Gord Johns, Member of Parliament for Courtenay-Alberni, has been appointed NDP critic for mental health and addictions by NDP leader Jagmeet Singh.
“Canadians have been through a lot in the past 18 months,” said Singh in a press release. “Now more than ever, they need elected leaders who will have their backs and fight for mental health and addictions supports. Gord Johns has been a tireless advocate for mental health and addictions supports both in the community and in parliament. Canadians can count on Gord to stand up for them and deliver on this critically important issue.”
During his six years in parliament, Johns has spoken in the House of Commons about the opioid overdose crisis in Canada, calling for reforms, many of which are supported by public health physicians and police chiefs across the country.
“Mental health support is an enormous unmet need across the country,” Johns said in a statement after his appointment. “More than one in five Canadians struggling with mental health challenges have expressed a need for counselling but aren’t able to get it.”
The NDP has called for increased Canada Health Transfer funding to provinces for enhanced mental health services so uninsured Canadians have access to mental health supports without worrying about the cost.
“So many overdose deaths can be prevented by decriminalizing simple possession of illicit drugs, providing access to a safe supply to users, access to supportive housing and treatment programs,” said Johns.
More than 1,000 British Columbians have died from drug poisonings so far this year.
Deb Hamilton, executive director for Alberni Valley Alcohol and Drug Prevention Service (ADAPS), said she was “very excited” to see Johns appointed NDP critic for mental health and addictions.
Johns is also the NDP critic for procurement and the public service and the deputy critic for fisheries and oceans.