RE: Where I Stand, by Councillor John Barclay.
On the one hand, many residents will be pleased that at least one municipal councillor feels responsible and courageous enough to put his position in print where it can be scrutinized.
For that, John should be commended. On the other hand, many residents may be dismayed that it took ten months to do so.
During those ten months, Councillors had ample time to challenge the province’s claims and talking points, to consult experts and to delve into research concerning incarceration in Ontario. I should note that CAPP has repeatedly asked Council to share the list of experts it consulted, to no avail.
Discounting any evidence in favour of anecdotes and personal opinions is simply bad decision-making.
For example, if Kemptville residents were to express their concern about community safety, John could reassure them that this is not an issue. Why? Because experts know and the evidence shows that provincial jails are not a threat to public safety.
It may seem counterintuitive, but that’s what the research shows, here and in the US. Now if residents want to know if jails are a boon to the local economy, John could inform them that they are not. Why? Because experts know and the research shows that jails do not confer such benefits. It may be counterintuitive, but that’s what the research shows, here and in the US. That is why on an issue like the proposed prison, evidence is useful and anecdotes are not.
Unfortunately, Municipal Council has largely chosen to not challenge the province’s claims and instead rely on anecdotes and personal opinions. Council as a whole has not demonstrated a sense of responsibility or courage to study the evidence and share it with the public, whether for or against the prison.
That is why CAPP has stepped up to fulfill that role, with the best available evidence on the CAPP Kemptville website (www.cappkemptville.ca).