It has become increasingly evident to me that the Government of Ontario, including Premier Doug Ford, our local MPP Steve Clark, and staff from the Ministry of the Solicitor General, have sought from day one to withhold critical information regarding the planned “Greater Ottawa Correctional Complex” from the residents of Kemptville and North Grenville and, by extension, the people of Ontario. The information presented to North Grenville Municipal Council at its June 22, 2021 meeting by representatives from the Coalition Against the Proposed Prison (CAPP) and the Jail Opposition Group (JOG) brought that reality into the sharpest focus yet for me.
For those who are not familiar, CAPP and JOG presented information received through an Access to Information request seeking documents related to the selection of Kemptville as the site for the new facility. The fact that less than 7% of the relevant documents were released (10 pages, with the remaining 135 withheld) is troubling enough; but the information that was provided reveals no rational reason for our town to have been selected. Kemptville does not meet the majority of the selection criteria, the same criteria that appears to have excluded other sites. If anything, the documents reinforce why it is a poor choice. The only piece of information that points clearly to why Kemptville was selected? The available acreage will allow for expansion over time. As the CAPP representative said, “We need to ask ourselves, just how big could this prison eventually become?”.
The June 22 council meeting was recorded and can be found on North Grenville’s YouTube channel. The documents received through the Access to Information request can be found on CAPP’s website (www.cappkemptville.ca). I urge everyone to take the time to learn the facts.