Win for Prison Farms!

Win for Prison Farms! r1 ... r33 A CFSC grant supported the film about Canada’s prison farms Til The Cows Come Home
Win for Prison Farms
Readers of the E-News may remember that we encouraged you to consider writing to your MP in support of Prison Farms. One analysis found that the farms:
  • Provide much needed rehabilitation programs: development of work ethic and responsibility skills, animal therapy, productive labour and physical exercise, working collaboratively with others, and training in farm management and operation;
  • Have been proven to prevent re-offending and increase employment opportunities for formerly incarcerated persons; and
  • Could offset the cost of food contracts within correctional facilities for milk, eggs, beef, poultry, and produce and provide food for local food banks.
We're pleased that the government of Canada has included in the most recent budget funding to re-open two farms in Kingston, Ontario (at Joyceville and Collins Bay Institutions)! This is an issue Friends have been tracking for years, including sending information to government and helping to fund a documentary about the value of these farms.

Mid-Island Allowed Meeting, Feb 25, 2018. Credit: Brigitte Wellershausen

Thank you to Friends on Vancouver Island
CFSC’s peace committee had two days of rich and worshipful meetings on Vancouver Island at the beginning of March. Program Coordinator Matt Legge also took the opportunity to visit three Quaker Meetings, as well as giving a public talk in Duncan United Church and a short interview for local TV. The topic of overcoming our polarization to engage with each other in healthy ways generated rich discussion and much interest in Friends’ work. Thank you to everyone who attended and shared your enthusiasm for peace! A few photos are available at:
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10156029767785149.1073741848.112772730148&type=3 Video of the public talk in Duncan is available at: http://pasifik.ca/2018/03/03/the-peace-virus/
The TV interview is at

Videos of 2017 Quaker Study now online
Canadian Yearly Meeting has posted various short videos from the 2017 Quaker Study. The videos feature Friends (including several members of CFSC’s Israel-Palestine Working Group) and other experts representing Rabbis for Human Rights, Christian Peacemaker Teams, Independent Jewish Voices, and Canadian Friends of Sabeel. The topic of the Quaker Study was Palestine/Israel, Nonviolence, and F/friends: http://quaker.ca/2017-quaker-study/

BC Needs an Anti-SLAPP Law
“Strategic lawsuits against public participation, or SLAPP suits, are an abusive tactic that chills public debate and clogs the justice system,” explains a short letter signed on to by more than 40 organizations, including CFSC. The letter encourages the government of British Columbia to enact an anti-SLAPP law to protect people “speaking out about matters ranging from the environment and public health to human rights.” The letter notes that Ontario and Quebec have legislation that could be considered a good start place for BC. http://quakerservice.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/2018-03-06-AntiSLAPP-OpenLetter-final-1.pdf

Interfaith Harmony Week a success in Halifax
We’re always pleased to share updates about the peace and justice work done by Quaker Meetings. Here is an encouraging story we received from Halifax Monthly Meeting.

Since 2011 the United Nations has declared February 1-7 Interfaith Harmony Week. On Sunday February 4th, some interfaith week participants came to Quaker Meeting for Worship and first had their interfaith “passports” signed. The Clerk Maida Follini then opened the Meeting with a brief introduction to Quaker history, faith, and practices.

Sylvia Mangalam then spoke of the inclusivity of Friends, and the continued learning and deepening of Friends’ faith. Faith is not static, but can grow and change. Sharon MacDonald then explained her many years of experience participating in the Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP), a program started with Friends and inmates of prisons to help reduce incidents of violence, when conflicts broke out. Developing trust between people, and finding words to reduce the level of tension are important in this program. Following these brief introductions to Quaker ways, the Meeting continued in silence, and out of the silence Friends and visitors occasionally shared messages and song.

Visitors included a wide range: students from St. Mary’s University, municipal officials, Christian, Jewish, Sikh, and other faiths, as well as seekers currently without a faith. All present felt an interest in exploring faiths, a reaching out to understand each other, and a warm acceptance. It was a pleasure to meet others and exchange experiences, to answer questions, and to be with interested and interesting people from different faiths.
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