Letter from NDP Corrections Critic Jennifer French to the Minister of Correctional Services
The following is an open letter from Ontario NDP Community Safety and Correctional Services Critic Jennifer French to the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services Yasir Naqvi on the government’s role in the crisis in corrections in Ontario.
Honourable Yasir Naqvi
Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services
18th Floor, George Drew Building
25 Grosvenor Street
Toronto, Ontario M7A 1Y6
January 8th, 2016
Dear Minister Naqvi,
After months of your government failing to reach an agreement, the deadline for a corrections contract is now mere hours away. If negotiations are unsuccessful, 6,000 Correctional Officers, Probation and Parole Officers, and Offender Transport Officers from across the province will be replaced by inexperienced managers that lack the training necessary to keep our jails and communities safe.
This is a recipe for disaster, and you have no one but yourself to blame.
Your government has caused a crisis in corrections by ignoring the issues that plague our correctional system, and a strike or lockout will only exacerbate an already critical situation.
Rather than acknowledging this, your ministry has spent money hand-over-fist preparing for a strike that they should have spent time and energy avoiding. This could have been put towards the overcrowding, understaffing, and crumbling infrastructure in our correctional facilities, or addressing the massive caseloads imposed on Probation and Parole Officers.
Ontarians have questions, and they deserve answers. They deserve to know why your government is playing chicken with our community safety by not reaching a deal. They deserve to know how much of their tax-dollars have been spent on strike preparations instead of addressing the systemic issues. They deserve to know where this money will come from, and what services will be lost as a result.
I ask that you show some transparency and respond promptly with the answers to these questions. It’s time for your government to stop ignoring the crisis in corrections, and start looking for solutions.
I look forward to your response.
Jennifer French, MPP
NDP Community Safety and Correctional Services Critic
cc: Deb Matthews, Deputy Premier of Ontario