NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has appointed Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns the NDP Critic for Veterans Affairs. Johns was also elected vice-chair to the all-party Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs.
“It is a great honour to be asked by Jagmeet to succeed MP Irene Mathyssen as the NDP Critic for Veterans Affairs and to defend the interests of military, and RCMP veterans and their families,” Johns in a Wednesday news release. “I will certainly do my part to ensure that all members from all parties work together on the committee to advance the interests of veterans and their families.”
There are some key issues that will be top of mind for Johns on his first day in the new role, including the need to close what he calls the “transition gap” for military and RCMP personnel retiring from active duty.
“What we are seeing is that there exists a significant delay, ranging from many weeks to many months, in the provision of benefits to veterans who are newly retired or who have recently left the forces,” Johns said. “It is my firm belief that if you have stepped forward to proudly serve our country in the military or in the RCMP, there should be no period of time that you are without the pay and benefits that you are entitled to, full stop. We must do better and immediately close this transition gap.”
In addition to his new role, Johns will continue to serve as the party’s Critic for Small Business and Tourism.
“I am also very happy and excited that Jagmeet renewed my mandate on the small business and tourism file,” said Johns. “I look forward to continuing to hold the Liberal government to account for their decisions that have created new obstacles to small business owners and tourism operators, and proposing new ideas and policies that will help all entrepreneurs grow their businesses.”