WINNIPEG - Government documents show the Pallister Government planned to close the Dauphin Correctional Centre well before last year's provincial election, but withheld the information from the public.
A Freedom of Information request by the Manitoba Liberals revealed a number of documents on the future of the jail - including plans for a new facility and briefing notes for the Minister of Justice and the Premier, showing the PCs planned to shutter the facility more than a year before it was announced.
The first briefing note recommending a shutdown is from November 28, 2018. Premier Brian Pallister received a similar briefing note on the jail on January 15, 2019, and a third briefing note updated the Minister of Justice on March 11, 2019.
The Dauphin Correctional Centre is the largest employer in the Parkland region.
Manitoba Liberals are calling for the Dauphin Correctional Centre closure to be suspended, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, and for a new corrections, addictions and healing centre to be built instead. The previous NDP Government promised a new facility, but it was never built.
"There is no way the government should be moving ahead with a jail closure and relocating inmates and staff during a pandemic," said Dougald Lamont, Manitoba Liberal Leader and MLA for St. Boniface. "We also have to ask how many other plans for cuts and closures the PCs have up their sleeve that they are withholding from Manitobans."
Lamont said the PCs have been misleading Manitobans about their agenda - continually implying investments and spending, but delivering cuts and closures instead.
"We keep hearing from people that if the PCs were honest about their agenda, people wouldn't have voted for them. Pallister knew all along he was going to close the Dauphin Correctional Centre before the election," said Lamont.
You can view the full documents here.