Should I have to resort to Twitter to get an answer for my constituents?

Yesterday, after getting the same story from two independent sources inside Correctional Services Canada (CSC), and no story from CSC officials who were not allowed to talk to me (they passed me on to the media relations people, who passed me on to the Public Safety Ministry, who didn’t return my call), I tweeted that the Regional Staff College at Kingston was closing and moving training to Regina. This turned out to be only partially true. The training of new recruits is moving to Regina, but there will be enhanced training of existing employees in Kingston and, fortunately, there will be no job losses.

We only know this because, after my tweet, the Minister of Public Safety tweeted back, and then later in the day, CSC media relations put out a statement.

I’m sending out this message today:

While I was only able to get part of the story from my contacts inside Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) about the future of the Regional Staff College (the part about the training of recruits moving to Regina), the real culprit of the story is the current government’s communications policy which does not allow an MP, elected to represent Canadian voters and taxpayers, to get answers to his questions about government decisions that affect his constituents. Without my tweet, the information may never have been released because neither CSC nor the Public safety Ministry were willing to answer my questions.

To help your MP do his job and keep tabs on our ministers in Ottawa, please call on the Harper government to be less secretive!

Is it bad that I did not get all the facts right? Yes, but the way I look at it, like in hockey, if you are unwilling to take the chance that you might get a penalty, you’re not working hard enough, you won’t get the puck, and you won’t get the job done!

Here is some documentation of this incident:

Tweets:

Ted Hsu@tedhsu

CSC Regional Staff College to close, go to Regina RCMP site, 24 staff jobs, CSC mum, but confirmed from 2 indpndt sources, cost?? #ygk

 

Ted Hsu@tedhsu

CSC Regional Staff College to close, after $12m spent on new building, going to Regina, new training cell block to be built there #ygk

 

Vic Toews@ToewsVic

Wrong @tedhsu training at RSC will be enhanced, with additional training at Depot.  Can categorically say RSC will not be closed #cdnpoli

 

Ted Hsu@tedhsu

@ToewsVic Thank you minister, that’s great to hear, and now I know how to get an answer from a minister – tweet! #ygk

 

Ted Hsu@tedhsu

@ToewsVic Thank you minister! Hey everybody: twitter is better than Question Period for getting actual answers #cdnpoli #ygk #lpc

 

News story on CKWS TV News:

http://www.ckwstv.com/news/kingston/story.aspx?ID=1803388

 

Article in the Kingston Whig Standard:

http://www.thewhig.com/2012/10/31/mps-tweet-shot-down-by-minister

 

Statement released later in the day by Correctional Service Canada:

This is to confirm that the Correctional Service of Canada’s (CSC) Regional Staff College in Kingston, Ontario isnot closing but in fact will be expanding its level of training service to the Ontario Region. 

Although the correctional officer recruit training program, currently delivered in the Ontario Regional Staff College and at other CSC training facilities in other regions, will be centralized and delivered in partnership with the RCMP at their recruit training facility in Regina, all other training currently conducted at the Regional Staff College will continue. 

The planned centralization of the correctional officer recruit training program in Regina is the product of an innovative partnership with the RCMP, one of CSC’s Public Safety partners.

The decision to centralize CSC’s correctional officer recruit training program in Regina will also allow the Ontario Regional Staff College to expand its training service to the Ontario region and become the central facility to provide annual requalification training to existing Correctional Officers located in numerous institutions within the Kingston area. This training will be conducted in a regionally-coordinated fashion managed by the Ontario Regional Staff College, as opposed to the current decentralized institutional model. The additional training to be conducted at the Ontario Regional Staff College will result in an increase in the utilization of the college and result in additional training staff working out of the Ontario Regional Staff College.

The correctional officer recruit training program will continue to be delivered out of the regional staff colleges until approximately Spring/Summer 2014. However, some training may be delivered in Regina in the interim as well.

There are no job losses as a result of this plan. Staff at the Ontario Regional Staff College will have the opportunity to relocate to Regina or could remain in Kingston to continue to work as instructors. However, instead of working with new recruits, they will work with Correctional Officers from the region and provide the ongoing training that Correctional Officers are required to complete in accordance with CSC’s National Training Standards.

Thanks,

Christa McGregor

Senior Media Relations Advisor | Conseillère principale en relations avec les médias

Communications and Engagement | Communications et Engagement

Correctional Service Canada | Service correctionnel Canada

Ottawa, ON          NHQ | AC

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