mental health supports in his government’s new health care agreement with the provinces and territories – but Canadians have yet again been disappointed by the Liberals

There’s still no funding in sight for their promised Canada Mental Health Transfer and with the new health care plan, no specific or measurable funds have been given for community mental health and substance use treatment. People's lives are on the line – and they shouldn’t have to rely on our overcrowded emergency rooms as a primary resource for help. With 35 per cent of Canadians experiencing severe mental health issues it’s unconscionable to hold back on health funding.

The government needs to be doing everything possible to reduce barriers people face when they reach out for help. New Democrats are urging the Liberals to stop delaying and increase mental health spending to expand access to care, reduce strain on emergency rooms, reduce the high costs of services for patients, and put supports in place to fight Canada’s toxic drug crisis. We will keep fighting to make sure people suffering from mental health issues and substance use disorders can get the support they need without fear of the costs"

IN THE NEWS – Alberni Valley News - Courtenay-Alberni MP urges Canada to negotiate end to UK pensioners cost-of-living index freeze

Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns is asking Canada to negotiate an end to the cost-of-living index freeze by the UK government for recipients of the British State Pension who live in Canada.

“Here in Courtenay-Alberni we have many retirees receiving the British State Pension and this directly affects their quality of life. Pensioners are losing tens of thousands of dollars over the course of their retirement,” said Johns, in a news release. “With the current inflation crisis, many seniors are having trouble making ends meet which is why it is critical this gets addressed without further delay.”

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