A Vancouver Island MP is being recognized for his work in protecting marine wildlife. 

Courtenay-Alberni NDP MP, Gord Johns, was one of the recipients of the 2020 Humane Canada Animal Welfare Leadership and Innovation Awards.

Presented at the end of December, the award was given to a coalition of legislators and animal welfare advocates that includes Senator Murray Sinclair, MP Elizabeth May, and MLA Nathan Cullen. 

They were chosen by Humane Canada for their work on Bill S-203, which bans the captivity of whales and dolphins in Canada.

“I’m truly honoured to be receiving this award alongside such an esteemed group of friends and colleagues,” said Johns. 

“We’ve got much more work to do to protect animal welfare in Canada, including saving wild Pacific salmon and removing plastics from our oceans.”

Johns said the bill received Royal Assent in June 2019 “after significant debate and attempts to delay the legislation.”

At the time, it was unsure if the bill would even make it past the House of Commons due to the Fall 2019 federal election. However, MP Johns and his caucus colleagues were able to build support and prioritize the passing of this important piece of legislation.

“The passing of this bill was a clear example of what we can achieve when we work together,” said Barbara Cartwright, CEO of Humane Canada. “It is an honour for our organization to recognize the trailblazing leaders who worked tirelessly for over five years to pass this bill. We look forward to continuing to work together towards building a more humane Canada.”

The award was presented by Humane Canada, the largest national animal welfare organization in Canada, whose membership and associateship includes a total of 65 animal welfare organizations, humane societies, and SPCAs.