*updated May 14th* “The protest that never happened”: Lumby residents stage NO PRISON demonstration at BC Liberal convention

I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended on to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts. ~ Abraham Lincoln.

It is little more than a day after the protest of a group of nearly 50 families and residents of Lumby drove two hours to Penticton and staged a protest outside the location of the BC Liberal Convention Centre.

The timing of the demonstration was no accident – it was strategic. Protestors arrived just as the exclusive Club 300( Club300Brochure-BCLiberals )  reception was about to begin, where donors, Christy Clark and the caucus mingled to talk about… well, whatever Liberals and donors talk about.  You fill in the blank. The people of Lumby wanted to make a point to the still unelected premier( only elected as MLA in Pt. Grey and that seems highly questionable – a MUST read ), the caucus and the BC Liberal party donors.

And they did.

As you can read and see below this post, there was chanting, noise,media camera crews and reporters, and the leader of the protest, Hugette Allan, did interviews with media.

24 hours later? Nothing in the big media down here. Other than this site, the only report of a protest against a correctional facility in Lumby can be found HERE, and it was done prior to the demonstration . (Some local coverage was shown on Kelowna television news.)

This is the media release that was sent out following the protest:

13 May 2011 – For immediate Release

LUMBY – Close to fifty Lumby and area residents protested in Penticton today during the BC Liberal Party’s Convention to make it clear that the Lumby Prison does not have the support of the community. As party supporters were walking in to a special pre dinner meeting with the Premier, the group held signs and chanted “NO LUMBY PRISON”.

“We’re here today to let the Solicitor General and the Premier know that Lumby and area has spoken and that our words were clear: No Prison in Lumby” said spokesperson Huguette Allen “We want them to know that neither mayor Acton nor MLA Eric Foster have a mandate to pursue the prison since 56% of residents voted No.  Mayor Acton is still pursuing the prison saying that Lumby Village voted 56% in favour. Yet prior to the vote, Mayor Acton was quoted in the Vernon Morning Star as saying “We consider Area D as the Lumby community. It’s one community“.

Allen also says that “Eric Foster, the same Mr. Foster who, as mayor of Lumby in 2008 had started proceedings to bring a jail to Lumby, had assured us that in his opinion, only a strong yes vote, around 70% yes, would warrant Lumby being considered by the province for a suitable prison site. Today we take to the streets to exercise our democratic right to be heard. All the people around me , young and old, have traveled for hours just in order to try and be heard because we can no longer trust that our own council and MLA are representing us.”

Allen says that they have heard that the Solicitor General is a fair and open person who listens to communities. “We are here to show that we still have hope that fairness, rationality and democracy will prevail” said Allen as people cheered. She then went inside the Conference Centre to hand deliver signed letters to the Solicitor General and the Premier but was stopped by an attendant who promised to give them the letters. Allen asked the attendant to invite them to come meet with the protesters, but they did not.

As the group was closing down the protest, one of the landowners whose property is under consideration for a possible prison location was seen entering the convention centre. “We hope that this action today will clarify for the decision makers that despite what they are told by a few close supporters,  the majority of Lumby and area residents do not support having a prison in their small town.”

This is the letter that was given to the attendant to pass onto Christy Clark and Shirley Bond :  

Solicitor General Shirley Bond

cc: Premier Christy Clarke
MLA Eric Foster
RDNO Director Rick Fairbairn
Mayor Kevin Acton

Subject: Lumby Prison has No Community Support

The Opinion Poll that occurred on April 30th in Lumby clearly shows that Lumby and Area does not support a prison in Lumby since 56% of voters, 1,108 people voted No, while 44%, 868 people voted Yes.

Despite this very clear result, Mayor Acton is pursuing the prison saying that in the Village itself, the numbers were reversed – 56% or 494 people voted yes while 44% or 381 people voted No.

