Quebec town hit by spring flooding

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BEAUCEVILLE, Quebec (AP) – Spring flooding forced dozens of residents of the Quebec town of Beauceville from their homes on the weekend.

More than 60 residents had to evacuate homes and businesses Saturday night after an ice jam about a kilometer north of the town caused the Chaudiere River to break its banks.

“The last two days it was too warm out,” Jacques Francoeur, head of the town’s emergency services, told the French news channel RDI. “The water level had to go up.”

News reports showed a kayaker navigating the streets of the town south of Quebec City on Sunday as cars sat half-submerged in water.

Crews with heavy equipment were working to break up the ice jam that caused the flooding and the water began to recede.

Many residents returned home Sunday to flooded basements and the main highway in the area reopened to traffic but emergency measures officials remained on alert.

The area floods nearly every spring but some residents say this is the worst in several years.

Conservative plan includes for-profit jails

OTTAWA (AP) – Imagine superjails run for profit by private companies eager to cash in on Conservative plans to get tougher on crime.

Leading criminologists say the prospect is a definite possibility should the Tories pass even part of their law-and-order platform.

They’re watching for details as Parliament resumes Monday on how the new government would pay for one of its top priorities: a justice strategy that experts agree would dramatically spike demand for costly prison space.

“Either they’ll spend a ridiculous, unsubstantiated amount of money on this or, more likely, they’ll move to a more private model of corrections,” says Neil Boyd, a criminologist at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia

“And that has another set of problems.”

Dilemmas include the thorny ethical question of whether corporations that profit from having full cell blocks should be charged with caring for violent inmates. Critics point out the obvious absence of any business incentive to lower rates of repeat offence.

The U.S. experience with private prisons suggests higher rates of return to jail, more in-custody incidents, more escapes and higher staff turnover, says Anthony Doob, a criminologist at the University of Toronto.

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