Come clean on jail decision: Scott

Darrell Cole
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MLA has document proving commitment to Springhill

HALIFAX - It's time for Premier Darrell Dexter to stop misleading Nova Scotians over his government's decision not to build a new jail in Springhill, says Cumberland County's only Conservative MLA.

Murray Scott says he has the evidence proving the previous government's commitment to build a new $18-million jail in Springhill was in the budget and he wants Dexter to follow through with that pledge.

The Cumberland South said he has a Department of Transportation document that shows money was allocated by the previous government for the proposed North Nova Correctional Centre he announced last April.

"Throughout this ordeal, with everything the people of Cumberland County have been through over this issue, the Department of Transportation has finally provided the document that contradicts the premier's comments," Scott said Wednesday. "This rock solid evidence proves that our government had the money in place to build that facility and that the premier misled the people of Cumberland County and for that matter, all Nova Scotians."

The document obtained by Scott through Freedom of Information, indicates $6 million was allocated for the 2009-10 fiscal year and $12 million in the 2010-11 to build the jail in Springhill.

The document also shows $36 million was budgeted for a 200-bed jail in Antigonish.

In early December, Justice Minister Ross Landry announced one 100-cell, $31.3-million jail would be build in northern Nova Scotia and that Cumberland County is out of the mix.

After being questioned by Scott, the premier said his claims on the jail were political in nature and said no money had been committed in the budget for the jail.

The Conservative budget never made it the legislature as the government fell on another financial measure before it was presented.

Scott said the premier promised during last summer's election campaign that his government would honour commitments made by the Conservative government, but denied that commitment was made soon after taking power.

"I have put a lot effort over the last couple of months trying to show this was a firm commitment made by the previous government to the Town of Springhill," Scott said. "The premier is telling Nova Scotians that there was no such commitment so he wouldn't have to honour what he said during the election campaign. The document proves there was a commitment and now it's up to him to honour what he said and to come good on it."

Also, while the premier is claiming building one facility will save money, Scott said the other part of the story is the new facility will only be two-thirds the size of the two jails proposed for Springhill and Antigonish.

"We were talking about a capacity for 300 inmates in the two facilities. The one they're building only has the capacity for 200 inmates," Scott said. "It's a smaller size so of course it will be cheaper."

Scott also wants to know if the Dexter government explored the potential sharing of services with the federal institution in Springhill or the cost-savings that would be generated through the use of geothermal energy.

"He talks about me making a political statement, but now we have the truth and the commitment was made," said Scott. "It's time for him to stop talking about other people's assertions and honour this commitment."

Scott said it's not too late to turn back.

"We acquired the land, surveyed it and transferred it into the province's name. We had all the site design done, made the announcements and got ready to get work started. It was 99 per cent complete and ready for bulldozers. If this government could stop that it's never too late," Scott said.

Organizations: Department of Transportation

Geographic location: Springhill, Cumberland County, Nova Scotians HALIFAX Antigonish Cumberland South Northern Nova Scotia

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Recent comments

  • Blind
    February 24, 2010 - 23:46

    Panic Button if you only knew the how wrong your statement truly is!
    Of course Murray hs been fighting for years for his riding thats what good MLA do for their ridings.
    Truth be told, Cumberland had to come up with a plan in order to keep the jail in cumberland county. One of the major issues at that time was cost. Murray took it upon himself to come up with a business plan that if you had seen it, you would agree it far out weighs any others.
    As for Dexters honesty, if you can't honestly see how his party is misleading NS than it doesn't surprise you voted for him.
    Casey is a man that stood up for his home province, and suffered for it. Many people respected him for it and will always remember what he did.
    MLA's not only have a responsibility to their ridings, but they have a responsibility to this province. NDP MLA's clearly have forgotten this and in 4 years time this province will be crippled by their mis-management!

  • Steve
    February 24, 2010 - 23:46


    All this really proves is, that you lied. Shortly before the announcement was made In this newspaper, you were quoted several times as saying that *no decision has been made* regarding the placement of the new jail. This new evidence clearly shows that you were misleading the public. The Premier was right to re-visit this decision. The fact that you have evidence of you and your party's' deceit, only proves your collective dishonesty.
    All IMHO as always.

  • Rick
    February 24, 2010 - 23:46

    It's to bad that the jail is not being built in Cumberland but perhaps the real fault is all the local infighting about location. Construction could have started before the election otherwise. I think Dexter is an honorable man who is trying to do the best the people of NS not just his own party or self interests like we always had.

  • vince
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    I am guilty. I voted for the NDP with the hope that they would be different. I can safely say that I was mistaken, however am not sure what the alternative vote would have been. Would the Liberals do a better job, or should we have returned the Tories, these are questions that I do not have an answer for. Let us hope and pray that better things are in store for us. I honestly do not think that Scott Armstrong will do much in Ottawa as he does not have a cabinet post at this time. We will have to one again (wait and see). Thank You

  • kim
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Maybe Mr. Scott should release this document so that we are all privy to it!

  • 4 years of NDP Hell
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Dexter, Dexter, lied to us, like that was no surprise coming. NDP was no different in Manitoba and Ontario. What were most of you thinking when you voted NDP? made the bed, now what.

    Murray Scott..your doing a wonderful job, too bad the Dexter robots don't see it this way.

  • Panic
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    During the 99 election Mc Scott in the Springhill Vocational candidates debate claimed the Burnside jail could and should be built in Springhill . The Liberal and NDP candidates honestly told the people that Murray's promises made economic nonsense . The tories won a majority , the Halifax area jail was built in Burnside not Springhill and not a wimper from Murray . Mr Scott claimed right up to the PC announcement that all areas in Cumberland were in consideration for the Cumberland jail . Lately he claims he has been working for years to get the jail for Springhill . He was the most powerful PC member in Cumberland and obviously working against Amherst . Essentially due to Meddling Murray the Cumb co. area will loose their jail and their justice infrastructure system will move out due to attrition . A centralized jail for Northern NS is clearly the best solution . Murray is calling into question the honesty of my MLA D Dexter . Who is the dishonest one here ??? Murray is carring on lately like Casey and Fage during their burnouts . It will take more than one election and several years to repair the damage those two did to the area . Murray's B.S. of late will add to that healing time frame !!!!!! IMHO