OTTAWA, ON- Courtenay-Alberni’s Member of Parliament has a new role within the NDP government.

Gord Johns has been appointed the Critic for Veterans Affairs by federal NDP leader, Jagmeet Singh.

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 stated in a release.

“I am also very pleased to be selected as Vice-Chair of the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs by my colleagues. 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.”

The release noted that Johns will focus on 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,” he 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 this new role, Johns will continue to serve as the NDP’s Critic for Small Business and Tourism.