The prisoners' strikes in Canada

Image labelled for reuse, https://pixabay.com/en/arms-arrest-crime-criminal-2029247/

We have all heard about the current National Prisoners Strike in the United States which has been declared from August 21 to September 9.  If you want to learn more about the strike, donate to the strike fund or take other actions in solidarity, visit incarceratedworkers.org.

In Canada, there have been a few strikes in recent months.  In Edmonton, prisoners went on hunger strike in July to demand increased breaktime, and in January to demand an end to violence by guards. In Nova Scotia's, Burnside jail, prisoners went on strike in solidarity with the U.S. National Prisoners Strike demanding better healthcare, more nutritous food at all facilities and better access to libraries and other basic needs. 

Here is a useful historical analysis of prisoner organizing in federal prisons in Ontario and Quebec, which brings us to the modern day.  One of the many issues brought up by prisoners is that 2013, the Harper government introduced cuts to prisoner's benefits and wages including a 30-per-cent cut to the $6.90 or less inmates received for a day’s work.  When existing deductions were factored in, as in prisoners having to pay for board, the daily pay prisoners could retain became $1.95 or less. A court challenge has been launched, and prisoners across the country are demanding their rights.  Visit demandprisonschange.wordpresss.com for some posters and tools to learn about what has been happening, though some of the materials are a bit dated.  The Harper government's gave a boost to the prison industrial complex in Canada, and prisoners are still waiting for many of the meaningful reform promised by Trudeau's government and provincial governments.  

Thank you for reading this story...

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all. But media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our only supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help.

If everyone who visits rabble and likes it chipped in a couple of dollars per month, our future would be much more secure and we could do much more: like the things our readers tell us they want to see more of: more staff reporters and more work to complete the upgrade of our website.

We’re asking if you could make a donation, right now, to set rabble on solid footing.

Make a donation.Become a monthly supporter.

Comments

We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:

Do

  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.

Don't

  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.