Elemental Hope inspires acts of Righteous Rage.
If we were hopeless, we would not keep fighting back.
(Mary Daly, Quintessence, 197)
The media jumped on the story this afternoon that Corrections Canada was seeking a Wiccan Prison Chaplain to minister to prisoners in British Columbia. But before that information could take off in the Twitterverse, Public Safety Minister Vic Toews (or, more accurately, one of his staff on his orders) had pulled the tender, claiming that it “wasn’t a good use of taxpayer’s dollars” even though CC staff had said it was a tender based on “growing need” in the system. (But hey, it’s not like the Canadian government believes in evidence-based research or statistics anyway. So, so many things are wrong with this situation.
* The minister’s office complained that it wasn’t consulted. That’s not how the system works, Minister Toews. (It’s a “government” not a “management”. Look up the difference.) The people working in Corrections Canada are professionals making informed decisions, and you shouldn’t have been allowed to undermine that for your own ideological reasons.
* The tender was based on need – but who pays attention to that when rhetoric gets in the way? (For the record, I’m a taxpayer – when are you going to get around to spending “my” money on things I support, hmm?)
Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
* Wicca/Paganism is a legally-recognized religion in Canada. How is this decision justifiable in light of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which guarantees freedom of all religions? This isn’t California, which only recognizes “five faiths” when it comes to the prison system.
Do I expect Minister Toews to reverse his decision, or (even better) to acknowledge that he was wrong in his actions in the first place? Not really. But that doesn’t mean I won’t be invoking Elemental Hope by writing a letter to my MP, getting involved in the local by-election and volunteering with Pagan Pride 2013. All Acts of Righteous Rage, they bring us closer to the truth: another world is possible, if we work to make it so. So mote it be!