Courtenay-Alberni: Popular New Democrat Gord Johns romps to easy victory

NDP incumbent Gord Johns scored an easy win over Conservative candidate Byron Horner in the Courtenay-Alberni electoral district.

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Johns retained his seat in Parliament with 42.8 per cent of the vote, with 236 of 265 polls reporting, well ahead of Horner, who had 31.6 per cent.

Green Party candidate Sean Wood (13.4 per cent) and Liberal Jonah Gowans (11.9 per cent) were are well back in the race for the riding, which stretches from Tofino in the west to Lasqueti Island in the east and includes Port Alberni, Parksville, Qualicum and parts of the Comox Valley and Nanaimo.

“It has been very moving, this campaign,” Johns said in an interview with the Times Colonist. “The support from all corners of this riding, people from all walks of life, and across political lines, they really got behind this campaign because they care about this coast, they care about making life better for people in our communities.”

Johns first won the riding in 2015 after defeating longtime Conservative MP and cabinet minister John Duncan. His first term in Parliament focused on federal investment and job creation, along with environmental issues.

He said the environment will be a continued focus during his second term.

Johns, a former Tofino councillor who was voted class valedictorian at Victoria’s Mount Douglas high school in 1988, was the new kid on the block when he was elected to Parliament, but is now well known in Ottawa, having risen often in the House of Commons to talk about marine pollution.

His motion calling for a national ocean plastics strategy and ban on single-use plastics passed with unanimous support in December.

Johns’ path to re-election was given a shot of energy when federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh stopped by his campaign office in Port Alberni on Friday.

“Jagmeet Singh’s message clearly resonated with coastal people, and the voters of Courtney-Alberni have chosen a path of working together, rather than partisan politics, and that was reflected in Jagmeet’s campaign.”

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