The cows may not be coming home after all.
The federal government has said it will reopen prison farms at institutions in Joyceville and Collin’s Bay in Kingston, Ont. But the $4.3 million in funding for the prison farm program contained in the 2018 Federal Budget will focus on crops and goats, and not dairy cows.
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That’s disappointing for a local group that had been holding weekly demonstrations outside Collin’s Bay Institution since the former Conservative government cancelled the farm program eight years ago. The Citizens Advisory Committee vowed it would continue the protests until the cows came home — literally.
Now it appears they won’t be — even after the farms reopen. The federal government, in the recent budget, has committed $4.3 million to reopen the prison farms, but the local group has learned the program will only fund crops and goats.
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“We are disappointed, to put it mildly, that there is no reference in the plan at this point about dairy cows,” says Dianne Dowling, co-chair of the committee. “The plan is for dairy goats, probably at the Joyceville Institution. And land management and crops, horticulture at both sites.”
The Citizens Advisory Committee’s met with Corrections Canada to discuss the steps needed to re-establish the prison farms at both Collins Bay and Joyceville. The outcome was a disappointment for those who wanted the dairy herd to return.
Speaking outside the Corrections Canada office, Dowling acknowledged the committee’s local supporters will be hurt and disappointed by the federal government’s decision.
“You’re probably a bit mad,” she said. “But we are going to turn those feelings into positive action moving forward. Like we did with the prison farm campaign.”