Letter to the Editor – Correctional Facility

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Dear Editor,

re: Ontario Liberals call for moratorium on prison – Times, March 16

I am pleased to see that the Ontario Liberal Party is calling for a pause on the Kemptville prison construction. As CAPP and JOG (and many residents) have been saying all along, the decision to build the prison was rushed and has very little, if any, solid evidence to support it being built anywhere, let alone in Kemptville. How do we know there is no solid evidence? The Ontario government refuses to provide any supporting documentation that details a benefit; not one document, study, or data. Infrastructure Ontario has said the proposed prison will cost up to $499 million to design, build, and finance. This price tag doesn’t include the associated operational costs estimated to be $17.6M – $40M annually (source – 2019 Ontario Auditor General report). If built and filled to capacity, all Ontario taxpayers will be on the hook for that estimated $48,000 – $109,000 per day simply to operate the facility.

I wish the Ontario Liberals luck in getting access to any relevant documentation regarding the site selection and due diligence activities. I filed a Freedom of Information request for site selection details with the Ontario government in November 2020. Six months later, I was sent 14 pages (including the cover letter) of minimal information, with 135 pages of redacted documents. The appeal of that (non) release has been ongoing with no resolution in sight 16 months later. The Ministry of the Solicitor General can’t even muster up an explanation for the delay, never mind a response. Where is the promised openness and transparency?  

Don’t you think we should have all the relevant information prior to a decision being made? 

Regards
Lisa Gallant
Kemptville

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