The fire chiefs expressed their concerns to government officials and politicians in Ottawa this week. The chiefs said representatives from all parties were receptive and offered suggestions. They note New Democrat MP Gord Johns rose in Parliament to highlight the importance of retaining volunteer firefighters. He also retabled his bill to increase the volunteer firefighter tax credit. And the fire chiefs are hopeful the program to replenish training and equipment is considered for the 2023 budget.
IN THE NEWS- NDP MP Gord Johns calls for audit of government’s response to toxic drug crisis
OTTAWA – Yesterday, the Public Health Agency of Canada published updated data and modelling projections demonstrating the devastating toll the toxic drug crisis continues to have on families and communities across the country.
Between January 2016 and June 2022, 32,632 Canadians have died due to drug poisoning. The data shows that another 4,100 people may lose their lives in the first half of 2023 if urgent action isn’t taken.
“The Liberal government knows it needs to do more to turn the tide on this tragic crisis but continues to drag its feet because of stigma,” said MP Gord Johns, the NDP’s Critic for Mental Health and Harm Reduction. “Just like in June, this devastating new data has been released as Parliament adjourns because the government doesn’t want to answer for its ineffective response that has cost lives.”
IN THE NEWS – Nanaimo Bulletin - licensed-vancouver-island-gun-owners-say-theyre-no-threat-to-public-safety/
Bill C-21 amendments propose banning hunting, sporting rifles
Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns addressed Bill C-21 Friday in Parliament. He criticized the Liberals for promising to keep people safe from gun violence, then making a last-second amendment that would hurt rural and coastal communities.
“This bill was supposed to protect people, not go after hunters, farmers or Indigenous peoples,” Johns said in the House of Commons. “Will the prime minister listen to the outpour of concerns and clean up his mess?”
IN THE NEWS – Times Colonist - Customers feel boxed in by Canada Post fuel surcharges
"It's nuts," she said Wednesday. She can't understand how Canada Post can justify a $4.20 surcharge on a package travelling just 70 kilometres to a customer in Metchosin. "I think it's a money grab, honestly."
Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns feels the same way. He rose in the House of Commons this week to demand that the federal government force the post office to give consumers a break and drop the surcharges this Christmas. Families are having trouble as it is and shouldn't be wobbled by the cost of sending gifts to loved ones, he said. "It's price-gouging."
For its part, Canada Post says year-round fuel surcharges have become standard practice in the shipping industry. "We understand the impact this can have on customers and we therefore work to reflect current pricing," the corporation said in a statement. The rate is tied to the cost of diesel, ranging from a 20 per cent surcharge when the price per litre is $1.50 to 45 per cent when it tops $2.51.
This week, diesel was pegged at $2.30. Note that Canada Post's 39.5 per cent rate was comparable to FedEx's. Also note that the post office lost buckets of money last year. Johns contends that the fees are disproportionate to the actual impact of rising fuel costs. In any case, he said, the surcharges are too hard on inflation-battered families and small businesses.
IN THE NEWS- People waiting in our emergency rooms are paying the price for Liberals and Conservatives not putting in the work
OTTAWA – Emergency rooms across British Columbia are overwhelmed, and some are even being forced to close, making families drive hours to get help or wait hours to get help. While our ERs are already overwhelmed with flu season and the pandemic, Canadians struggling with their mental health often have nowhere else to turn because of out-of-pocket costs and long waitlists for supports.
“Our emergency rooms cannot be the solution for the government’s failure to support people and their well-being,” said NDP Mental Health and Harm Reduction Critic MP Gord Johns (Courtenay – Alberni). “Canada needs to be treating the mental health crisis like the health emergency it is. That’s why New Democrats are calling on the Liberals to make mental health a part of our universal public healthcare system, deliver the funding frontline organizations have been pleading for, and to get everyday people the help they need. We will keep fighting to improve our health care system so that you and your children can access care when you need it most.”
IN THE NEWS – ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS – New Lakeshore Trail extension opens in Sproat Lake
Gord Johns, MP for Courtenay-Alberni, thanked the Sproat Lake Parks Commission and ACRD staff for their work in developing the trail and applying for funding.
