Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns reflects on rookie year

Gord Johns in the news

Source: Alberni Valley News, by Karly Blats

After one year as Member of Parliament (MP) for Courtenay-Alberni, Gord Johns continues to tackle important issues, and push for a strong and well-represented voice for his region in the House of Commons.

"I take very seriously my responsibility to be the voice of Courtenay-Alberni in Ottawa and to do that effectively I need to hear from local residents," Johns said. "I've risen in the House more than 80 times, so people really know Courtenay-Alberni. They know our issues, they've been hearing them loud and clear."

Since being elected to office one year ago, Johns has many accomplishments he's proud of.

Among his list of achievements includes raising issues in Ottawa on funding for BC Ferries and infrastructure, job creation, the softwood lumber deal, reconciliation with First Nations people, affordable housing, health care for seniors and the case of the missing Azer children—four Courtenay children that are in the Middle East after being abducted by their father.

In addition, Johns has been fighting for consumers, the middle class and small businesses.

"Fighting for small businesses is really important to me. I'm the critic for small businesses and tourism," Johns said. "I'm calling on the government to fulfill their promise to reduce taxes for small business."

Issues specific to Port Alberni that Johns feels passionately about keeping at the forefront are salmon enhancement, habitat and restoration and working with the marine sector in hopes to help create a more resilient local economy.

"I'm working with [the City of Port Alberni] on their aspirations around the transshipment hub (PATH). I'm lobbying hard in Ottawa for PATH and for marine ship building to support ship building in the Alberni Valley," Johns said.

As MP, Johns was able to negotiate a $57,000 increase to the summer student job program for youth in Courtenay-Alberni.

"With one third of kids living in poverty in the Alberni Valley, those jobs are absolutely critical...we got 27 more jobs...I felt really good about that," Johns said.

This is the first time in 25 years that an MP has lived in Port Alberni which Johns said has been really helpful in allowing him to have a strong depth of understanding about the issues in the community.

"It's been really helpful for the residents in the community to be able to visibly see their member of parliament," Johns said. "The community spirit has really lit me up in terms of my energy and enthusiasm."

Looking to the future, Johns says he intends to continue fighting for the issues he's passionate about and supporting the local economy.

Above all, it's the people in the communities Johns serves that inspires and drives him to continue working hard to raise their voice in Ottawa.

"Every day the House of Commons starts with a period in the day where they have a prayer and the speaker asks for members to have a time for self-reflection and time to think," Johns said. "We have two minutes to do that and I just have to think about the people at home that remind me of why I'm there and the issues I'm fighting for.

"I have no problem finding the energy to do everything I can to help solve the problems that we've got today."