Fraser Valley prison guards take political stance

Union urging voters to not support Conservatives in federal election

Guards from federal prisons including Mission Institution are taking a political stand ahead of this fall's election.

The union representing more than 1,000 federal corrections officers in the Fraser Valley is urging voters in the new riding of Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon not to support the Conservatives in the upcoming federal election.

Gord Robertson, the president of the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers, said he expected between 90 and 100 members would be going door-to-door Tuesday afternoon in Mission and Agassiz, speeding the union’s message.

Although the number of guards has remained steady in recent years, Robertson said budget cuts to the Correctional Service of Canada have made officers’ jobs more dangerous by reducing programs, stiffening sentences, and increasing the number of prisoners in federal institutions.

Robertson said Conservatives policies that have increased Canada’s prison population give offenders less hope of returning to society and increase the likelihood they’ll misbehave while incarcerated.

The Fraser Valley is home to seven federal institutions that house around 2,000 prisoners and employ about 1,200 guards. They include  Kent and Mountain Institutions in Agassiz; Matsqui Institution, Fraser Valley Institution for Women, and Pacific Institution and Regional Treatment Centre in Abbotsford; Kwìkwèxwelhp Healing Village on Chehalis First Nation Land near Harrison Mills; and Mission Institution.

While members are asking voters not to support the Conservatives, Robertson said they “aren’t telling people how to vote.

“We’re educating our members and the public, too,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what government’s in power, we’ll continue to do our job. It’s just that we are concerned that some of the changes are making it more dangerous for us to do our job.”

The Conservative candidate in the new riding, Liv Grewal, did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

Just Posted

UPDATE: Rockslide keeps Coquihalla northbound lane closed

Highway 5 is closed in one direction.

UPDATE: Wind warning ends for Metro Vancouver after thousands lose power

More than 34,000 BC Hydro customers in the dark on Sunday morning in the Lower Mainland and Sunshine Coast

WIND WARNING: Metro Vancouver expecting 100 km/h gusts Saturday night

Environment Canada issues warns of possibly dangerous conditions

Agassiz tech training to connect generations

Upcoming event will have youth teaching technology to older residents

UPDATE: 24-year-old Lovepreet Dhaliwal ID’d as victim in targeted Abbotsford shooting

Location of shooting the same as where innocent bystander Ping Shun Ao killed in 2015

Week in Review – January 19

Movie filming, water upgrades and more

Cougar window shops at Banff grocery store

An RCMP officer spots a cougar outside an Alberta grocery store

Chilliwack’s David Lee Roth wannabe denied bail on underage sex crime charges

Unusual history of David Kuntz-Angel includes being known for impersonating the rock star

Police fear fewer fentanyl imports don’t signal the end of the overdose crisis

RCMP say it’s just as likely that criminal are getting more clever

UPDATE: Two people die in ATV accident south of Campbell River

Third person survived attempt to cross a creek

Justice group, fellow trustee, defending B.C. school trustee

Chilliwack school trustee facing increasing pressure to resign over LGBTQ beliefs

Coal dust escaping rail cars spurs B.C. petition

Local governments are on board with Shuswap resident’s request for better control of escaping particulate

Lawyers slam ‘de facto expulsion’ of student guilty of sexual interference

Calgary student guilty of sexual assault of a minor allowed to finish semester

B.C. NDP set to restructure union bargaining

School trustees to regain control over employer group

Most Read