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August 10, 2001
Tories slammed for reneging on Thunder Bay
The Ontario government has come under fire this week for
allegedly reneging on plans to expand the Thunder Bay Correctional Centre.
Liberal MPP Michael Gravelle says that the expansion of the Thunder Bay
Correctional Centre that was announced twice last year has been put on the back
burner by the “bully” politics of the Mike Harris government.
“Frankly, I find the government’s behaviour related to
this vital community facility deeply offensive,” Gravelle said in a press
release on August 7. “Essentially, they’re threatening the municipality -
either support a privately run institution or we’ll take away a $20 million
Gravelle’s comments come after a series of letters
between Corrections Minister Rob Sampson, Thunder Bay Mayor Ken Boshcoff and
himself, and after a phone call Gravelle had with a senior official from the
Minister’s office. In a July 13th letter to Gravelle, Sampson wrote: “Any
municipality interested in hosting a correctional facility must be open to the
idea of a privately-owned or privately-operated facility.” A subsequent phone
call to the Minister’s Executive Assistant by Gravelle could elicit no
guarantees that the project would be given the go-ahead unless Thunder Bay City
Council rescinded its March resolution opposing the privatization of
“It’s not difficult to read between the lines,” said
Gravelle. “This is a government that is quite willing to play hard-ball and
they do not like any municipality taking a negative position on a policy
decision they have taken.”
Gravelle is calling on Minister Sampson to publicly
clarify his position on this urgent matter. If the Minister does not respond,
Gravelle intends to pursue this aggressively once the Legislature returns in
Escape leaves officer injured
A meticulously planned escape from the Toronto West
Detention Centre this week has left one correctional officer injured and police
searching for the inmate.
The inmate was being transported to hospital for stitches
to a head wound when the escape occurred. It is reported that the inmate was
being walked into the hospital when he bent down, complaining that his leg
shackles were too tight. The inmate freed one shackle, then ran and dove into
the window of a van that had sped into the parking lot.
One officer sustained injuries when he tried to prevent
the escape. He was knocked down when the driver of the van fled, and suffered
severe injuries to his elbow during the fall.
The inmate planned his flight in great detail. Earlier
that day, the inmate released all of his personal property to an acquaintance.
The inmate was being held awaiting deportation to the U.S.
after escaping from an American prison. The inmate had served two years of a
It is doubtless that many questions will be raised
regarding this incident, like why an inmate with this kind of history was sent
out with only two officers. The results of the escape on the welfare of the two
officers could have been much worse.
Get out and support these members
Members of Local 361 (Kennedy House Youth Services in
Uxbridge), who have been locked out by their employer for seven weeks, are
holding a demonstration at Kennedy House head office in Scarborough on Monday,
August 13 at 10 a.m.
Barry Scanlon, chair of the OPSEU Corrections Ministry
Employee Relations Committee, urges ANY member who is available that day to get
out and join these members at the protest.
“The members of Local 361 are living proof of what can
happen when dealing with a greedy, callous, private employer,” Scanlon said.
“Every correctional officer in the province should be giving support to these
members. What is happening to them could be the future for us. They need a lot
of bodies out there on Monday to make as much noise as possible.”
Kennedy House head office is located at 10 Milner Business
Court in Scarborough. OPSEU president Leah Casselman and Ethel LaValley,
vice-president of the Ontario Federation of Labour will also be in attendance.
For more information, contact Pat Schillemore at (905)
Get your resumes in
Are you ready for a career change? Think you have what it
takes to be one of the highest paid employees in the public service? Are you
able to elbow other senior bureaucrats aside at the trough? Then the Ministry of
Correctional Services wants you!
The Ontario government’s July 27 issue of Job Mart
has a position that we are sure any experienced correctional officer could
perform. Namely, the Ministry wants a Contract Compliance Manager (“monitor”)
for their new privately run superjail.
If you ignore all of the fancy qualification descriptions
(e.g. “proven change-leadership / project-management experience) what this job
boils down to is ensuring that Management and Training Corporation doesn’t
According to the posting, there are no education
requirements and no restrictions. You may have to carry a beeper in case a
problem erupts after business hours (and we know THAT never happens) and MTC
wants to tattle on themselves. The best part? This so-called watchdog position
pays $85,439. Please take a few moments to pick your jaw up off the floor.
We encourage every member to send in his or her resume.
Send to: File C-9049, Ministry of Correctional Services, Human Resources Branch,
25 Grosvenor St., 16th Floor, Toronto, ON M7A 1Y6 or fax to (416) 327-8807. The
deadline is August 13.
Do you want fries with that?
It has been reported this week that correctional managers
at the Toronto West Detention Centre have been hard at work…in the kitchen.
Allegedly, inmate unrest at the institution has prevented inmates from assisting
in the preparation of meals in the kitchen. The managers have jumped in to fill
the gap, cooking meals and doing dishes.
The menu plan hasn’t been that great (one meal only
consisted of white rice and a Jamaican patty) but we’re sure that things will
improve as the managers gain experience.
The cynics among us could assume that the managers are
boning up for new careers. Regardless, it’s one more skill they can add to
their resumes when it comes time to downsize.
One more municipality opposing privatized jails was added
this week, bringing the total to 259.
The Municipality of Tarbutt & Tarbutt Additional
(southeast of Sault Ste. Marie) has lodged its support for public correctional
services. This also brings the Resolution Warrior’s personal municipality
total to 190.
Congratulations to Len Mason of Local 737 (Thunder Bay
Jail), for patiently continuing his quest.
For campaign information, call Don Ford (ext. 442) or
Pam Doig (ext. 687) at 1-800-268-7376 or (416) firstname.lastname@example.org
Ontario Public Service Employees Unionwww.opseu.org
100 Lesmill Road, Toronto, Ontario M3B 3P8
Original authorized for distribution by Leah Casselman,
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