Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns left West Coast towns today to head over the hump to continue spreading his message about his national cycling strategy and hear from his constituents as part of his “Ride the Riding” initiative.
Johns said cycling through his riding gives him a better opportunity to hear and understand the needs of the people who live in the communities he represents federally.
“We’re seeing things that we never would see, meeting people we wouldn’t meet if we were traveling by car,” Johns said. “When I ran (for MP), I ran on a platform that everybody counts and every community counts and I would show up.”
And show up he has, Johns began his ride in Hesquiaht on Monday, a small community that has never seen an MP in their riding. Over the past four days, Johns has also visited Tofino, Esowista, Macoah, Hitacu, Ucluelet, Anacla, Bamfield and Port Alberni.
“It’s really an intimate experience when you’re in the community, riding with people,” Johns said. “I couldn’t dream or expect that it would be so beneficial to our team and to our office.”
Johns said common concerns for the people of coastal communities is protection of salmon, affordable housing, senior and child care, protection of the environment and action around reconciliation.
“Our fisheries, oceans, environment and the marine economy and how we can benefit from investments in the marine economy, I think those are all things that have surfaced,” he said.
Johns said being on the ground has also helped him understand infrastructure needs in communities that wouldn’t be as easily understood in a meeting.
“Actually being there and seeing it gives us a real different perspective and also seeing the people that are struggling the most,” he said.
Earlier this month, Johns organized a meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Tofino to hear directly from local government, business leaders and First Nations that took two years to manifest. He said the Indigenous communities he’s visited on his ride have all thanked him and shown a lot of gratitude for organizing that meeting.
After a stop at Cathedral Grove on Friday, Johns is heading to the remaining towns in his riding.
For more information about Ride the Riding, the national cycling strategy and a schedule of Johns’ stops, check out http://gordjohns.ndp.ca/ride-the-riding.