Part-time prison chaplains of non-Christian faiths must stay
OTTAWA – New Democrats are condemning the Conservatives’ shocking cuts to prison chaplains of non-Christian faiths who provide a vital service in helping the rehabilitation of prisoners.
“This is not a costly program. The Minister has no justification for getting rid of it,” said NDP Foreign Affairs critic Paul Dewar (Ottawa Centre). “He should listen to the Minister of Foreign Affairs who said that “[religious freedom is] a fundamental freedom.” How can Conservatives, who have made so much noise about promoting religious freedom around the world, justify stifling it here at home?”
This program, which was able to provide Rabbis, Imams, Granthis and other spiritual leaders inmates desiring religious and spiritual faith-based guidance and rehabilitation during incarceration, has been cut in an unfair move by Public Safety Minister Vic Toews.
Now, Christian chaplains will be obliged to offer interfaith services to inmates of many different faiths, despite the rich and unique traditions of many other faiths.
“Nothing is sacred when the Conservatives decide to make cuts,” said Raymond Côté, New Democrat MP for Beauport—Limoilou. “Prisoners searching to rehabilitate themselves through religion are hearing, “sorry, we only accept Christians.””