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Jan 07, 2000

Tory MPP gets "whacked and stacked"

"You lied!"

Simcoe North MPP Garfield Dunlop’s ears must still be ringing after what he went through last night.

That’s when furious citizens of Penetanguishene and Midland finally got a chance to tell their local MPP what they thought of plans for a privately-run superjail in their community.

They weren’t shy about it. They told Dunlop to forget it. They said they would not accept a private jail under any circumstances. They told him to take that message back to Queen’s Park. And they told him to send Corrections Minister Rob Sampson to Penetanguishene for a little talk.

About 110 people packed Council Chambers to blast Dunlop for the flip-flop. Many people were turned away from the special meeting of the Jail Liaison Committee, which went three hours as people had their say.

One of the final comments of the evening came from one councillor who brought the crowd to its feet.

"We will not tolerate a private jail in our town," she told Dunlop. "It will not end here tonight. If the government will not change its mind, we will take extreme action to prevent a private jail coming here."

CBC-TV and CKVR-TV sent cameras, and local newspaper and radio reporters were out in force.

Public interest in the Penetanguishene area has been in part sparked by the ongoing efforts of members at the Barrie Jail, led by Local 313 vice-president Tim Mulhall. These members have spent their free time promoting the community liaison meetings, leafletting till their feet were sore.

The Local 313 members at the Thursday night meeting were joined by Local 617 president Larry McGregor, vice-president Denis Leger, and secretary-treasurer Marnee Campbell, who drove in from the Sudbury Jail for the meeting. Also on hand were Barry Scanlon and Dave Graves from the OPSEU Ministry Employee Relations Committee; Bill Playter and Al Donaldson, from the Oak Ridge Division of the Mental Health Centre at Penetanguishene; and Local 309 president Larry Cripps (Lindsay Jail).

"Dunlop was terribly ill-prepared," said Barry Scanlon. "He knew that he supported the government’s plan to privatize, but he didn’t seem to know why. He didn’t know how much it would cost to run the superjail, even though he insisted it would save money. He refused to answer questions about how free trade would make it almost impossible to unprivatize a private jail."

Lindsay to go private, too?

For the second time in two months, Garfield Dunlop stated that the government is considering making the Lindsay superjail private as well.

When asked why the Lindsay facility was not going to be private, Dunlop said, "It may well be."

Local 309 president Larry Cripps is looking for Lindsay MPP (and Management Board Chair) Chris Hodgson to get the facts.

"We have to be able to flush them out," said Cripps, "but Chris has gone underground."

Of course, what Hodgson says may or may not be the full story.

Acting managers continue to step down

In December, the Corrections Division Ministry Employee Relations Committee asked all members in acting management positions to step down to send a clear message to the employer that privatization and the elimination of positions were unacceptable.

Once again, Quinte Detention Centre led the way with an extreme show of solidarity and support for their union. Other institutions quickly came on line.

The following is a list of the status of the institutions involved.

 ***IMPORTANT*** This information is as it has been relayed to the MERC team. Any errors in the listing should be immediately reported to Don Ford, OPSEU head office, at 1-800-268-7376 ext. 356.

Institutions where acting managers have stepped down

Sarnia Jail
Peterborough Jail
Lindsay Jail
Quinte D.C.
Mimico C.C.
Sault Ste. Marie Jail
Sudbury Jail
Monteith Complex
Thunder Bay C.C.
Fort Francis Jail
Cecil Facer Youth Centre
Elgin-Middlesex D.C.
Waterloo D.C.

Institutions where acting managers have yet to step down

Stratford Jail *
Bluewater Youth Centre
Chatham Jail *
Windsor Jai
Owen Sound Jail
Walkerton Jail
Ontario Correctional Institute
Guelph C.C.
Barrie Jail
Millbrook C.C.
Whitby Jail
Rideau C.T.C.
Toronto West D.C.
Toronto East D.C.
Toronto Jail
North Bay Jail
Northern Treatment Centre
Thunder Bay Jail

* some managers have stepped down

Status not known

Maplehurst Complex
Hamilton Wentworth D.C.
Niagara D.C.
Vanier Centre for Women
Parry Sound Jail
Brookside Youth Centre
Ottawa-Carleton D.C.
Pembroke Jail
Cornwall Jail
Kenora Jail

Did not have acting managers

Burtch C.C.
Brantford Jail
Wellington D.C.
Brockville Jail

We encourage participating locals to contact the non-participants to emphasize the importance of this action.

For campaign information, contact Don Ford at 1-800-268-7376 ext. 356 or (416) 443-8888 ext. 356.

Ontario Public Service Employees Union
100 Lesmill Road
Toronto, Ontario M3B 3P8

Original authorized for distribution by Leah Casselman, President.