McNeil adds voice to jail opposition

Darrell Cole
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HALIFAX - The provincial government is failing to uphold an election promise to Cumberland County residents by building a new jail outside the area, says Liberal leader Stephen McNeil.
"Going into the election campaign it was a very hot issue with everyone pledging to uphold the commitments of the previous government. There was a commitment made to build a correctional centre in Springhill," McNeil said during a recent conference call with provincial media.
McNeil said there was some suggestion at the time that the jail announcement in Springhill was politically motivated by Cumberland South MLA and former cabinet minister Murray Scott., but he said the commitment was made.
"The commitment had been made, the money was put in the budget and Darrell Dexter said he'd honour those commitments," McNeil said. "Following the election campaign he reneged on that and you can count on that correctional centre being built in Pictou County. Politicians should do after an election campaign what they promised during an election campaign and build that jail in Springhill."
McNeil echoed the concerns of municipal leaders in Cumberland saying the province needs to step back from what it's doing and live up to the promises it made during the election campaign.
"This is about politics, not economics," he said. "I don't want to give the impression that we're rolling in money, but I don't think we're in the dire financial situation they say we are."
Citing the province's perilous financial position and to respond to the needs of the correctional system, Justice Minister Ross Landry announced in December plans to build one centrally-located correctional centre between Truro and Antigonish instead of constructing new jails in Cumberland and Antigonish counties.
The minister said recently that the government's decision is final and an announcement on the favoured location of the new centre is expected soon.
The county's five municipal leaders have asked the minister to hold off on his decision until after an economic impact study is completed by the Cumberland Regional Economic Development Association. Landry has refused that request.

Organizations: Cumberland Regional Economic Development Association

Geographic location: Cumberland County, Springhill, HALIFAX Antigonish Pictou County

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Recent comments

  • Entertainment
    February 24, 2010 - 23:46

    The decisions by our NDP gov shows a complete lack of leadership and inexperienced MLA's.
    To make a decision such as this, one would expect the government to study the economic impact it would have. But for some reason (politics) our gov (Ross Landry) is refusing just that. This only makes me wonder what if anything he is trying to hide.
    So far for this issue, Landry and Dexter have told us that this project was lacking an official agreement. But that has been proven not true. There was and is a signed agreement. Next they told us that the project was not budgeted for. But long behold that was also proven false. During all this we were told the NDP plan was identical in terms of bed space to the previous plan. But some quick math shows the NDP plan is actually 100 beds shy. And did anyone notice that the 50 bed jail announced for Springhill was at a cost of 18 million. Onced this one cancelled one would think we would be saving 18 million right?? But our NDP gov is telling us by not building a jail in Springhill we will save 5 million. What??? How do they come up with thier numbers??? I say time for the NDP to get a abacus.
    If this is the type of accounting we can expect from them for the next 4 years, lord help us.
    Anyways enough ranting for now. Please take the time and conduct an economic impact. Do we deserve less??

  • WTH?
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    The NDPs say their plan to build one facility outside of Cumberland County is a better plan then why worry about what the CREDA study says?

    They don't want to see any study done because it won't back up their claim that this is a better plan.

    Any time you amalgamate services like combining two jails or school boards or even municipalities you end up with soaring operational costs, higher mileage expenses, etc.

    At the end of the day it doesn't cost one penny less, but certainly causes a whole lot more red tape and inconvenience.