IN THE NEWS – RED DEER ADVOCATE - Ottawa yet to create system to source safe supply to reduce overdoses

Referencing the government's work to procure COVID-19 vaccines during the pandemic, Johns asked why it is not doing the same for safe supply.

"It's because it lacks political will, it's not their priority, and they lack courage," he said.

Bennett's office did not directly respond to a question about whether she and Tassi have been working together to procure a safe supply of opioids.

"The provision of contracts for a safer supply of opioids is primarily a provincial and territorial responsibility," Bennett's office said in a recent statement.

Health Canada is currently supporting 17 safer supply projects in British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, and New Brunswick, for a total investment of more than $64 million, her office said.

IN THE NEWS – Toronto Star - More measures are needed, says Portugal addictions head

Gord Johns, a New Democratic MP from Vancouver Island, was behind a bill in Ottawa aiming to allow drugs for personal use right across Canada.

 The Liberal government granted the exemption to B.C. just before the house was due to vote on Johns bill, ultimately rejecting it. Johns called the move "cynical" and slammed Ottawa for doing little else to try to save lives nationwide: "Twenty-seven thousand people have died as a result of toxic overdose, they haven't tabled any comprehensive legislation to respond to this crisis."

Johns said his bill drew on suggestions from the government's Expert Task Force on Substance Use

IN THE NEWS – Brandon Sun - Bereavement Day bill passes, but much work lies ahead

The hope Bill 217 and the federal Bill C-216 would pass was shared by the Manitoba Harm Reduction Network, said coordinator Solange Machado.

Bill C-216, a private member's bill tabled by NDP mental health and harm reduction critic Gord Johns, who is MP for Courtenay-Alberni in B.C., as meant decriminalize simple possession, provide a pathway for people convicted of simple possession and create a national policy to create a safer supply of drugs.

IN THE NEWS – CP24 - Canada announces decriminalization plan for drug users in B.C.

However, Bennett said she "will not be voting" today for a private member's bill introduced by New Democrat MP Gord Johns to decriminalize possession of small amounts of drags across the country. She said the bill lacks "guardrails" around implementation. "It has been an important bill, but I think that starting with British Columbia is a prudent way to go," Bennett said.

Johns, who represents a riding on Vancouver Island, stood in the House of Commons Tuesday and called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to end an "irresponsible" patchwork approach involving the national overdose crisis.

Over 27,000 people across the country died from opioid-related overdoses between 2016 and September 2021.

'There are thousands of families burying their loved ones outside of B.C. Provincial and local governments shouldn't have to fill the void of federal leadership. Lives are at stake," Johns said, asking if the government would support his bill.

IN THE NEWS- NDP MPs fighting against toxic drug-related deaths while Liberal ignore expert advice

VANCOUVER – Today, NDP MPs from Vancouver were joined by NDP mental health and harm reduction critic Gord Johns to meet with local organizations advocating for better drug policies. Johns has been touring the country to promote his private members’ bill which would require the federal government to adopt a health-based approach to reduce drug-related harms and stop preventable deaths. All parties will vote on this initiative to help save Canadians’ lives on June 1st

The national drug poisoning crisis has led to more than 27,000 deaths in just six years. In British Columbia, 2,224 people died in 2021. Johns' proposal follows the overwhelming evidence and advice of public health experts to decriminalize personal possession, expunge criminal records and create a national substance use strategy to provide a low barrier, regulated safe supply, prevention, education and universal access to treatment.

"After six years of inaction, the Liberal government is still not listening to its own public health experts," said Johns. "People are dying and will continue to die if nothing changes. On Wednesday, the Conservatives and Liberals have a choice to make. If they do not act to stop criminalizing and stigmatizing people who use drugs and rapidly improve access to support, the crisis that we're seeing will only get worse. And they’ll have to explain their inaction to families who continue to bury their loved ones.”

IN THE NEWS – ‘What are they afraid of?’ Liberals urged to support bill to decriminalize drugs

“They’re going to have blood on their hands on Wednesday when they vote against this bill,” said NDP MP Gord Johns, who tabled the private member’s bill.

