Ontario’s provincial “Progressive” Conservatives want to turn prisoners into slave labour. From The Globe And Mail:

In what’s being billed as a Canadian first, inmates in Ontario prisons would be forced to perform 40 hours of manual labour a week to earn rewards like coffee and gym time, he said.“Prisoners can watch TV, they can play cards, they can play poker at the same time we do — after a good day’s work,” Mr. Hudak said.

The Tories, who have eclipsed the ruling Liberals in public opinion polls, said they would allocate $20-million to fund the program, which would put inmates to work outside prison grounds. His election promise is reminiscent of former premier Mike Harris’ “workfare” program, which forced able-bodied people on welfare to work for their benefits. Under Premier Dalton McGuinty, prisoners get yoga lessons, cooking classes, writing workshops and premium cable TV channels — all on the public dime, Mr. Hudak said.

“By putting criminals to work, the taxpayers dollars that used to be spent for that work would be spent on law-abiding citizens and benefits that matter to all of us, like health care,” he said. “And I’m not asking prisoners to anything more than what hard-working Ontario families do each and every day – and that is, go to work.”

Stupid. Expensive. Impractical. Dangerous. Mean-spirited, if not vicious. Basically childish, angry and uncivilized. And does anyone have any doubt that wealthy white-collar criminals would somehow be exempt? You’re not going to see any Conrad Blacks digging ditches.

It all plays to the sick, right-wing fantasy that prisons are cushy vacation spots — a myth easily dispelled by the fact that no one who spouts that crap would commit a crime on purpose to get into one.

It’s just awful. I have no doubt Ontarians will eat this shit up.