It's coming up for a week since I sent an e-mail to our local (Kamloops - Thompson - Cariboo) member of parliament, Cathy McLeod. With no acknowledgement or reply yet, I will publish it here as an open letter:
I've found your presence in this area to be refreshing. While it will take a bit to get me to vote Conservative, your style and apparent substance have had me paying attention and considering dropping in to your 100 Mile Office.
However, today I was reminded of your leader's style of governing and, unfortunately I have to see you in that context. I awoke to the story about the Harper government's plans to shut prison farms and, aside from vague rationalizations, what came thorough to me was meanness, lack of social vision and the blinkers of ideology.
Living in a more rural area, I'm hoping you will understand the folly of this move and perhaps can persuade Mr Harper that there is little to be gained and much to be lost by shutting down these farms. I suspect the ideological drive is a punitive one and a fear of being "soft on crime". However, if people are to leave prison with some hope of success in our society and a reduced likelihood of recidivism, surely it can only help for them to develop the work habits that form the foundation of job success. While I've been a web designer for ten years, for three years I ran a three-acre commercial vegetable garden. I saw how the compulsions of caring for animals and crops created a meaningful framework for some of the young people who worked for me, one in which their actions had clear consequences.
Add to this, the expanding importance of local food supplies and the related value of growing/raising at least some of our own food and I can only wonder: what is he thinking? Please see what you can do to get your leader/party to exercise a little more social vision and keep his eye on the big picture.
The mainstream media has pretty much failed to pick up on this story. Here are a couple of references added subsequent to the above post:
- Canada's prison farm system being phased out - announcement (read comments that follow)
- [update June 3, 2009] Union fighting government's plan to close prison farm