Vanier Centre for Women Censors Prisoner’s Political Mail
A visit to the Vanier Centre for Women, a provincial prison for women in Milton — about 30 miles west of Toronto — is an immersion into cloying political correctness and Big Brother, well, I guess, it’s Big Sisterism.
As you pull into the crowded visitors’ parking lot and search for a spot, you spy six empty spots close to the institution. Hooray, you’re in luck However, not so fast: four are for the handicapped and two are for pregnant mothers. So, you have to turn around and search the distant rows for a vacancy. Most people unquestioning accept their fate and the empty parking spaces for the privileged, but I wonder are there really THAT many cripples and pregnant women visiting women in prison?
Where visitors sit to await being allowed in to visit a prisoner, a sign informs the visitor that he is under surveillance by video cameras “for your safety and security.” Let’s shake our heads and THINK before swallowing the “security” rationale. Prisoners are far removed behind concrete walls and barriers. The often unfriendly prison staff are behind their heavy plexi glass barriers. Just who would likely endanger any of the mostly sad sack visitors “security”?
Anyway, as your eyes look at the various signs hectoring you about “inappropriate remarks” or “dress”, you notice a sign proclaiming this as being a scent free institution. The illiterate sign instructs that, out of deference to our “asthma” or “allergy employees” , visitors refrain from wearing perfume or scented deodorants or after shave products. One really wonders whether, if guards are that fragile, that they might be in the wrong line of work. However, in this precious society, apparently, it would be quite acceptable to show up not having bathed for a month all sweaty and reeking of curry or gimchi, just as long as you don’t foul the air with scented deodorant or perfume. And, by the way, the desk guards are behind their plexi glass and only one guard gets to watch you go through the body scanning security check? Just how many personnel are really being protected from a visitor’s Brute or Channel No. 5? It’s a strange old world.
When you finally get the call to visit the prisoner, you must pas through the sort of metal detector you’d go through at an airport. You must leave everything — overcoats, wallets, papers, pens, coins in a locker. Only you light clothing and your locker key are allowed. Why can’t one bring paper and pen? Until about a year ago, these were permitted. Remember, visitors are separated from the prisoner by thick plexi glass. You can’t stab the prisoner or pass her a note. The restrictions, however, interfere with effective notetaking. When I ask, why, I am told: “Security concerns.” Aw, that catch-all excuse for restrictions and repression!
However, as the bored visitor awaits the call to enter and pass security, his eye lights on a statement on the waiting room wall. It is from Donna M. Keating, the institution’s superintendent. She proclaims: “I lead with the courage to stand against racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, homophobia and all forms of bigotry.” Well, bully for her! That takes “courage”? Come on, it’s the standard ideology of the politically correct. It takes about as much “courage” as for a Christian minister to proclaim he believes Jesus in Lord.
The proclamation goes on: “I support an environment that appreciates the diverse cultures of our society.” Again, bully for her!
So, with all this talk about “diversity” and “anti-bigotry” how does the institution stand on diverse political points of view?
This brings us to the case of Michelle Erstikaitis. Michelle’s legal problems are not entirely about her rightwing politics. So, we don’t classify her as a political prisoner. However, her self identification as a White Nationalist has not endeared her to the legal establishment. Recently, her mail has been interfered with on a number of occasions. I send her photocopies of political stories — she is very interested in Mayor Rob Ford whom she has supported — and copies of some of my commentaries. Recently, she was told that an envelope containing some news stories and my snarky commentary on Jason Kenney’s gushing support for Black History Month was being held back from her. Apparently, I had used the word “Negro”. That was deemed “racist” and a guard loudly told the whole range she could not receive “racist” literature. She, then, had to be moved into protective custody as the many Negro inmates were giving her nasty looks.
So, what about tolerance, which is the opposite of the “all forms of bigotry” courageously opposed by the superintendent’s “leadership”? Also, as of yesterday, she had not received the February mailing of the Canadian Immigration Hotline or the March issue of the Free Speech Monitor, mailed, February 11 from Toronto.
