By DALE BOYD
Special to OsoyoosToday
B.C. Premier John Horgan is pointing the finger at the previous Liberal government for the spate of lawsuits emerging from inmates at the Okanagan Correctional Centre.
“We’ve had no shortage of problems in the past three months unearthing challenges the previous government was unable to deal with,” Premier Horgan said during a stop Tuesday in Penticton.
With four lawsuits in as many months and an alleged stabbing of two inmates by another at OCC, questions are looming about the jail that the Justice Ministry has repeatedly declined to address.
The premier compared the issues at OCC to the financial mess at the Insurance Corporation of B.C., calling them a “can kicked down the road” by the Liberals, who were ousted from office by the NDP last summer.
“The correctional facility is going through growing pains, and as a new government we’re responsible to make sure that we address those,” the premier said.
He also noted he has “every confidence” in Attorney General David Eby and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth to “take whatever steps they need to make this right for the institution and the community.”
The comments came during a press conference to announce coming legislation to protect those living in mobile home parks that become a target for redevelopment — an issue that Horgan admitted is much larger in the Lower Mainland than Penticton.
“Very few places can be called home when you’re living on a pad on someone else’s property, but for thousands and thousands of British Columbians it’s safe, affordable housing, and housing that we want to perpetuate and continue,” Premier Horgan said, adding legislation to amend the Residential Tenancy Act will come forward next week.
Tenants will get a minimum of $20,000 in compensation to help with relocation, the premier promised, or, if the home cannot be moved, the assessed value of the building.
Dale Boyd is a reporter with the Penticton Herald. OsoyoosToday shares an editorial agreement with the Herald.