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Friday, April 29, 2011

Less Hope for Jails

Regional | by John Divinski  

OPSEU says its battle to keep Owen Sound, Walkerton jails open 'doesn't look good.'

"It doesn't look good."

It's a quote from two Ontario Public Service Employees Union leaders in regards to the pending closures of the Walkerton and Owen Sound jails.

About a dozen union members paraded outside of Huron Bruce MPP Carol Mitchell's office in Kincardine on Friday, but Mitchell was a no-show.

However, she did meet with some members at her Clinton office.

The President of Local 225 OPSEU representing Walkerton jail workers, Gerry Hope, says they were somewhat frustrated with their meeting with Mitchell.

He says Mitchell indicated ministry officials have told her this is how it's going to be but she said she would go back and talk to them again.

However, Hope says he had the sense the closing of the jails is a done deal and won't be reversed without huge pressure on the government.

Meanwhile, Paul Johnstone, president of OPSEU says the closures will have  a huge economic impact in Walkerton and Owen Sound.

In total there are 95 employees at both jails and the economic impact of having those jobs moved from both communities will total over six million dollars.

Johnstone says the jails escaped closure by the Mike Harris Progressive Conservative government in 1996, but this time he has a feeling the Liberals are pretty serious about shutting down the two jails.


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