Evidence of meeting #43 for Public Safety and National Security in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was million.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Don Head  Commissioner, Correctional Service of Canada
  • Bob Paulson  Commissioner, Royal Canadian Mounted Police
  • Graham Flack  Associate Deputy Minister, Department of Public Safety

4:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Kevin Sorenson

Thank you, Mr. Minister.

We'll now move back to the opposition side.

Mr. Rafferty, please, for five minutes.

May 31st, 2012 / 4:20 p.m.

NDP

John Rafferty Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

Thank you very much, Chair.

Thank you, everyone, for being here.

Originally, Mr. Chair, I had questions about Border Services, and I may have an opportunity to do that. But what I am most concerned about, listening to the testimony here today, is that we're not getting any answers on the Regional Treatment Centre, and I want to concentrate on that with Commissioner Head.

I'm sure, Commissioner, you'll agree with me that the physical space the Regional Treatment Centre has is not suitable; it doesn't work any more within the Kingston Penitentiary. One of the things that struck me about the Regional Treatment Centre and all the staff at Kingston Penitentiary was the pride they take in their work; they do it so well. I'm sure you'll agree with me that they do a wonderful job.

The treatment centre doesn't just deal with issues as they arise, but they do wonderful work in preparing patients to return to the general population. We really didn't get any answers, and I'm concerned about a comment the minister made about keeping on as many staff as possible.

I'm sure you have plans for the Regional Treatment Centre, Commissioner. Can you tell us if you intend to keep the centre and the staff as an entity when it does move? You'll probably agree with me that it should be expanded, but I'm not asking that. Will it remain as an entity and be put in suitable quarters to ensure the staff can continue the good work they've been doing?

4:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Kevin Sorenson

Thank you, Mr. Rafferty.

Mr. Commissioner, please.

4:20 p.m.

Conservative

Vic Toews Provencher, MB

Yes, I think the Commissioner has the background.

4:20 p.m.

Commissioner, Correctional Service of Canada

Don Head

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I agree with the comments that have been made that the staff at the Regional Treatment Centre.... Overall I agree that all my staff are the best correctional service staff in the world, and I have no problem making that statement and no problem backing it up. The staff at the Regional Treatment Centre are equally as exceptional in comparison to any of the provincially based treatment facilities you would find in the country or in North America.

Absolutely, I agree the space they're working in is outdated. We're talking 1905 space. It's not conducive to the best mental health care for those inmates.

As we go forward, our plan is to look at how we keep the Regional Treatment Centre entity together so that we can continue to try to provide the best mental health care we can, given the mandate we have under our legislation. We have to look at the available space. We're working through a few options at this moment. I wouldn't want to declare them right now because we have to work out a few details, and then we have to talk about the staff implications, and those are discussions that are best for us to have with the unions.

4:25 p.m.

NDP

John Rafferty Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

Thank you, Commissioner, for being clear.

Let me just go to Leclerc for a second; there's a hospital there. What would you say about the hospital at Leclerc?

4:25 p.m.

Commissioner, Correctional Service of Canada

Don Head

As the minister has pointed out, the facilities that are closing are not at the upper end of the scale. These are facilities that are not effective, not efficient, and were built in a different era for a different purpose. We're going to look at how we use the new cells that are coming online in the best way we can. All this is being taken into account in relation to our planning of the placement of offenders.

4:25 p.m.

NDP

John Rafferty Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

Let me just be entirely clear, then, Commissioner. If I understood you correctly, you wish to keep the Regional Treatment Centre together as an entity in a new facility so they can do their job to the best of their ability.

4:25 p.m.

Commissioner, Correctional Service of Canada

Don Head

It's my desire to keep the Regional Treatment Centre entity together. What actual space they go into.... We'll have to make some modifications to any space we move them into. For example, a negative pressure room—we'll probably have to build or modify cells, but the plan is to keep that entity together.

4:25 p.m.

NDP

John Rafferty Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

After visiting that centre and Kingston Penitentiary, if you can do that, if that is your desire, I think that is a worthy goal in this particular exercise. To not have patients in cells that are 177 years old is a good way to increase the treatment.

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Kevin Sorenson

You have about 10 seconds.

4:25 p.m.

NDP

John Rafferty Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

What it will also do, if you go down that road, Commissioner, is ensure that the Regional Treatment Centre stays accredited, because they are on the line now, where they are in this particular facility. So I hope you will continue down that road.

4:25 p.m.

Commissioner, Correctional Service of Canada

Don Head

The short answer about accreditation is yes.

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Kevin Sorenson

Thank you, Mr. Rafferty, and thank you, Commissioner.

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Vic Toews Provencher, MB

Could I have a very brief minute?