Keying on prisons locks out out seniors’ housing concerns


by admin on February 23, 2011

The Editor,

Valentine’s Day has come and gone and I missed my chance to hand a paper heart to the prime minister. A paper heart would be better than none, and heartless he is to insist on penitentiaries rather than housing for our seniors.

We want to keep our seniors. In Chapeau, Otter Lake, Kazabazua and Poltimore, dedicated volunteers are working so those who have shared in our lives, worked hard, and contributed to our communities will get to spend their sunset years with us.
Our member of Parliament and his prime minister are fixated instead on American-style penitentiaries that lock up people and throw away the key. It is vastly more expensive to keep people incarcerated than to invest in the social programs that our citizens really need.

The Harper government has recently dismantled a rehabilitation success. At the prison farm near Kingston, residents had a routine of physical labour, responsibility for animals and contributed to the farm’s revenue. The herd have been shipped and machinery is being auctioned this week. Harper and his cabinet ensured there will never be a resurrection of this successful prison farm. Why?
Our prime minister and MP are out of touch with Canadians’ values. We want funding for our priorities. We want to keep our old folks. They want penitentiaries that will be chock-a-block full from minimum sentencing laws and the incarceration of 14-year-olds (don’t forget all those “unreported” criminals, too).

The American example is proof these joints are universities of crime rather than means to keep our society safer. Courting Toronto area ridings by building a penitentiary that will hoard unimaginable massive federal tax dollars forever just so Harper might win elusive urban ridings there is not only irresponsible, it is repulsive to Canadian values.

Our seniors want to stay in their own homes as long as possible. Enabling them to do just that with some outside help, then later providing assisted living and nursing home options for their next steps, are what we want. On election day, whenever that might be, please, vote to ensure our priorities and values are respected.

Cindy Duncan McMillan

Farrelton, Quebec

Ed. note: The writer was the Liberal candidate in Pontiac during the 2008 federal election.