Question Period Highlight – Fire at Cape Breton Correctional Facility

October 28, 2014

Your NDP MLAs are hard at work in the legislature this fall, holding the government to account during Question Period on a number of key issues, including job loses since Stephen McNeil became Premier, and how the Liberals’ health board amalgamation distraction is causing their government to take their eye off what really matters – front line care. Here is a question NDP MLA Frank Corbett asked Liberal Justice Minister Lena Diab about a fire at CB correctional.

FRANK CORBETT: Last week a fire at the Cape Breton Correctional Centre facility sent four employees to hospital for smoke inhalation and 28 inmates were evacuated from three different areas of the jail. One employee says the situation could have produced fatal results.

How serious an incident does she consider this situation to be that I have just described?

LENA DIAB: Mr. Speaker, thank you very much to my colleague for that very important question. Any incident that puts the safety of our staff or offenders at risk we consider to be very serious.

FRANK CORBETT: Again to the Minister of Justice, according to her own department, serious incidents, including purposeful damage to correctional facilities, as well as major disruptions and disturbances require emergency police services to respond. Now the police did respond in this case as a matter of fact, as did other emergency vehicles, and long before her time, Mr. Speaker, there was also an incident at that same facility where when first responders did respond to an incident there, they were held hostage.

So I want to ask the minister, it has been a week since this incident took place, the Department of Justice major incidents updates webpage continues not to mention it. So through you, Mr. Speaker, if this government is supposed to be so transparent, why is this minister not posting details of this incident for the public?

LENA DIAB: Mr. Speaker, again I appreciate the question from the honourable member. We are conducting an internal investigation. As well, the Cape Breton police are also conducting their own investigation. I can tell the honourable members there were no offenders injured. There were four staff who had smoke inhalation and went to the hospital, but they were not admitted at all.