Ontario PC leader calls on attorney general to resign after Global News investigation
Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown is calling for the resignation of Attorney General and former minister of community safety and correctional services, Yasir Naqvi.
Brown made the statement after a Global News investigation into Ontario’s probation system revealed that probation officers and offenders themselves think there is not enough supervision of people on probation. One convicted sex offender told Global News that he could easily have broken the terms of his probation.
“I could have done anything I want,” he said.
In a press conference Tuesday morning, Brown called the revelations “disturbing.”
“By allowing violent sex offenders to roam our streets with no supervision, Kathleen Wynne has failed the most important test of leadership – keeping our streets safe and keeping our communities safe.”
Global News reached out to Naqvi’s office for comment, but has not received a response.
In Question Period, Naqvi deferred Brown’s questions on the issue to Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services Marie-France Lalonde.
“Parole and probation cases we know have become a lot more complex and can require more supervision,” said Lalonde. That’s why the government has hired more probation and parole officers, she said.
She noted recidivism has been trending downward – though statistics on the government’s website suggest that the rate of people re-offending within two years of completing community supervision was roughly the same in 2001-02 as it was in 2013-14, the most recent year available.
It currently sits at 21.4 per cent, down from a high of 24.5 per cent in 2009-10.
As to the suggestion that Naqvi should resign, “I definitely don’t think our attorney general has to resign.”
WATCH: Ontario Conservative Leader Patrick Brown said on Tuesday during Question Period that Attorney General Yasir Naqvi should resign following a Global News investigation into the state of the Ontario probation system.
On Monday, Lalonde told Global News that she is proud of the work probation and parole officers are doing.
However, a dozen probation officers told Global News that they rarely visit offenders at home – despite pages from an internal policy manual that describe how valuable home visits can be for establishing a relationship with an offender and monitoring their compliance with supervision orders.
“We do home visits at times when required,” said Lalonde. “My understanding is based on the assessments that our workers are doing, they will establish the type of home visits.”
WATCH: In part one of Global News’ investigation into Ontario’s probation system, chief investigative correspondent Carolyn Jarvis looks at how the lack of monitoring in the system is leaving many criminal offenders free to roam in the community with very few checks from probation officers.
Lalonde has only been in this role since January. Naqvi was corrections minister for approximately two years, from 2014 to 2016. He is currently the attorney general of Ontario.
“The highest responsibility of our government is to keep Ontario families safe,” said Brown. “Are they tracking these convicted criminals? Are they taking this issue seriously? The public deserves to know.”
Global News’ investigation into Ontario’s probation system continues on Global National Tuesday night, and also on Globalnews.ca.