The Whiteshirts

Guards are literally blue collar workers. Above them are the whiteshirts, and today a sort of paranoia reigns as the big whiteshirt Chief Warden Ritchie, is concerned about personal projects being worked on during working hours in the Hobby Shop. I am of course, along with others, guilty of this, although lately most of my working hours have been spent on camp and Native Brotherhood projects. The shop has been locked and we, the staff, are victims of a lockout. The warden doesn’t understand the Native Brotherhood according to the guard responsible, and may think the drum frames I’ve been working on are personal projects. The mood is one of conspiracy between the inmates and guards (for self protection) against the senior brass. I decided to stay out of sight and I went to my house to read and write my journal.

March, 2005. I see where there’s a serious proposal for a Museum of Human Rights in Winnipeg. The idea has been promoted by the Asper family, the dominant interest in CanWest Media, the Sun, Province and what have you. When they first put it forward it was in the context of the Holocaust. Holocaust museums may be getting a bit overdone and the example is not particularly relevant to Canada. According to the Sun today they may be adding the expulsion of the Acadians, the internment of the Japanese, and some other human rights violations and major genocides.

The point I want to make is that it seems inappropriate for the Aspers and CanWest to be promoting a human rights museum. Unless we define human rights very narrowly, and politically correctly in terms of validated victims and the respectable oppressed, the Aspers have done more than their share of promoting misery and death in this country. Despite their sensitivity to the historic suffering of their fellow Jews, they have a rather shoddy record if the official editorial policies of their media are to be taken at face value. As I see it their crusade against drugs, whatever its disguise, is ultimately a crusade against human rights. The Aspers and CanWest have staked out their position in terms of more enforcement and harsher penalties. The more than ten thousand Canadian deaths, mostly heroin overdoses due to unregulated potency, are the price some have paid for their righteous moralistic policies.

In early May I had my most disastrous day at Ford Mountain. A week earlier the visiting jail doctor concerned that my recent loss of fifteen pounds might indicate a reoccurrence of colon cancer for which I was operated on in 1973 got me to agree to have a barium enema test. It was arranged that I would go to a hospital in Chilliwack for this. After a day of restricted diet to help me clear my bowels I had to drink a bottle of Citromag which soon had my asshole squirting uncontrollably. My clothes were soon soiled despite wearing Depends, the adult diaper. I then had to go the Bubble to pick up a special dinner and drink more apple juice. While waiting there I soaked myself thoroughly including socks and shoes and I was literally dripping. With my sodden Depends weighting me down I went back to my hut and dripped all down the hall. I cleaned up the puddle in my room and put on a new diaper when I was called to the Bubble again to pick up clean clothes, socks, briefs and shoes. Returning to my hut I was assaulted. [Why they didn’t bring me the things I don’t know] This guy in my hut, a heavy, husky blond kid maybe thirty, demanded that I clean up my "fucking mess." I replied angrily and he hit me with his forearm knocking me down. I was dazed and sore but the most worrisome pain was in my neck at the back opposite to where he’d hit me.

I was beyond accepting this type of bullshit and I went back to the Bubble and was looked at by a guard with advanced first aid qualifications and a report of the incident was taken. I was asked if I wanted charges pressed and on the advice of the guard I declined. I refused to take two Dulcolax tablets to further clean me up despite being threatened that the test wouldn’t proceed. I signed a refusal statement. By then I’d more or less dried up but I had been subjected to a more general harassment because of the mess I’d made including taunts about Depends, which unknown to them I was wearing at the time. A guard suggested that I be moved into one of the Holloway House units for the night where I would have my own toilet. I refused as it would be seen as running away from all the hassle I’d been getting from other inmates.. The next day feeling better except for a sore neck I was taken into the hospital for the test. I was glad to go into Chilliwack for the test today, not for the test, but to be away and for the credibility. The test was a rather messy affair. I was placed on a metal table for the X-ray, still wearing handcuffs and given the whitish barium solution w3hich oozed out around the enema as my position was manipulated for the X-rays. It was cold, slippery and uncomfortable and my neck was quite sore.

Things quieted down but my trouble with the induced diarrhea for the test made the rounds and I receive abusive and threatening comments for weeks. Old people are disliked anyway. One inmate told me he had children and didn’t want me near him and similar comments happened occasionally. Inmates can be as righteous as the randywhites. Forty eight hours after I was hit my neck was the worst yet and I was taking a lot of pain killers. The guy who punched me suffered no consequences and remained in the hut.

The guard who drove me to the hospital, and waited in the X-ray room with me, which was protocol as was keeping me in handcuffs the whole time, told me there used to be three correctional camps in the area along Chilliwack Lake Road: Thurston Camp which had about 70 inmates and was an open work camp for GP’s; Ford Mountain was all PC’s at the time; and a youth camp, Centre Creek which was closer to the lake. These others, as well as a half way house, in Chilliwack were all closed when the Liberals came to power. I also learned that when the Induction Building at Holloway House where I was staying before my court appearance was pretty well separate from Downtown, and there was fence between them.


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