Local NDP candidate Gord Johns says MP John Duncan owes an explanation to constituents for acting on behalf of the prime minister instead of the people of Vancouver Island during the parliamentary session that just ended.
If voting history in this region matters, Duncan and Johns will be the frontrunners in the federal election scheduled for October. They will be contesting the new Courtenay-Alberni riding, which includes Parksville Qualicum Beach. Other declared candidates include Carrie Powell-Davidson (Liberal) and Glenn Sollitt (Green).
“John Duncan voted against restoring coast guard services, he voted in favour of the C-51 surveillance bill, and he spoke out against better federal support for ferry service on Vancouver Island,” Johns said through a news release issued Sunday.
“On almost every front he acted on behalf of Stephen Harper instead of our communities.”
Duncan disputed Johns’ claims, especially when it came to the ferry service.
“That (Johns comment) is not correct in any way, shape or form,” Duncan said Monday from Ottawa. “The only ongoing subsidy (in the entire country) for a ferry service that operates within one province is for BC Ferries ($29 million annually),” said Duncan.
The MP, who is also the government whip, said recent sessions of parliament have been very productive.
“In this parliament we have passed 120 bills, which is a record,” said Duncan, who said he will be flying out of Ottawa today (Tuesday) and making announcements in this riding this week. He said this parliament has also passed a record 40 private members bills.
Duncan also pointed to a long list of bills the government has passed into law during this parliament, including one that forces all MPs to disclose their spending on a quarterly basis and others that will be of benefit for this province, which he said has the lowest amount of trade with the U.S., and the highest with Asian countries, of any other province.
“We put in place the Canada-Korea free trade agreement, which is important for B.C.,” said Duncan.
The NDP candidate Johns said “people in our community were very disappointed by the Stephen Harper Conservatives in this last session.” He also said it was a good session for his party leader, Tom Mulcair and the NDP.
“New Democrats defended the rights and freedoms of Canadians by leading the fight against Bill C-51,” he said. “And they got things done on protecting the environment and making life more affordable for middle class families.”