Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns completes Ride the Riding

Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns completes Ride the Riding

Gord Johns visits 28 communities to hear local concerns and talk about bill C-312.

Most Members of Parliament spend their summer break from Ottawa spending time with their local constituents.

But Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns has gone a little further, doing it all on his bike.

“You’re joining people from all over” Johns told a crowd of supporters gathered at the day’s first stop in Cumberland. “All over the riding from Hesquiaht to Bamfield, through the Port Alberni valley and up from Nanoose Bay all the way here including the islands in really a historic ride.”

He has spoken with hundreds of people since beginning the tour August 13th.

“Bringing people together, talking about what’s important to people on Vancouver Island and the islands, to our communities and their families.” he said.

He says common themes he heard about were affordable housing, the environment, and wild salmon.

But the message he took to them was about cycling and his private members bill aimed at getting more Canadians on their bikes.

“In other countries like the Netherlands 50% of the kids ride their bikes to school, in Denmark it’s 40%, in Sweden it’s 20% and Germany 15% and in Canada it’s only 2%” said Johns. “And it’s not because we live in this large, huge country, 80% of Canadians live in urban centres.”

“Well I’m a councillor in Courtenay and a real advocate for cycling in general so I was excited to hear that at the federal level there’s some interest as well.” said Courtenay city councillor David Frisch.

Wrapping up the tour later in Courtenay Johns said bill C-312, if passed into law would result in all levels of government creating a cycling strategy.

“The biggest thing is political will” said Margaret Harris, President of the Comox Valley Cycling Coalition. “We need to have political will from the top down that encourages better infrastructure that makes cycling safer which would encourage people to want to ride their bikes.”

“It’s all about partnerships between federal, provincial and local and through our platform we’re definitely supporting of active transportation.” said Courtenay-Comox NDP MLA Ronna-Rae Leonard.

Private members bills rarely become law but Gord Johns says he’ll be taking all of the new information back to Ottawa when he returns in mid September.

Dean StoltzDean Stoltz

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