Without justification, explanation, or even consultation; the Harper dictatorship closed down Canada's prison farms, as part of an ideological pattern of behaviour.
They had no interest in listening to experts, dismissing them as 'university types', and refused to even meet with stakeholders. They were going to do what they wanted to do, come hell or high water.
Kingston activists have spent 18 futile months trying to arrange a meeting with those involved, but in true Harper pattern, he refused to listen. However, turn about is fair play.
The end of the blockade is the beginning of another battle, say organizers of a dramatic two-day standoff between police and protesters outside a federal prison in Kingston. Police crushed the protest Monday, bringing in a riot squad of about 40 provincial police officers to clear demonstrators who were preventing cattle trucks from ferrying cows out of Frontenac Institution so they can be sold at auction.Word is that the Reformers really wanted the riding of Kingston and with the retirement of the Liberal Peter Milliken, thought they had a chance. But they underestimated the people of Kingston and the pride we take in our community. And part of that community was the 100-year-old prison farms.
"The resolve of everyone who's been there has been hardened by this," said organizer Aric McBay, who operates a farm on Howe Island.
He said many people who got involved in the issue, not just the two-day blockade, have a new appreciation for justice issues and the notion of prisoner rehabilitation. "These events will help people to transition into another kind of struggle," he said. "Our argument is that the government is ignoring people and taking an authoritarian approach."
This will not only be an election issue but it will be the election issue in this city. Because this represents more than just those farms, but defines the Reform movement. Brian Abrams, the local candidate for Harper's party from the bowels of hell, never showed his face to one single event. Not one.
Because he wasn't allowed.
And this is how he would represent Kingston and the Islands. Photo-ops, ribbon cuttings and pre-scripted press releases. Kingston deserves better. Canada deserves better.
I'm afraid Mr. Abrams hopes drove away with those cattle trucks.
Because we will remember this brave 87-year-old woman being carried away by three police officers.
And we will remember this wonderful donkey who worked so hard to save his friends.
And we will remember all of those who were arrested simply because they disagreed with the Harper regime, including a 14 year-old girl and several professors from the Royal Military College.
And we will remember all the local farmers who stood in solidarity with the inmates, and learned about human dignity and the value of rehabilitation.
But mostly we will remember a government that abandoned them all.