"Lockdowns are routine and not the exception. Regrettably, there have been incidents of violence. I wanted her to join me to see first-hand the pitiful state of affairs inside that facility.” — Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President
Toronto (04 Feb. 2016) — Despite her commitment three weeks ago to join Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE) on a tour of Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre, Deb Matthews, MPP for London North Centre and deputy premier, has backed away from that promise.
Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre in Minister's riding
“Deb Matthews’s office contacted my office in early January to say she was ready to join me on a tour of the detention centre in her city,” Thomas said today. “But despite repeated outreach by my staff to hers, it’s become clear she never had any intention to do so."
“That’s a shame because Elgin-Middlesex has been plagued by operational issues of overcrowding and understaffing for years. Lockdowns are routine and not the exception. Regrettably, there have been incidents of violence. I wanted her to join me to see first-hand the pitiful state of affairs inside that facility.”
Matthews accepts tour invitation, then declines
Without citing a reason, Matthews turned down an invitation from Thomas to tour Elgin-Middlesex with him on December 18. “That’s why we were pleasantly encouraged when she reversed herself in January by indicating she now wanted to visit the jail,” said Thomas.
As president of the treasury board, Matthews has the authority to recommend to cabinet emergency funding when a crisis occurs in the province. OPSEU/NUPGE has called for the government to spend $100 million to meet the crisis in correctional services.
Thomas said his invitation to Matthews is a standing one and that he would welcome the opportunity for her to join him on a future visit to Elgin-Middlesex.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 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