She has had a clear admission that her mail is being held and that not all of it is being passed on to her. She has received virtually no mail — personal or political — from another political contact for whom she has written some articles on prison life.
Censorship of Her Majesty’s Mail is dead wrong. It is even more appalling that mere guards would presume to determine which political views — left, right or centre — an inmate should be allowed to receive.
Several complaints have been filed with the Halton Regional Police in this matter.
Here are the relevant sections of the Criminal Code of Canada:
Sec. 345 STOPPING MAIL WITH INTENT “Every one who stops a mail conveyance with intent to rob it or search it is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for life.”
Sec. 356 (1). THEFT FROM MAIL ” Every one who
(I) any thing sent by post after it is deposited at a post office and before it is delivered … is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years.”
CANADIAN ASSOCIATION FOR FREE EXPRESSION
p.s. Lest anyone thinks the commentary on Black History Month was anything other than legitimate political commentary, I append it to this message. This is what Miss Erstikaitis was not allowed by the political censors to read.
Hey, Jason, Will You Be Issuing a Formal Recognition of White History & Achievements?
I received your perky little announcement about Black History Month and all the contributions of Negroes to Canada. I have no problem with recognizing people’s achievements, but all this minority-sucky celebration ignores or diminishes the overwhelming contribution of the European founder/settler people to this land.
Canada was settled and built by Europeans — Basque, French, English, Irish, Scottish, German, Italian, Ukrainian, Russian, Polish, Icelandic and many others. Our official languages are European (English and French); our legal and political system is British and the religion of the overwhelming majority of Canadians is Christianity, despite the vicious Christian-hating rulings of the Supreme Court of Canada (See the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission v. Bill Whatcott and Malcolm Ross v. New Brunswick School District No. 15decisions, among other cases), many of whose members YOUR government appointed.
Lester Pearson changed our flag before he initiated the 1965 changes to our immigration law which turned Canada’s back on the founding/settler people and began a programme of population replacement that is ongoing and continues sadly even under your government. The Red Ensign, the flag he replaced celebrated the European and Christian nature of Canada.
So, Jason, let me ask you, now that you’ve lauded Black History Month in the interests of “inclusiveness” , will you be issuing a formal recognition of white or European history & achievements?
Canada First Immigration Reform Committee
Statement — Minister Kenney issues statement celebrating Black History Month
Ottawa, February 6, 2014 — The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister for Multiculturalism, issued the following statement after the official launch event for Black History Month at the Canadian War Museum:
“Every February, Canadians mark Black History Month, an important annual celebration of the accomplishments of Canadians who trace their family heritage to Africa and the Caribbean.
“The proud legacy of black Canadians goes back to the early beginnings of Canadian history. The great sacrifices and tremendous contributions of their community have helped to create the Canada of today.
“This year, as we mark the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the First World War and the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the Second World War, Black History Month provides an opportunity to recognize the efforts of black Canadian soldiers during these wars, and in other military campaigns.
“Canadians should learn more about many inspirational stories of heroism and service, including that of the largely black Number Two Construction Battalion, which proudly served our country during the First World War.
“Another great story is that of William Hall, the first black recipient of the Victoria Cross. He was also the first Canadian sailor and the first Nova Scotian to receive this honour.
“This year, Canada Post’s 2014 Black History Month stamps will honour two historical communities that were located on opposite sides of our country: Africville in Halifax, and Hogan’s Alley in Vancouver.
“Both of these communities played significant roles in black Canadian history, and their stories are well worth learning during Black History Month.
“Canadians can explore these and many other stories on the Government of Canada’s Black History Month website, which hosts the Black History Virtual Museum. It can be found at this address: www.cic.gc.ca/blackhistorymonth.
“As Minister for Multiculturalism, I also encourage Canadians to participate in the many celebrations that will take place across the country throughout February in honour of Black History Month.”
For further information (media only), please contact:
Citizenship and Immigration Canada