On March 4h and again on April 29th Mayor Acton assured the public that residents of Area D’s votes would count. He was quoted in the “Vernon Morning Star” as saying “I can only speak for myself but my sense is council will go with what the Community wants. . We consider Area D as the Lumby community. It’s one community”. As well MLA Eric Foster, the same Mr. Foster who, as mayor of Lumby in 2008 had started proceedings to bring a jail to Lumby, had assured us that in his opinion, only a strong yes vote, around 70% yes, would warrant Lumby being considered by the province for a suitable prison site.

We had done research on the impacts of big prisons in small towns, made presentations to elected officials, and written letters. We then voted with confidence and hope. Our vote was clear and in good faith. We hoped that such a clear NO vote would merit the same in return but instead mayor Acton allowed Pro-Prison leaders to publicly ridicule and insult all who had voted No during the council meeting of May 2nd, as the decision to proceed was made 4 to 1 in favour. Mayor Acton voted in favour of proceeding.

We are here today to remind our elected officials that Lumby and area has spoken and that our words are clear: NO PRISON IN LUMBY. We are here, on the streets, while our elected officials are inside to exercise our democratic right to be heard: NO PRISON IN LUMBY.

We are here as Lumby citizens to make sure that Solicitor General Shirley Bond and BC’s Premier Christy Clarke understand that Lumby’s families say NO PRISON IN LUMBY. Our actions here today illustrate that we still have hope that fairness, rationality and democracy will prevail.

Thank you Solicitor General Shirley Bond for listening.

Huguette Allen

This is a video taken of the protest:

Here is the thing. There is no denying our correctional facilities are busting at the seams-a friend of mine in corrections affirms this. Our justice system is an embarrassment more than it is something to be proud of, and during the BC Liberals time in power it has become disabled by the cuts made to court systems province wide. Courthouses closed, legal aid cut, facilities closed.  In a perfect world, we would see changes to the criminal code, restorative justice and alternative streams of prevention to deal with crime – and more importantly, to prevent it.

Indeed, in a perfect world, we would have government of visionaries, both on a humane and economic level.

 But this is not a perfect world. However you spin the need for a new facility, the facts and research indicate correctional facilities in rural small communities suffer more than they benefit in the long term. And that is where these people come from.

Read the reports below, look at the photos, read the other posts I have done on this story in the last 6 weeks… and you decide what has happened here.

May 13th, 2011 – live blog of protest.

5:28 pm This just in- about 40 men, women and children have arrived at the Trade and Convection in Penticton on behalf of those opposed to the prison bid in Lumby. They are outside, camera crews are on site and the crowd is chanting NO PRISON! NO PRISON! Details as they come.

5:37 pm : A speech is being given, the cheers are loud to the sound of the speaker… many protesters carrying signs…

5: 48 : Speaking with a member of the crowd on the phone, her family lives in Lumby, Hugette Allen just finished her speech, went into the convention centre and delivered the letters of opposition for premier designate, Christy Clark and Shirley Bond.

5: 55: Mood is good, men in suits walking among the crowd, some people in formal wear coming out of the building, protestors singing ” We’re not gonna take it” ( Twisted Sister)

6 pm: Looks like things bode bad for Liberal MLA ERic Foster, signs say he is behind the prison.

6: 06 pm: One of the landowners whose property is under consideration for a possible prison location in Lumby, just walked by protesters, and entered the convention centre ~ Len Gudiet.  Chanting reaches new level of loudness!

Lost signal shortly thereafter, heard from organizer Hugette Allan after the crowd dispersed, she had talked with Penticton mayor,who came out to talk to protestors.

Full details and more much later – protesters have to travel about two hours back to Lumby. However, this item from a reader in Edmonton came in, that aired yesterday ( CHBC was the only BC media that ran it as well, from what I could see ) http://www.globaltvedmonton.com/UPDATE+Shortlist+province+newest+prison/4773963/story.html

Penticton, Lumby, Summerland, Osoyoos Indian Band and Penticton Indian Band are all on the short list.






28 thoughts on “*updated May 14th* “The protest that never happened”: Lumby residents stage NO PRISON demonstration at BC Liberal convention

    1. Will do, live blogging here and on Facebook. Thanks Bernadette. The crowd is at a new level after seeing Mr. Gaudiet enter the convention centre.


