The 2021 federal budget will be tabled on April 19, and there are a few key things the MP for Courtney-Alberni would like to see.
In an interview with the Comox Valley Record, he said the third wave of COVID should be government’s biggest priority. “We’re hoping the government will address those that have fallen through the cracks.” These people include those who have lost their jobs and their healthcare benefits.
The Liberal government gets to write the first draft of the budget, but because they are a minority government, they will need support from MPs from other parties if they want to pass the budget. This gives MPs like Johns the chance to fight for changes that will help people in the Comox Valley and Port Alberni.
Johns wants a national strategy to help workers who have been hurt on the job, especially those who now have a disability because of the injury.
“Right now we know that 99 per cent of people who have been injured in the workplace that haven’t gotten back to work within one year, don’t ever return,” he said in the interview. “Coming out of COVID, we’re seeing more and more people off work. It’s critical we get them back to work as quick as possible.”
On a lighter note, Johns also wants to “put bums on bikes” and has been fighting for a national cycling strategy. Last month, the Liberal government announced $400 million over the next five years to build paths, trails, and bridges to help people be more active. COVID has made it tougher to be inside with friends and family, so more people are going outside. Johns calls this new money a “victory” and says that local groups like the Comox Valley Cycling Coalition and Cycle Alberni helped make it possible. It is not clear yet how much money will be coming to the Comox Valley to build more trails.