In recent editions of your newspaper you have recapped the highlights from 2018.
There were a couple of stories worthy of front-page coverage that did not make the list. Our hard-working Member of Parliament, Gord Johns, accomplished not one but two unprecedented feats in 2018.
The first was Johns’s Opposition Day motion, Service Standards For Canadian Veterans Parliamentary, to end the practice of leaving money unspent at Veterans Affairs Canada. Instead the federal government will “automatically carry forward all annual lapsed spending at the Department of Veterans Affairs to the next fiscal year, for the sole purpose of improving services for Canadian veterans.”
Since November 2015, there has been more than $372 million meant to help veterans and their families that went unspent. On Nov. 6, 2018, Gord Johns’s motion was unanimously approved by Parliament in a 301–0 vote.
The second, and one I am passionate about, was his private members motion M151 calling for a national strategy on marine plastics pollution. Johns brought concerns from his riding to the House of Commons, rising 63 times to speak to the issue and the motion. On Dec. 5, 2018, Johns’s M151 motion was unanimously approved in Parliament with 288 in favour and 0 opposed.
It should be noted that normally less than 2% of private members’ motions or bills get passed, so to have not one but two passed unanimously is historical. I believe this speaks to Johns’s ability to work across party lines and focus on the issues that are important to all of us.