This episode marks part III of our ongoing coverage on the future of Canada’s rehabilitative prison farm program. Since July 2009, Deconstructing Dinner has been paying close attention to the 6 prison farms that have been operating across Canada. In February 2009 it was discovered that the farm program was scheduled to be phased out, however, the farm program is not going down without a fight as farmers, prison workers, inmates, academics, and advocates of local food systems have all been rallying to save them.
On this part III, we travel to Ottawa where on March 25 and 30, this issue was brought to Parliament and more specifically, Canada’s Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security. Members of Parliament challenged the government’s decision and heard testimony from both supporters and opponents of the closures.
Ross Toller regional deputy commissioner of ontario, Correctional Service of Canada (Kingston, ON) - Ross Toller was appointed Regional Deputy Commissioner (Ontario) in August 2008. Ross’s career began in 1978 when he joined the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) as a Correctional Officer. He has held a number of positions in the Service since then.
John Sargent chief executive officer, CORCAN (Ottawa, ON) - CORCAN is a rehabilitation program of the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC). It is mandated to provide employment training and employability skills to offenders in federal correctional institutions in support of the social policy of the Government of Canada.
John Leeman ex-convict, inreach worker LifeLine (Kingston, ON) - As part of his 19-years in prison, Leeman spent his later years working on prison farms. He believes the program was invaluable and opposes the decision to close the program.
Bill Flanagan professor and dean of law, Queen’s University (Kingston, ON) - Flanagan was appointed Dean of Law in 2005. He opposes the closure of the prison farms.
Dave Perry agribusiness instructor for the abattoir, corcan agribusiness, Pittsburgh Institution (Joyceville, ON) - Perry is a sixth-generation farmer. He is the President of the Frontenac Cattleman’s Association and is a director of the National Farmers Union’s Local 316. Perry has worked on both of the two prison farm sites in the Kingston area.
Ron Amey acting production supervisor, corcan agribusiness, Frontenac Institution (Kingston, ON) - Amey is responsible for the day-to-day operations at Frontenac Institution’s agricultural production and food processing operations.
Larry McDermott councillor, Shabot Obaadjiwan First Nation (north of Kingston, ON) - McDermott is the former rural chair of the Canadian Federation of Municipalities.
Mark Holland member of parliament, Ajax-Pickering, Liberal Party of Canada (Pickering, ON) - As one of the youngest members of the Liberal Caucas, Mark Holland was first elected in 2004 and has represented the riding of Ajax-Pickering ever since. As a Member of Parliament, Holland serves as the Liberal party’s critic for Public Safety and National Security and is Vice Chair of the Public Safety and National Security Committee.
Wayne Easter member of parliament, Malpeque, Liberal Party of Canada (North Wiltshire, PEI) - Wayne was born in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island and was raised on the family farm in North Wiltshire. Wayne entered politics in 1993 when he was officially elected as the Member of Parliament for the riding of Malpeque, P.E.I. He was re-elected in 1997, 2000, 2004, 2006 and 2008. In Parliament, Wayne has served as Solicitor General of Canada, Parliamentary Secretary for Fisheries and Oceans, Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture and Agri-Food with special responsibilities for the Rural Secretariat, and is currently the Liberal Party’s Opposition Critic on Agriculture and Agri-Food.
Andrew Kania member of parliament, Brampton West, Liberal Party of Canada (Brampton, ON) - Elected in 2008, Kania is currently a member of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security. He is a senior partner at the family law firm Kania Lawyers and as an active member of the Ontario Bar Association.
Shelly Glover member of parliament, Saint Boniface, Conservative Party of Canada (Winnipeg, MB) - Elected in 2008, Glover is currently a member of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security. Until her election, Glover served as a member of the Winnipeg Police Service for almost 19 years.
Musical Selection (name/title/album/label)
Theme/Soundclip - Adham Shaikh, Infusion, Fusion, Sonic Turtle (CDN)
- Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security
- National Farmers Union in Ontario – Local 316
- Save our Prison Farms campaign
- Minister of Public Safety
- Correctional Service of Canada
- Frontenac Institution (Kingston, ON)
- Pittsburgh Institution (Joyceville, ON)
- Riverbend Institution (Prince Albert, SK)
- Rockwood Institution (Stony Mountain, MB)
- Westmorland Institution (Dorchester, NB)
- Bowden Institution (Innisfail, AB)
- Standing Committee on Agriculture & Agri-Food
- Mark Holland (Liberal)
- Wayne Easter (Liberal)
- March 25, 2010 Transcript from Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security
- March 30, 2010 Transcript from Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security
- “Prison Farm Politics” - Frontenac News
- “Prison farms should stay, inmates argue” - CBC
- “Simple-minded justice” - National Post
- “Prison farms teach valuable skills” - Ontario Farmer
- “Bowden prison farm plants final harvest” - Calgary Herald
- “Campaign mounting to keep local prison farm operating” - The Sackville Tribune Post
- “Prison Farms” - The Ram’s Horn
- “Life on the Farm” (Let’s Talk) - Correctional Service of Canada
- “Campaign to Save Canada’s Prison Farms Goes National” NFU
- Letter from Inmate Chris Parmar – Frontenac Institution
- Liberal MP Mark Holland speaks to Deconstructing Dinner about the Correctional Service of Canada’s budget for rehabilitation. LISTEN
- Liberal MP Mark Holland speaks to Deconstructing Dinner about the motion made in committee to access the strategic review document used by the Correctional Service. LISTEN
- Liberal MP Mark Holland speaks to Deconstructing Dinner about previous comments made by Conservative members that the prison farms use 1950′s technology. LISTEN
- Liberal MP Andrew Kania questions Kingston-area farmer Dianne Dowling on whether or not the Correctional Service of Canada gathered any independent evidence to substantiate the prison farms closures. LISTEN
- Kingston-area farmer Dianne Dowling speaks to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security on March 30, 2010.Unedited audio of March 17, 2010 debate in Canada’s House of Commons. LISTEN CLIP 1 | LISTEN CLIP 2
- John Edmunds of the Union of Solicitor General Employees (USGE) speaks to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security on March 30, 2010.Unedited audio of March 17, 2010 debate in Canada’s House of Commons. LISTEN
- Queen’s University’s Bill Flanagan speaks at Save Our Farms event March 20, 2010 - YouTube
- John Edmunds of the USGE speaks at Save Our Farms event March 20, 2010 - YouTube
- Dianne Dowling of the NFU Local 316 speaks at Save Our Farms event March 20, 2010 - YouTube
- John Leeman (former prison farm inmate) speaks at Save Our Farms event March 20, 2010 - YouTube