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No working rink at prison where MP says notorious inmates play pickup hockey: agency

OTTAWA — Canada’s prison service says there is no working hockey rink at an institution where a Conservative MP says notorious inmates play “taxpayer-funded serial killer pickup hockey.”

Correctional Service Canada says there is currently no functioning hockey rink or tennis court for inmates to use at La Macaza Institution, located outside of Montreal.

Serial rapist and convicted murderer Paul Bernardo was transferred to the medium-security prison last year from the penitentiary in Ontario where he lived for decades.

His move set off a political firestorm for the Liberals, as Tories demanded he be returned to serve out his indeterminate life sentence in maximum-security conditions.

The prison service has said procedures were followed and Bernardo long met the criteria to be reclassified as a medium-security inmate, with Ottawa saying decisions are made at an arm’s length from politicians.

Frank Caputo, a Conservative MP from British Columbia, released a video on social media detailing a tour he took of the institution.

In the video posted Sunday, Caputo says he was angered to learn that the prison provided inmates with a hockey rink and other recreational facilities.

The correctional service says in a statement that while boards are up around a rink at the institution, “there has no been no ice for the past two winters.”

In his nearly seven-minute video, Caputo also details how he was provided access to Bernardo’s cell while the inmate was away.

He says that after a “couple of minutes” in the space, he turned around to see Bernardo, whose likeness was “unmistakable.”

Kevin Antonucci, a spokesman for the correctional service, says Caputo and union representatives visited the prison in early February.

He says while they are best positioned to talk about the specifics of the tour, “it is our understanding that participants did not interact with Paul Bernardo during their visit.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2024.

Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press

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