Til the Cows Come Home
A few months ago I had a special opportunity to present a policy platform proposal to the Liberal caucus. As much as I would have liked to offer something on energy and climate change, science and technology or higher education, I chose to dedicate the opportunity to keep a 2011 election promise: I prepared a specific proposal to reopen the prison farm in Kingston.
When the Conservative government closed the local prison farms in 2010, there was broad support in Kingston for this effective rehabilitation program where inmates paid their way through agriculture. Greater Kingston is a community where almost everybody has a family or friend who has worked in Corrections.
Asking for a policy platform item is not a trivial task. Every item must be thought out and costed. I want to thank the Pen Farm Herd Co-operative group for working with me to put together a costed business proposal based on a milking herd of 50 cows. The Pen Farm Herd Co-operative owns a herd of cows, spread among several local farms, which are the descendants of the original milking herd at the Frontenac Institution farm. The Co-op was established to preserve the genetics of that herd.
I also want to acknowledge the work and commitment of farmer and Liberal Party Public Safety Critic Wayne Easter. He and former Liberal MP Mark Holland were instrumental in the effort on Parliament Hill to oppose the prison farm closing in 2010. Wayne supported my efforts to win a restatement of Liberal Party support for re-establishing the prison farm.
I am happy to say that the Liberal Party commits to building a new facility and re-establishing the prison farm at what is now Collins Bay Institution. Wayne Easter recently wrote a formal letter to the Pen Farm Herd Co-Operative giving that commitment.
Only the Liberal Party has made a specific commitment to re-open the prison farm.
Below is a partial image of the letter. To see the full letter click on this link: