Prisons back off plan to hire Wiccan priests

Corrections Canada had proposed that the service be provided 17 hours a month for inmates.

Angela Gallant of Surrey is a Wiccan priestess.

Wiccan priests will not be working for the federal corrections service anytime soon.

Corrections Canada has removed a request for a proposal for a Wiccan leader in B.C. to provide about 17 hours of service a month for inmates. When released last week, the proposal garnered public outcry, prompting the quick reconsideration.

The job description included providing counselling and creating a sanctuary in the prison chapel area. It also indicated that the priest, or priestess, would lead Wiccan services, including rituals, and hold regular services for holy days.

Wicca is a nature-based religion, believed to have emerged from paganism during the 20th century. According to Corrections Canada, there are currently 13 inmates in the Pacific Region (including Matsqui Institution, Mission Institution as well as the Regional Treatment Centre) who have listed their religion as Wiccan.

Angela Gallant, a Surrey-based Wiccan priestess with The Order of Scathach, said she was not surprised by the job posting’s retraction.

Pagan beliefs have always been misunderstood she said. “We’re not evil, horrible, demon-worshiping creeps and criminals.”

Gallant said she knows that some inmates in Abbotsford-based facilities have been receiving Wiccan services, but only on a volunteer basis.

She said Wicca involves several gods, each representing a different purpose. For example, one god would represent teaching and guiding, while another would be for communication or healing.

“We take a lot of our beliefs from what we observe in nature.”

While she can’t estimate how many followers of Wicca there are in the province, she said the government’s original job posting shows the numbers are significant.

Just Posted

Mouat’s Benning signs with UFV wrestling

Benning one of 10 new recruits inked for the fall

Donation of more than $20,000 supports Shine On Legacy Fund

Fund created in memory of Abbotsford Police Const. John Davidson

Moms of those killed by illicit opioids take to B.C. Legislature in call for action

Moms Stop the Harm, a nationwide network of families who have lost loved ones to overdoses rally

PHOTOS: Black bear gets curious on Lower Mainland driveway

Joe Wu captured photos of the animal wandering in Surrey

83-year-old inmate dies at Mission Institution

Correctional Services Canada says Ralph Whitfield Morris died in custody

VIDEO: Canadian toddler caught practising hockey skills in crib

Eli Graveline is getting praise from far and wide as the internet freaks out of cute throwback video

VIDEO: Plane crashes in Langley farm field (updated)

Plane lost power shortly after takeoff, RCMP told

B.C. teacher ends Jeopardy! winning streak, taking home US$69,000

Ali Hasan, from New Westminster, has been gaining fans as a “one-man invasion,” says Alex Trebek

1 man in critical condition after ‘serious’ stabbing in Downtown Eastside: police

Vancouver police say there was an altercation and stabbing appears targeted

Jett Woo highlights 5 Canucks choices on Day 2 of NHL entry draft

WHL star out of Moose Jaw tabbed in Round 2

In a matter of hours, women in Saudi Arabia will be allowed to drive

Change was announced as a royal decree in 2017 by Crown Prince Mohammen bin Salman

Seal pup rescued near White Rock pier

Animal was moving and “barking” when rescue crews arrived

Feds announce measures to protect endangered whale species

Canada’s Whale Initiative is part of the federal government’s $1.5 billion Ocean Protection Plan

COC session vote approves Calgary as potential host for 2026 Olympics

Scott Hutcheson, chair of Calgary’s Olympic bid corporation — called vote a positive step forward

Most Read