    1. Mary! My friend, how good to see your name here again! The people of Lumby by most accounts, are wonderful, passionate and good people. First photos have arrived from Penticton and will be up shortly. This feels good Mary, like old times.


  1. Wish I could have been there. Thumbs up to Hugette and the faithful Lumby citizens.
    I would have loved to seen the expression on Eric Foster and Len Gudeit’s faces. Was Kevin Acton there?
    Thanks Laila for keeping us abreast.


  2. and $9 billion for prisons when all I see in the news is that Crime rates are dropping. would love to see those $$$ invested in rehabilitation, and prevention programs so youth and others can get out of the crime cycle or better yet have so much going on for them that they never get into that downward spiral in the first place. More prisons is not the answer.

    Thanks for the clip and the pictures. Looks like a good size group that turned out.


  3. Interesting that nothing was reported (that I can find) on the Penticton news. Nothing on Castanet or CHBC or CIGV 100.7 Penticton. hmmm….


  4. Interesting that there is so little in the main stream media on this entire topic, what concerns me more is we know about this one but what about the other issues the main stream media is trying to keep from us.
    The mainstream media is doing their best to prove they are irrelevant in the news process – probably been going on for longer than we realise but now we have the ability to access a variety of blogs etc to learn what truly is happening. Problem is once one realises how little the people count according to politicians etc keeping up with all the REAL news is almost a full time job.


  5. Good to hear of people standing up for themselves against Government. That is what needs to happen until we reach the tipping point.


  6. Hi Ada:
    Go Lumby has been shut down. Lumby people who researched the prison idea used the criteria of a big prison in a small rural town. Lumby is actually smaller than a town – it only has 1800 residents, it’s a Village. Using that data out of context seems to lessen the validity of the research but if you need any information for letter writing please let Randy know, I’m sure he has it stored somewhere.

    Did you know that Penticton’s Council listens to concerns from their residents? Penticton’s Mayor and Council have accepted petitions and letters opposing the prison. One Penticton Councilor has offered to represent the views of those opposed to a prison there. Penticton’s Mayor has not justified their bid for a prison by telling people their vote will not count. Penticton offered to have a binding referendum.

    Penticton Councilors have listened to people’s concerns for example:

    Lumby’s Mayor wants to have the prisoners – cleaning up the salmon trails – in spite of the opposition from his community.

    Read Penticton’s report that answers the question: Would inmates be wearing shackles around town as part of an integration process? Answer: In most cases, there is no need for offenders to be in the community

    Click to access 2011-FEB-21%20Correction%20Centre%20Fact%20Sheet%202.pdf

    A city of 33,000 obviously has thousands of criminal complaints filed every year and a good sized police force maintaining law and order even in tourist season when the population almost doubles. Lumby has one police officer.

    Penticton people need to formulate their position on reasonable arguements based on their circumstances including : faith that Penticton’s Mayor and Council listen to them and local contribution to the number of people who end up in Remand. Penticton’s crime problem should not be foisted on Lumby just because people in Penticton don’t want to deal with their own problems.


  7. It may not have been openly publicized in order to avoid tipping off the Liberals who could have arranged for it to be shut down and yes somehow not surprised that mainstream media is not covering the issue and the action in more detail. Make your own media – Twitter / Facebook / email / Youtube. Media Coop is also possible… http://vancouver.mediacoop.ca/


  8. Congratulations to all who participated! Perhaps Mary Mackie will give the item legs on her blog
    BC Rail was, and is an important issue
    but then so was Karl Eisenbrenner’s issue and Jack Cram’s as well as John Carten’s





  9. Yes – I heard you speak too. You were dressed in boots, red vest, hat? a dusk mask – you were great. Thanks for supporting our cause in Lumby. We are also working on getting a fish ladder around the Wilsey Dam – saving our sockeye (almost as many salmon here as Adams River ). I hope you visit us when the salmon spawn) and please check out the zero carbon footprint waste water treatment system: Vegetated Sand Beds – perhaps you will want more information since they can clean up pollution where the salmon live.

    http://costingthefuture.org and http://www.newswet.com


  10. That was my “Why is this Lady dressed funny?” outfit. It helps me describe the negative aspects building the south Fraser Freeway will have on my community and, at the Cohen commission, on Salmon too. https://www.cohencommission.ca/en/submissions/ViewASubmission.php?sub=474
    It was an eye opener to hear of all the amazing efforts being made for salmon up stream of Surrey and the lower mainland. I was very impressed, and then I realized that if we don’t do our part down here and destroy the lower part of the Fraser river with industrialization and pavement projects that the Salmon will never get any further…. Very scary.


