Candidate responds

Liberal candidate concerned about federal government's solitary confinement policy

Regarding Colin Mayes’ column (Morning Star, Jan. 30: “Zero tolerance for barbaric practices”),  if the Harper Conservative government were serious about ending “barbaric cultural practices”, they could start in Canada by abolishing indefinite solitary confinement.

As Canadians, we pride ourselves on taking care of those with mental illness.

That’s why ordinary Canadians were shocked when Ashley Smith, 19, tragically choked to death in her solitary confinement cell at a jail in Kitchener, Ont.

An Ontario coroner’s jury, made up of average citizens from the community, ruled her death a homicide.

They recommended the federal government abolish indefinite solitary confinement. Ms. Smith spent 2,000 days in segregation and was described as being  treated like a,  “caged animal”. She was suffering mentally,  aggravated by the deleterious effects of solitary confinement.

Forensic psychologists have long determined indefinite solitary confinement  to juveniles causes thoughts of suicide, self-harm, hallucinations, depression, acute anxiety, nightmares and uncontrollable anger or rage.

As a civilized country, it is time we abandoned this crude practice in our jails. It is an egregious punitive policy that does violence to the dignity of the person and serves no useful purpose in reducing crime or in protecting Canadians.

However, the Conservative government refuses to accept the common sense recommendation of those average Canadians who sat on the coroner’s jury. Why isn’t the government listening to mainstream Canadians?

Coralee Smith, Ashley’s mother, puts it well when she says, “Disgustin, it’s an abomination!” Ms. Smith’s family’s lawyer, Jonathon Roy stated, “They’re (the Conservatives) playing an Orwellian game.”

Canadians do not want to live in a country where the government ignores the good advice of its people and ignores the basic dignity of a human being.

It’s time for a change in Ottawa.

Cindy Derkaz,

Liberal candidate

Okanagan-Shuswap

 

Just Posted

Vernon’s veterans’ unit stays true to association acclaim

The Army-Navy Airforce Veterans Unit 5 is always accepting new members

Open burning permitted again in Kamloops Fire Centre

Low fire rating prompts decision throughout Kamloops Fire Centre

Vernon’s Seaton Secondary makes pies to make music

Annual fundraiser pickup dates are Sept. 29 and Oct. 13

Canada Post group donates to Vernon Jubilee Hospital Foundation

Heritage group from Vernon presents $1,000 for VJHF fundraising campaign

Vernon “Stuff the Truck” for H.O.P.E. a success

With a growing homeless population, Dina Niskakoski wanted to make an positive impact.

Horvat leads Canucks to 4-3 shootout victory over Kings

Vancouver dumps L.A. in NHL pre-season contest

Update: Search called off for missing plane between Edmonton and Chilliwack

Search efforts were concentrated along the Highway 5 corridor between Valemount and Kamloops

Why Whistler for ski jumping in 2026? Calgary proposal gets pushback

Calgary 2026 proposes re-using the 2010 ski jumping venue Whistler for that sport and nordic

VIDEO: Hundreds line highway as family brings home body of B.C. teen

Northern B.C. showed their support by lining Hwy 16 as Jessica Patrick’s body returned to Smithers.

Despite progress, threat of 232 tariffs dominates NAFTA negotiations

Any deal is seen to require congressional approval before Dec. 1 to survive new Mexican government

B.C. MP Todd Doherty receives award for saving man who collapsed on a plane

Conservative MP was flying from Vancouver to Prince George, B.C., in June last year

Alleged border jumper from Oregon facing 2 charges after police chase in B.C.

Colin Patrick Wilson charged with dangerous operation of motor vehicle, flight from a peace officer

More than 35 B.C. mayors elected without contest

No other candidates for mayor in the upcoming local election in 22 per cent of B.C. cities

Most Read