Where I stand

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by Councillor John Barclay

It’s always good to go right to the source to get your information. The following are transcripts of two comments I made during the Council Meeting held on June 22, 2021.

They are part of the video public record.
[Starts – 01:19:47] Obviously, there are a couple of things I’d like to comment on, and I’ll try and be brief.

Issues of the Justice system and Indigenous rights are really beyond the purview of this Council. We all have our own personal feelings about the Justice system. Mine were formed during a 30-year career of producing educational resources, many of which dealt with social issues like the Justice system. So, I’m very well aware of the deficiencies of how we deal with offenders and how we treat victims of offences in the Province.

And Indigenous rights. Again, I think there’s very little that the Municipality can do other than symbolic gestures. We should really be putting pressure on the Federal government to make good on the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

So, as far as Victor … Victor, I’m surprised. You know, we had a fairly lengthy discussion after the March 23 Council meeting in which CAPP presented. I note that there are other people that I had one on one conversations with attending tonight. Marie-Therese, hello. I think in both of those conversations with Marie-Therese and Victor, I was quite clear that when I’m talking about jobs, I’m not talking about jobs that would be filled by residents.

I’m talking about employees of the correctional facility. From what I understand, the ratio is 2 to 3 employees per inmate. So, if we’re talking 235 beds, I think it’s rather conservative to say 500 employees will be coming into this community.

In speaking, a study might be warranted about the economic impact. I know it’s anecdotal and Victor you might discount it, but similarly, I would discount some of studies that have been touted out about facilities in upstate New York.

The American Justice system is very different from the Canadian Justice system. They have their problems; we have our problems, but they’re both distinct and unique.

So as Councillor O’Sullivan said, I welcome new programming and resources in terms of staff to help the residents of this facility to really turn their lives around.

But again, Victor, 500 or more people coming into this community during daylight hours when our local businesses are ready and willing to serve them – whether it’s food or gas or repairs or counselling, for example.

I think it’s a boon for small local businesses that have certainly struggled through Covid to remain open.

In terms of retention and expansion of those local businesses – that creates a lot of employment – 80% of jobs are created by small business in this community – I think it is obvious to me.

If you want to quantify some of my anecdotal information, you know, it remains to be seen. But I think I’m quite confident that business will be supported, that local businesses will be supported through the building of this facility.

[Starts – 00:38:27] My support for the correctional facility is really conditional on the continued dialogue with the Solicitor General aided by MPP Clark and having constructive positive conversations with them.

So that our investment in tourism, in the revitalization of downtown Kemptville, in our economic support for small business isn’t undermined. And so, it remains to be seen how whole-heartedly I would support the correctional facility.

It’s really conditional on going forward and how we resolve some of these concerns as they are expressed by the community.

Thank you.

The entire streamed video recording of Council Meeting #29 (and others) can be found on the Municipality of North Grenville’s YouTube channel (https://youtu.be/L32t1R00DlA)

I would encourage concerned citizens to watch the entire meeting in order to hear, unfiltered, what my Council colleagues also had to say that evening.

 

3 COMMENTS

  1. I agree with John that we do need an economic impact study to make an informed decision on where we stand on this. I continue to be surprised that one was not done…even though this is a “done deal”. What will be the economic impact on the tiny tax base of NG? Hopefully council can help us answer this question. Further to that, we have had to depend on information from the US justice system since Ontario is so tight lipped. Knowledge is power. How about sharing some knowledge so citizens can be empowered? Like why did the Ontario system recently do away with civilian oversight? And why do Municipalities that house prisons now have to pay for OPP visits to the provincial prisons? And how many inmates will be housed annually in NG (considering turnover)?

  2. I guess the council overlooked the untruths being told. The 500 jobs will not be people from Kemptville. On a zoom with Capp the government representative told us so. We were told we could expect grass cutting! Elizabeth Fry society says it’s the worst place for a prison. No bus service for visitors. Our hospital has said they are not equipped for a prison. We have none of the facilities that help prisoners but more importantly we as a community had no input! A large amount of this community does not want it. We are known as an agricultural area not a prison town. We are a small unequipped town and will fight this all the way. We don’t even meet the requirements set out by the Ford government to put a prison here !

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