At the press conference on April 19, 2012, where Public Safety Minister Vic Toews announced the closure of Kingston Penitentiary, the Regional Treatment Centre and Leclerc institution, he said that this action would result in savings of $120 million per year. I’ve gone back to the Public Accounts of Canada, which is an annual report on the financial transactions of the Government of Canada, prepared each year by the Receiver General. I’ve found that this figure corresponds roughly with the combined annual budgets in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2011 of the three institutions slated to be closed.
But the true savings can only be a fraction of the amount claimed by Minister Toews.
The claimed savings of $120 million must be reduced by the expense of holding the approximately 1000 inmates elsewhere. 500 of these inmates are maximum security. 140 of these are patients with a mental illness. It is expensive to house these inmates.
I challenge Minister Toews to retract his claim of $120 million per year of savings, to tell Canadian taxpayers and displaced Corrections workers what the true net savings will be, and to let us know what his department’s plan is to actually achieve these savings.
Here is the transcript from Hansard at around 14:58, April 24, 2012:
Mr. Ted Hsu (Kingston and the Islands, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the government said that by closing Kingston Pen, the regional treatment centre and the Leclair Institution, we would save $120 million per year. Public Accounts Canada 2011 says this is just the combined annual budget of the three institutions, but the true savings can only be a fraction of that. The $120 million must be reduced by the total expense of holding the 1,000 inmates elsewhere.
Could the minister inform us how much it will cost to hold these 1,000 inmates elsewhere, and what is the true net savings to Canadian taxpayers?
Hon. Vic Toews (Minister of Public Safety, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I am advised by the department that the true net savings is $120 million a year.