It's not like the young offenders were sitting around playing video games 24/7, mind. Use of the games was a privilege earned through good behaviour and attention to educational / vocational programs. And the video games were screened for appropriate content.
Of course, the fact that imprisoned young offenders might actually have any leisure time at all offends the hard right "lock 'em up and throw away the key" crowd, whose insight into corrections policy is consistently and mind-numbingly counterproductive. The fact that these kids (and whatever they've done, they are still kids) might be allowed to play the odd video game was just too much.
So the regional pooh-bah of a hard right pressure group, Colin Craig of the so-called Canadian Taxpayers Federation, made a phone call to the Government of Saskatchewan. By the end of the afternoon, government policy had been changed and public funds will no longer be used to buy video games for youth correctional facilities.
Whether or not giving limited use of video games as a removable privilege is or is not good corrections policy is, perhaps, a legitimate discussion point. So far, for what it's worth, the only person with any actual expertise on the subject has defended the purchase of the games.
But here's the bigger issue for me.
Who the heck voted for Colin Craig?
And why does the Saskatchewan Government take orders from some far right activist in another province?
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation, despite its grandiose sounding name, is not a federation of Canadian taxpayers. It is a far right pressure group with secretive funding and no public or member accountability. Anyone can join the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, but unlike a real public group, its policies are set and its leadership are chosen by a small, self-selecting and self-perpetuating elite. You and I can join the CTF, but we can't have any say in who runs it or how, or in what policy positions it may take.
In otherwords, it is a Potemkin Village for the far right, much like the American Tea Party but with less showmanship and better dress sense.
In case you have no idea what the real Premier of Saskatchewan looks like, here's a picture:
His CTF bio indicates that he is from Winnipeg and attended the University of Manitoba. He's worked as a political operative in the offices of Conservative ministers in Manitoba and Ontario. There is no evidence he has ever lived in Saskatchewan. (There's actually no evidence he has ever been to Saskatchewan, for that matter, but I would expect he's been here for the odd meeting with his minions at the Saskatchewan Legislature.) Circumstantial evidence suggests he cheers for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
And nobody in Saskatchewan has voted to have him to decide government policy.