On Wednesday, September 21, 2022, the Coalition Against the Proposed Prison (CAPP) and the Jail Opposition Group (JOG) held a silent march along County Road #44 next to the 2022 International Plowing Match (IPM) being held in Kemptville in the municipality of North Grenville.
The purpose of the march was to highlight the irony of having Ontario Government dignitaries and VIPs promoting and celebrating agriculture and farming, while at the same time planning to pave over prime farmland and destroy farm buildings to build a proposed prison.
As noted by North Grenville mayoral candidate Colleen Lynas, Ontario Government ministers and other dignitaries will be stepping up to microphones to welcome people from across North America to the IPM, an event estimated to draw up to 80,000 people to the historical farming town of Kemptville. She also noted the sad irony of the IPM being held on the grounds of the former Kemptville Agricultural College, with its over 100-year history of teaching, agriculture, and research, a part of which the Ontario Government plans to pave over for a prison.
“The Ontario Government plans to build a prison on farmland that is being used right now to celebrate farmers and agriculture, and the land will be lost irreparably if they proceed” says Kirk Albert, spokesperson for JOG. “Surely, everyone can see the hypocrisy in that, as some of these same government officials attend the event.”
“The march was a vigil for the daily loss of over 300 acres of farmland,” says Victor Lachance, spokesperson for CAPP. “While it was a silent vigil, we expect our municipal council to be loud and clear in supporting North Grenville and Kemptville residents’ efforts to save the farmland.”
The Municipality of North Grenville had plans for the farmland before the surprise announcement by the province of its intention to build a proposed prison in Kemptville. The IPM is a reminder of the province’s obligation to protect farmland, not destroy it.
“It’s not too late for Premier Ford to make the right decision and cancel the prison project,” says Victor Lachance.