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Courtenay-Alberni MP responds to Poilievre’s visit to Port Alberni

Poilievre took aim at Johns during his tour of Alberni Valley facilities
Courtenay-Alberni NDP MP Gord Johns speaks at a public event in Port Alberni on Friday, April 5, 2024. (SUSIE QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

Federal Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre should be apologizing to Alberni Valley residents for a dismal record under Conservative representation, says Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns.

Poilievre was in Port Alberni last week visiting workers at two private events while on a Vancouver Island tour. He toured Coulson Aviation’s remanufacturing facility at the Alberni Valley Regional Airport and spoke with dozens of employees. He then went to Great Central Timber Milling to meet employees at the mill before heading north to Campbell River and Courtenay.

READ MORE: Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre takes private tour of Coulson Aviation

Poilievre took aim at the federal carbon tax, natural resource extraction such as raw log exports, LNG and other mining endeavours. In a later interview he took aim at Johns, saying he has “betrayed” the people of Vancouver Island in the way he and his NDP government counterparts have voted on federal issues.

Johns said Poilievre caused damage to constituents in the Alberni Valley when his own party was in power from 2006 to 2015. “The Conservatives chronically underfunded our region despite having an MP who was in government,” Johns said.

James Lunney spent 15 years as Conservative Party MP for Courtenay-Alberni. While Poilievre claimed Lunney brought “lower prices, lower taxes, better business opportunities, bigger paycheques and safer streets” to the Alberni Valley, Johns said Lunney was in the bottom five percent of MPs raising issues in the House of Commons, while in eight years (three terms) Johns himself is in the top five percent.

“You can’t get help in your riding if the government doesn’t know what your community needs,” Johns said.

While Johns has been in office, Courtenay-Alberni has seen approximately $18 million in annual direct federal infrastructure funding, while under Lunney the number was $1.7 million annually between 2005 and 2015, Johns said. Neither sum includes the gas tax.

The Conservatives have not named a representative for the Courtenay-Alberni riding for the next federal election, which will happen around Oct. 20, 2025.

Susie Quinn

About the Author: Susie Quinn

A journalist since 1987, I proudly serve as the Alberni Valley News editor.
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