Mr. Speaker, I have a petition today signed by dozens of Manitobans calling upon the government to stop the closure of the six Canadian prison farms.
All six farms, including Rockwood Institution in Manitoba, have been functioning farms for many decades and have provided food to the prisons and the community. Prison farm operations provide rehabilitation and training for prisoners through working with and caring for plants and animals.
The work ethic and the rehabilitation benefit of waking up at six in the morning and working outdoors is a discipline that Canadians can appreciate.
On Sunday, June 6, Margaret Atwood will join citizens of all ages and political stripes on a march to the Correctional Service of Canada Kingston headquarters where they will be posting their demands for saving and revitalizing Canada's six prison farms. There have been 16 months of public events, letters, petitions, delegations and parliamentary motions of nearly unanimous support across the country and yet the federal government is charging ahead with its ill-considered plan to shut down the six prison farms.
Heritage dairy herds that provide milk for inmates in Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick are slated for disposal. The first sale is scheduled for Kingston's Frontenac Institution the week of June 21. This will be the death of the farms.
Therefore, the petitioners call upon the Government of Canada to stop the closure of the six Canadian prison farm operations across Canada and produce a report on the work and rehabilitative benefit to prisoners of the farm operations and how the program can be adapted to meet the agriculture needs of the 21st century.