Sunday, October 24, 2010

Persecution Complex

Vancouver Sun journalist Daphne Bramham has written many articles about the practice of polygamy in B.C.  On October 21 she wrote:

"It's not surprising that fundamentalist Mormons say they love their polygamous lives in the affidavits they've sworn to support their position that practising it is their constitutional right.
What is surprising is that the affidavits are steeped in the myth of persecution. Filed in advance of the constitutional reference case, which is scheduled to be heard starting Nov. 22 in B.C. Supreme Court, they reveal that almost all of the fundamentalist Mormons say they live in fear of being jailed or having their children taken away from them.
Yet, the first time fundamentalist Mormon men were charged in Canada with polygamy was two years ago, and those charges were stayed."

Read more

Friday, October 22, 2010

Canada's Notwithstanding Clause in the Charter of Rights & Freedoms

If Section 293 of the Criminal Code should be declared unconstitutional by the Courts, the government of Canada could invoke the Notwithstanding Clause of the Charter.  Read more.

The Heart of the Argument: Canada's Criminal Code - Section 293

Section 293 of Canada's Criminal Code covers polygamy. It states:
  1. Every one who:
    (a) practises or enters into or in any manner agrees or consents to practise or enter into
    (i) any form of polygamy, or
    (ii) any kind of conjugal union with more than one person at the same time, whether or not it is by law recognized as a binding form of marriage, or

    (b) celebrates, assists or is a party to a rite, ceremony, contract or consent that purports to sanction a relationship mentioned in subparagraph (i) or (ii), is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years.

  2. Where an accused is charged with an offence under this section, no averment or proof of the method by which the alleged relationship was entered into, agreed to or consented to is necessary in the indictment or on the trial of the accused, nor is it necessary on the trial to prove that the persons who are alleged to have entered into the relationship had or intended to have sexual intercourse. 1
Section 293 was added to the Criminal Code in the late 19th century, allegedly to prevent Mormons from settling in Canada. 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Reference to the Supreme Court of B.C.

The reference to the Supreme Court of B.C. will take place in November 2010 at the Vancouver Courthouse on Howe Street.

In effect, the session will put the Federal criminal law against polygamy "on trial" as it were, to ascertain whether the Freedom of Religion promised in the Charterof Rights trumps the criminal law against polygamy that has been on the books since the late 1890's.

To read more link here.

Witnesses will be called to support both sides of the question; the B.C. Government will present its evidence, and an amicus curiae appointed by the Court will have gathered witnesses who wish to speak in favour of polygamy.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

For an overview of Canada's 1892 criminal law against polygamy, go to this link

You will find useful background material that will explain how matters stand at the moment in this country.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Polygamy today - the challenge

This blog is in the process of being developed.  It will be used to cover proceedings in the British Columbia Supreme Court in Vancouver, where a reference to the Federal criminal law of Canada on polygamy will be taking place over a period of six weeks, beginning on 22nd November 2010.

It is my intention to be in the courtroom for all the proceedings, to give you, dear reader, some insights that you might not receive from a newspaper or TV report.  See you then.