Madeleine Meilleur apologizes for insulting comments, made while responding to questions regarding an incident at the Elgin Middleton Detention Centre, about correctional officers in the province.
Toronto (29 May 2013) – In the aftermath of an attack on a correctional officer at the Elgin Middleton Detention Centre (EMDC) Madeleine Meilleur, Ontario's Community Safety and Correctional Services minister, added insult to injury with inflammatory comments in the Ontario Legislature. She has since apologized for her comments (see full text of letter).
During Question Period Meilleur asked to know who at EMDC, and other provincial jails, are not doing their jobs.
“Who is not doing their job when there are drugs going into the facility? Who is not doing their job when there are knives going into the facility?”
She further went on to defend EMDC management by saying “only the best” are sent there.
Warren "Smokey" Thomas, President of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE) immediately demanded Meilleur apologize for her statements.
“That Minister Meilleur would have the gall to accuse correctional officers for safety problems in the facility just proves how out of her depth she is,” Thomas said.
“This jail has a long and documented history of dangerous overcrowding and understaffing, and the Minister blames the correctional officers?” Thomas said.
Province's guard angered by comments - prompts labour dispute at EMDC
Reaction to the Minister's comments by the province's guards was quick and angry resulting in a short labour dispute at EMDC.
Dan Sidsworth, OPSEU/NUPGE's corrections chair, said that he had “never been so offended by a minister.”
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE