Gord Johns enters race for NDP nomination in new federal riding

The Westerly News A familiar face to many West Coast residents, Gord Johns of Tofino has entered the race to seek the NDP Nomination for Member of Parliament for the new federal riding of Courtenay-Alberni.

Long active in Tofino, Johns said it’s time for an NDP win in the riding.

“People in our riding have felt ignored by Ottawa for decades, and it’s time that we have strong leadership that can make sure our ideas

and issues are on the Canadian agenda – and heard,” he said.

“With the federal election in 2015, we need a strong, experienced and respected candidate to represent us -one that can support our region and restore ethical, equal, and fair Canadian values to government,” he said. Born and raised on Vancouver Island, Gord was elected and served as a member of the District of Tofino Council from 2008-2011. From 2010 to July 2014, he served as the Executive Director of the Tofino-Long Beach Chamber of Commerce, where he founded the widely-recognized Tofino Ambassador Program.

He helped to grow the organization to 330 Chamber members in a town of 1,900 people, doubling its budget. The TLB Chamber received an honourable mention in the Chamber of the Year 2013 Awards for B.C.

At odds with the B.C. Chamber of Commerce over the issues of pipelines and tankers while leading the Tofino Chamber, Johns is a vocal opponent to increased oil tanker traffic along the West Coast.

For a decade, he organized Tofino Earth Day and Tofino Earth Week events. He sat on the Resort Community Labour Market Steering Committee in 2013, looking for labour market trends and community impasses and solutions for BC’s Resort Municipalities. He has served with a variety of local and regional boards, including the alternate for Tofino on the UNESCO Clayoquot Biosphere Trust. Gord was part of the inaugural Tofino Attainable Housing Committee beginning in 2003. Johns helped to found and develop the Tofino Ambassador Program in 2011. He is an International Fundraiser for a school in one of the poorest areas in Guyana, South America.

Johns founded a variety of enterprises from natural clothing and retail stores to a vacation rental business. He touts his strong voice for business, solid network of business contacts on Vancouver Island, around the province and the country, as well unwavering defense of the environment.

He was elected Councillor for the District of Tofino, and Alternate Director for the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District in 2008. As councillor, he worked to promote parks and recreation, community infrastructure, small business, regional relationships, child and family supports, and the nonprofit-sector. Johns said he’s humbled by the show of support since his announcement. A lot of people have joined the NDP since he started campaigning last weekend, he said.

“I’m determined as much as everyone else to make a change of the leadership in Ottawa and to bring leadership that can restore the ethical and fair values we believe in as Canadians,” he said. His own children prompted him to finally make the decision to run, he said.

“Right now we’re not taking care of our seniors, we’re not working for the better future of our children, we’re not protecting the environment,” he said.

“The Conservatives are driving us off a cliff, and we need to find new pathways for our future. I know we can do better. I see an opportunity to contribute. I’m a stakeholder in the future.

“We need to shift away from managing poverty and instead to empowering people and bringing true prosperity to our people,” he said, adding that he seeks to apply innovative and entrepreneurial skills to social, economic and environmental issues.

“We need to look out for everyday working Canadians, the elderly and the future of our youth. We need to start fresh and get new leadership. It’s time. We can do better,” Johns said. editor@westerlynews.ca