“How can any politician in this country not vote to send this bill to committee to listen to the experts? What are they afraid of? They’re afraid of hearing the truth from the experts?”

Experts, advocates and people who use drugs have long called for decriminalization as one necessary tool — along with a safe drug supply and treatment services — to tackle the opioid epidemic, in order to erase stigma and ensure that people aren’t using drugs alone or fear seeking help

Liberals and Conservatives stand up for rich oil corporations while Canadians try to make ends meet

OTTAWA– Last week, the Liberals and Conservatives teamed up to vote down an NDP proposal to stop giving billions of taxpayer dollars to profitable oil and gas companies and instead reinvest that money in Canadians struggling to make ends meet. In the last year, big oil and gas companies have made record profits – Imperial Oil made its largest profit in thirty years and Cenovus’ profits increased sevenfold. Yet, families across the country are getting gouged at the pumps and are struggling to pay the bills – gas prices have surged past 2 dollars per litre.

“Canadians should not have to sacrifice seeing loved ones because of unaffordable gas prices or cut back on groceries just to pay the bills," said NDP MP Gord Johns (Courtenay – Alberni). "The Liberals, with the support of the Conservatives, keep helping big oil and gas companies, not British Columbians. New Democrats know Canadians deserve better, and we will keep fighting for Canadians to have the support they need to make ends meet.” 

IN THE NEWS – Times Colonist - Comox Valley Regional District goes to court to halt ship-breaking at Union Bay

The Concerned Citizens of Baynes ‘Sound and the K'omoks First Nation fear pollutants from the industrial operation will affect Baynes Sound.

Much of B.C.'s oyster production takes place in the sound.

It is an ecologically and biologically significant area and it is a major herring spawning ground, Gord Johns, NDP MP for Courtenay-Alberni, told the House of Commons. Johns and the First Nation are calling on the federal government to bring in tough ship-breaking regulations

IN THE NEWS – Vancouver Island Free Daily – No easy solution to opioid crisis fallout in Alberni Valley

Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns said business owners are unfortunately “on the doorstep” of a social system collapse, driven by a mental health crisis, a toxic drug supply and “chronic” underfunding for housing. He spoke to the need for zero-barrier housing in Port Alberni, as well as the need for more hours at the OPS.

“Nobody’s died at the overdose prevention site,” he said. “But [the site] closes. People don’t use drugs by a clock. Business owners shouldn’t be dealing with this.”

Exclusive Data Shows Canadian Cops Target More Black and Indigenous Folks for Drug Arrests

Exclusive Data Shows Canadian Cops Target More Black and Indigenous Folks for Drug Arrests

While it is clear that Black and Indigenous people have long been disproportionately arrested for drug possession across North America, a VICE World News investigation has compiled one of the first datasets of its kind that shows the extent to which it is happening in Canada.

Through Freedom of Information requests to police services, VICE World News has compiled national non-cannabis drug possession arrest data broken down by race, something that does not yet exist publicly in Canada. This dataset follows VICE’s 2018 investigation into arrests specifically for cannabis possession, which also revealed stark racial disparities. While the number of drug possession charges and arrests in Canada has declined even further since then, after cannabis was fully legalized in 2018, Black and Indigenous people are still much more likely to be arrested for drug possession—with Indigenous people eight times more likely to be arrested than white people in one major city. 

Gord meets with organizations helping Victorians devasted by the drug poisoning crisis

VICTORIA – Today, NDP Critic for Mental Health and Addictions, Gord Johns, is visiting MP Laurel Collins riding of Victoria to meet with local organizations supporting people who use drugs or are addicted to drugs. Johns is touring the country to raise support for his private member’s bill which would decriminalize personal possession of illicit drugs, expunge criminal convictions for personal possession of drugs, and establish a national strategy for substance use among other things.

“Service providers are on the front lines doing the important work to support their community. They are doing everything they can to keep people safe in the middle of a crisis which has cost thousands of lives,” said Johns. “Like many other cities across the country, Victoria has been deeply affected by this toxic illicit drug supply crisis which has only gotten worse in recent years. It’s about time this Liberal government moved past their outdated ideology, which is costing lives, and listened to the experts. We can’t let any more families deal with this unnecessary pain."

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