  11. At various times over the years I have been involved in a variety of protests.. At first simply a demonstration was enough to have the media focus on the issue. Over time it has become necessarily to demonstrate increasingly bizarre behaviour just to get a bit of air time – no I don’t think more bizarre behaviour is the way to go as it just plays into big business/media’s hands as proof it is the lunatic fringe protesting,. the only way I can think of to wake big media up is to hit them where it really hurts. Advise their major advertisers that you will be boycotting them if the media they are advertising does not start publishing the news instead of censored Corporate Canada’s manipulations. The catch is once one threatens to boycott they have to follow through.
    Fortunately there are blogs like this one that do get the real news out to the people.
    Thanks for your work Laila.


  12. Wow Laila – that is so great about the funding for the salmon habitat. I am quite involved with the non profit – Middle Shuswap Wild Salmon Society. We support a Music Festival to raise awareness and funds for the fish ladder

    July22-24th 2011 – still looking for speakers for Sunday –

    We also have a Wilsey Dam song contest:

    Hope you can make it. it’s family with camping, a salmon dinner and hang gliding too.


  13. “You know your country is dying when you have to make a distinction between what is moral and ethical, and what is legal.”


  14. Still thinking about a prison for Lumby? Think about this:
    Former Mayor Eric Foster said: “some local residents suggested ‘we’ look into the prospect of hosting a correctional facility”. Mr. Foster also said that in response to that he initiated a study on a prison in Lumby.

    Obviously, Lumby Council looked into a prison beginning in 2008 and Kevin Acton (now Mayor) was a Village Councilor then. So, what happened to that study that Lumby Council put together for those “local residents”? Did Lumby Council keep it all secret in-camera or share it with the Get in LINE pro-prison residents who asked about a prison. We know he didn’t share it with the rest of the community.

    Mayor Acton’s words are just not credible:
    “when we started considering a correctional facility we started putting feelers out. We have been very transparent very open from the very beginning. Matter of fact we put this out so early that the province couldn’t keep up with us. This is an idea that I came across – like I said the first time – I walked in the door as Mayor, it’s the first thing that hit me in the face!”

    Are we to believe that Mayor Acton knew nothing about this prison before he “walked in the door as Mayor” after Mr.Foster said his Council initiated a study on having a prison here – “we” included Councilor Acton didn’t it? Mayor Acton appears to intentionally deceive.

    In that Council meeting, Mayor Acton says: “Lumby is the people who put me here”. That would be the pro-prison voters – would it not?

    Watch the video: http://vimeo.com/23211503


  15. Hi Laila,

    We had our protest, and Mr. Foster isn’t happy with some of the signs?Back in February we had a protest at the village office in Lumby, and a lot of people weren’t happy with the plans to proceed on the prison, We had been told there was not time for a referendum, Then the mayor sent someone out to say yes we would have a referendum.
    This was the same meeting the Mayor was filmed making a few derisive remarks about the NO PRISON group.
    Then we were told that a binding referendum would be too costly, and we would proceed with a non-binding refrendum. For whose benefit? There was a large NO vote from the combined AreaD and the village. But it wasn’t binding, so guess what?
    They decided to do what the village wanted. With a slight margin.
    I was there when Mr. Foster told us, in his opinion they would need a big majority, say 70% to carry the prison project ahead,
    I did pass math class, and I know the vote was no where near 70%, combined or separate.
    Somebody is LYING and I hope Mr. Foster could point he she or them out to all of us.
    The people of Lumby and Area D are not happy with this whole charade.


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