Where I Stand – Part Two

(Published in the NG Times, Aug, 31, 2022)

Dear Editor

Re: Solicitor Generals’ Office comments on Judicial Review request (August 25, 2022)

In your article you write, “The statement by the SOLGEN’s office is in keeping with much of the information coming from that source over the past couple of years, in that it says little or nothing, and adds nothing to the issue.”

I couldn’t agree more.

On August 16, the day after the announcement of a Judicial Review, the Mayor, Council and staff had a meeting with the new Solicitor General during the Association of Municipalities of Ontario Conference in Ottawa. We were there to once again convey the concerns of residents and press for answers on key issues. Over the past two years, the Mayor has made public the correspondence between the Municipality and the Solicitor General’s Office; now all of Council was there to press in person. Where was the Ministry regarding our desire to have the surplus lands transferred to the Municipality and could they confirm that any costs related to the EOCC including policing costs, would be borne by the Province and not North Grenville. Platitudes and reassuring noises were made but we left the meeting with nothing of substance.

The situation is very frustrating and could be disheartening if Mayor Peckford wasn’t such a fighter. I know we will continue to press our case. It’s obvious, at least to me, that the Province knows it holds all of the cards; that it doesn’t have to respond with any urgency to our questions. They can simply wait it out. We are after all just a lower-tier rural municipality of less than 18,000 souls.

Last year during a special Council meeting held on June 22, 2021, I was very clear about where I stood regarding the construction of the Eastern Ontario Correctional Centre: “My support for the correctional facility is really conditional on the continued dialogue with the Solicitor General aided by MPP Clark, and having constructive positive conversations with them. (https://ngtimes.ca/where-i-stand/)

I still won’t oppose the construction of the jail, as I believe there will be benefits to the community in the short and long term. However, I am extremely disappointed in the lack of a constructive meaningful dialogue with the Solicitor General’s Office, and with the inability of our local MPP, Steve Clark, to make progress on this file.

John Barclay

Councillor, North Grenville