Vancouver Island MP advocate says plastics ban is ‘a beginning’

Canada will ban single-use plastics as early as 2021

Courtenay-Alberni NDP MP Gord Johns speaks up in the federal House of Commons in Ottawa. PHOTO COURTESY GORD JOHNS

Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns says that the federal government’s new ban on single-use plastics is just the beginning.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Monday, June 10 that Canada will ban single-use plastics as early as 2021. The specific items to be banned will be determined based on a review, but the government is considering water bottles, plastic bags and straws.

Johns has focused on the issue of ocean plastics and marine debris since his election to parliament, describing plastic pollution as a direct and growing threat to Canada’s ecosystems, food chains and human health. In December 2018, his parliamentary motion for a national strategy on ocean plastics was passed unanimously in the House of Commons.

READ: MP Gord Johns’ coean plastics motion passes unanimously

Although Johns said he is pleased that the government is moving towards addressing the legislative and regulatory void on plastics in Canada, he believes there is still much work to be done to address the plastics issue in Canada’s economy and environment.

“The announcement today does not address the critical importance of addressing the packaging and the industrial use of plastics,” he said in a press release on Monday. Banning single-use plastics, he explained, is just one part of a comprehensive Waste Reduction Strategy.

“It is thanks to local environmental groups, educators and students, local governments, churches, the business community and ordinary Canadians in all corners of this country who have shone a light on this issue that is so bright, it could not be ignored by the Parliament of Canada,” he added. “The defence of our planet cannot be a partisan matter—we all need to be pulling together. Future generations will expect no less from us.”

READ: Humans unknowingly eat 100,000 particles of plastic per year, says new UVic study

Johns describes the Courtenay-Alberni riding as “ground zero” when it comes to dealing with ocean plastics.

“In our coastal communities, the ocean, its tributaries and all the life sustained in our coastal ecosystems are so essential to our culture, our economy and our food security,” he said. “And yet, their vulnerability to plastic and other marine debris threatens our future.”

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