Gord states the Liberal government is failing to address the opioid crisis and it's costing Canadians their lives

Federal NDP critic for mental health and addictions, Gord Johns, made the following statement:  

“The data released from the B.C. coroner's office is absolutely staggering and heartbreaking. It has never been more clear that the federal Liberal’s failure to act on the toxic overdose crisis which is costing thousands of lives, leaving families here in B.C. and across Canada without their loved ones. 2021 was the deadliest year of the toxic drug overdose crisis in B.C. with 2,224 deaths.

The Liberals need to urgently address this emergency, so no more lives are needlessly lost. They can't continue to ignore calls from public health experts urging them to take a different approach. We're hopeful the Liberals will finally hear reason and support the bill that I have put forward to decriminalize the personal possession of drugs and take meaningful steps to address the toxic supply of street drugs that are killing Canadians by the thousands.  

Despite the undeniably dire situation, the Liberal government hasn't shown the political will to take action. There was no mention of this devastating crisis in the Speech from the Throne, nothing in the mandate letter to the federal Minister of Health and there was only a buried mention of addressing the toxic drug supply of opioids in the federal Minister of Mental Health and Addictions' mandate letter.   

Last year, the cities of Vancouver and Toronto and the province of B.C. applied to the federal government for an exemption for the decriminalization of drugs for personal use, a step that was recommended by the Liberal government’s own Expert Task Force on substance use and supported by health experts, police chiefs and frontline workers.  

New Democrats are listening to the experts, advocates and Canadians affected. New Democrats will continue to prioritize an urgent response to the toxic drug overdose crisis.” 

Last night, Gord Johns asked the Minister for Mental Health and Addictions about her government's plans to address this crisis. You can watch the recordings here:
Video 1
Video 2


IN THE NEWS- The opioid crisis is killing our loved ones: NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and MP Gord Johns introduced the NDP's first initiative

OTTAWA – Today, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and NDP Critic for Mental Health and Addictions, Gord Johns, introduced the NDP's first initiative in the new parliamentary session – a private member's bill that would help thousands of families dealing with loved ones who use or are addicted to drugs. If passed, among other things the NDP’s bill would decriminalize drug possession for personal use and expand access to crucial harm reduction, treatment and recovery services.

“Justin Trudeau has allowed the stigma around drug use to persist instead of taking real action to save lives. The longer the Liberals drag their feet the more lives that will be lost,” said Johns. “We need to decriminalize immediately and save lives by providing access to a regulated safer supply of drugs for users. Besides these necessary steps, this bill would also require the government to remove barriers to employment, housing and travel for thousands of Canadians by expunging their criminal records for simple possession of drugs. This shouldn’t be a partisan issue. I am hopeful that parliamentarians from all parties will support our bill so we can get people the help they need.”

IN THE NEWS- Gord calls for the need from Liberals to fund healthcare to make sure Canadians are supported

OTTAWA– Healthcare workers on Vancouver Island and in coastal communities have been working tirelessly over the past two years. Even before the pandemic, they have been dealing with burnout due to staffing shortages. Today, local NDP MPs Gord Johns (Courteney-Alberni) and Rachel Blaney (North Island – Powell River) have joined their party’s calls for the Liberals to strengthen the country’s healthcare system, to keep people healthy and safe.

“Nurses, care workers and doctors have been working long days, under immense pressure with few breaks, to care for our loved ones during this pandemic. They can’t be expected to continue under these conditions forever. The Liberal government owe health care workers better than that,” said Johns. “The Trudeau government cannot wait to fix the gaps in our healthcare system, they need to invest now. Canadians cannot afford to wait any longer.”

IN THE NEWS – The Star - Canada missing from global conversation on deep-sea mining

The International Seabed Authority (ISA) has to finalize regulations, standards and guidelines for deep-sea mining before June 2023, but so far, Canada has been largely absent from these discussions, said NDP MP Gord Johns.

“Why isn’t this a priority of the government?” asked Johns.

“We’ve got the longest coastline in the world, we keep seeing the prime minister standing with people like President Macron of France, touting his track record and passion for protecting the world’s oceans, but they’re absent … they missed six opportunities for submission since 2015.”

New plan for spot prawn fishery is a win for harvesters: NDP Gord Johns says

NANAIMO – NDP critic for fisheries and oceans Lisa Marie Barron and deputy critic Gord Johns say that the newly-announced plan for prawn and shrimp fisheries from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) is a victory for B.C. prawn harvesters. This decision comes after months of uncertainty and proposed regulation changes by the Liberal government, which would have threatened the livelihoods of independent harvesters.

“Prawn harvesters have finally had their voices heard, and a common-sense solution was found,” said Johns. “Key stakeholders have been working together for months to raise these concerns; they shared petitions and appeared before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans.  But the Liberals should not have put harvesters through this stress and uncertainty in the first place. It's good to see that the right solution was found in the end.”

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