Gord Johns has been one of the busiest parliamentarians in Ottawa throughout the 42nd Canadian Parliament.
The Courtenay-Alberni MP was among the top 10 per cent of MPs in terms of interventions in the House of Commons. He rose no less than 652 times in four years.
“We have to be about 10 times as loud to get results,” Johns said, noting the amount of direct infrastructure investment for local governments in the riding in the last three years exceeds that of the previous decade. “We had only received $3.2 million in Courtenay from 2006 to 2015/2016. And we’ve received $41 million since.”
Cumberland, he said, has received $3 million in three years, compared to $1.1 million in a decade under the Conservatives.
“We’re averaging over $31 million a year in our riding alone.
“It goes back to part of the reason I ran (for MP),” added Johns, a former Chamber of Commerce executive director and municipal councillor in Tofino. “I was frustrated. I felt like we weren’t getting our share, that our voice wasn’t being heard, and that Ottawa clearly didn’t understand and comprehend what we needed.”
Johns credits local politicians, municipal staff members and the provincial government for working together.
“It shows what we can do, but it also debunks the myth that you need someone in government (cabinet minister) to get results. We clearly have proven it’s not true.”
He also credits constituents such as Courtenay resident William Webb, a retired army sergeant who testified in Ottawa before the House Committee on Veterans Affairs (VA). The federal government has since committed to developing a national strategy to end veterans’ homelessness by 2025.
“This is the kind of stuff as MPs that you celebrate,” Johns said. “It’s not just the money and the infrastructure.”
Courtenay Mayor Bob Wells credits Johns for securing funds for the water treatment project — the largest federal infrastructure investment in the history of the Comox Valley.
“We have had more support from the federal government over the last couple of years than in the entire history of our company,” said Wayne Coulson of Coulson Aviation in Port Alberni.
During his term, Johns’ office said there has been a 58 per cent increase in funding for innovation, science, technology and industry; and a 147 per cent increase in Canadian heritage funding.
“These victories are important, but it’s still far from enough,” said Johns, who expects more money to be rolled out in the riding this summer. “We know our salmon are in trouble, that we’re in a housing crisis, we have an opioid crisis, and we need a pharmacare plan so that people aren’t making a choice between whether they’re going to pay rent, buy food or fill their prescription. We have a lot of work to do.”
His term of office continues until Parliament is dissolved in the fall. Johns hopes to retain his MP seat in the next federal election, Oct. 21.