“When we build trail networks, it gets people more active, it lowers our healthcare costs and it’s better for our environment,” he said. “And it’s great for the economy, because we want people to come visit the Alberni Valley and the more things they can do, the better.”
IN THE NEWS- Liberals are failing Canadians mental health by refusing to deliver on mental health supports
In response to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) calling on the Liberals to implement a mental health care transfer payment to the provinces and territories, NDP Mental Health and Harm Reduction Critic Gord Johns made the following statement:
Across the country, people are suffering because they don’t have access to the mental health services they need. With the rising cost of living and long waitlists it’s almost impossible for people to get support when they need it. The provinces and territories have time and time again asked the Liberal government to step up on health care funding, but they haven’t acted.
IN THE NEWS- With the cost-of-living skyrocketing for working families, Justin Trudeau is turning his back on them
OTTAWA – With Thursday’s Fall Economic Statement it’s become clearer – that the Liberal government is working for rich bosses, not for you and your family. The same week where studies revealed that 20% of families are cutting meals to make ends meet, that Loblaws made an extra $ 1 million a day in excess profits and that people have never taken on so much debt to get by – Justin Trudeau’s Liberals chose to protect profits instead of giving respect to British Columbians feeling the crunch.
“Families in British Columbia, and across Canada are having to make really tough choices about what bills they can pay and what bills they just can’t afford. And costs are only going to get higher as we head into the winter,” said NDP MP Gord Johns (Courtenay – Alberni). “The Fall Economic Statement only showed how out-of-touch Justin Trudeau is with the realities of working families – and the Conservatives don’t want to help you, they only want to slash your pension and cut employment insurance. We could be giving families more support – instead they Liberals are giving $15 billion to fill the pockets of rich investors. It’s wrong.”
IN THE NEWS- Gord calls on Liberals to finally fight the mental health crisis
OTTAWA – Today, In Question Period, NDP MP Gord Johns (Courtenay – Alberni) called on the Liberal government to actually follow through with their promises by helping Canadian workers with their mental health. Johns also called for all parliamentarians to support an urgently needed Canada Mental Health Transfer, to help provinces tackle a growing need for mental health services.
Here is Johns question:
“People in Canada are struggling with their mental health – and accessing help is almost impossible. Yesterday, a report found almost all Canadian workers have experienced mental distress. And for many it’s only getting worse.
Years ago, this government said it would amend the Canada Labour Code to protect workers, but the Liberals have failed to follow through.
Just like they haven’t delivered on promised new funding for mental health supports.
When will the government finally do what’s right by delivering on their promises to protect the mental health of workers?”
New Democrats will continue to pressure the Liberals to deliver needed mental health supports for those you and your family.
Click here to listen to Johns’ question in the House of Commons.
Click here to read Johns’ call for mental health supports.
IN THE NEWS - Globe and Mail - CBSA misses deadline to provide ArriveCan invoices to parliamentary committee
At the end of the two-hour meeting with the federal departments and agencies connected to the app, the committee unanimously approved a motion from NDP MP Gord Johns asking the Office of the Procurement Ombudsman to review the government's contracting work related to the app.
Mr. Johns said the Ombudsman may be able to review the matter more quickly than the Auditor-General, who has also been asked to examine the issue via a House of Commons vote earlier this month.
IN THE NEWS – The Star - Ottawa working to regulate drug supply in ‘super significant’ move as deaths remain high
Gord Johns, the NDP mental health and harm reduction critic who proposed the decriminalization bill, said in a statement that Bennett’s words were “encouraging,” but needed to be accompanied by “real, rapid action in order to stop the harms the toxic drug supply is causing on a daily basis.
“New Democrats will keep pushing the Liberals to adopt a comprehensive emergency response to turn the tide on this public health crisis,” he said.
IN THE NEWS – National Post – Global Affairs Canada admits some costs on nearly $100k in flight catering tab for GG trip were “problematic”
The federal government admitted certain items on the nearly $100,000 in-flight catering bill for the Governor General’s eight-day trip to Dubai last March were “problematic” and is working to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
NDP MP Gord Johns said it was “shockingly high” and “unacceptable.”