Canadian Province of Quebec Pushing Ahead with Law Banning Face Coverings

Muslim Women protest in front of Montreal City Hall against new law. – Photo Peter McCabe

MONTREAL, Quebec – In the Canadian province of Quebec lawmakers have adopted a law that will force people to show their faces when taking the bus or borrowing a book from the library, pushing ahead with legislation that is being criticized for targeting Muslim Canadian women.

Bill 62, which the Justice Minister described as a North American first, requires one’s face to be uncovered when giving or receiving public services. The law marks the outcome of a contentious, decade-long debate about the place of religious minorities in Quebec.

Details of how the law would apply have yet to be worked out, but critics are concerned it will empower civil servants such as front-line hospital workers to refuse service to a woman in a niqab or burka.

The Justice Minister, Stéphanie Vallée (above), confirmed that the law would apply to anyone taking a city bus. “To take public transit, you have to have your face uncovered. All through the ride,” Ms. Vallée said on Wednesday.

The Liberals used their majority in the Quebec National Assembly to adopt the law on Wednesday, 66 to 51. The opposition parties voted against it, with the Parti Québécois and Coalition Avenir Québec saying it didn’t go far enough.

The legislation is already being criticized by Muslim organizations, civil-rights groups and Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre, whose city will bear the brunt of the law’s provisions as home to most of Quebec’s immigrants. He called the idea of a city librarian turning away a woman in a face covering “totally unacceptable.”

Legal experts say they expect the law to be challenged in court.

“I have never seen a more flagrantly unconstitutional law,” Montreal human-rights lawyer Julius Grey said in an interview. “The law scandalizes me. The possibility that somebody could be refused service at a hospital or be thrown off a bus [because of a face veil] is scandalous.”

Bill 62 is presented as a state religious neutrality law and sets out to provide a framework for religious accommodation requests. However, it’s the requirement to uncover one’s face, which effectively targets Muslim women, that has stirred the greatest disagreements.

The law doesn’t identify specific types of garb that would be forbidden, although the Justice Minister suggested it could extend to bandanas and even dark glasses. Still, the fact the rule is contained within a religious neutrality law suggests the legislation is aimed at articles of faith.

Ihsaan Gardee , executive director of the National Council of Canadian Muslims

The executive director of the National Council of Canadian Muslims, Ihsaan Gardee, said the legislation targets a religious minority already facing a significant spike in hate crimes in Canada, one still recovering from the mass shooting of six worshipers in a Quebec City mosque this year.

“It allows voices to marginalize and vilify the Muslim community even further,” Mr. Gardee said in an interview from Ottawa. “What it does is serve to further target a tiny minority of the population for political gain.”

He added: “It’s not the business of the state to be in the wardrobes of the nation.”

The government first tabled Bill 62 in 2015. Initially aimed at services at provincial bodies and institutions, it was later amended to extend to municipalities and transit authorities. Its reach would spread to schools, health institutions and daycares.

Premier Philippe Couillard, who faces an election in less than a year, has been under political pressure amid perceptions of being weak on identity issues. He portrayed the new law as being about communications.

“A covered face isn’t only about religion,” he said.

“You speak to me, I speak to you, I see your face, you see mine. It’s part of communications. It’s a question in my mind that is not solely religious, it’s human,” the Premier said in Quebec City.

The law lets someone with a face covering ask for a religious accommodation, but it can be refused for reasons of security, communications or identification. And the law appears to leave the initial decision to grant or deny a service with front-line public employees.

“That’s the nightmare aspect of it,” Robert Leckey, dean of law at McGill University in Montreal, said in an interview on Wednesday. “I have no doubt that a lot of good-faith public servants will feel pressure to deny service.”

He said Quebec was a pioneering jurisdiction decades ago in bringing in equality measures in its own Charter of Rights, and it was “a shame” it was moving forward with Bill 62.

The Quebec government’s Bill 62 banning face coverings applies to municipal services, including public transit

“It feels sad that it’s pioneering now by stigmatizing a religious minority and trying to restrict their sense of being welcomed into public space, the public sphere and getting public services,” Mr. Leckey said.

Mr. Grey said Quebec didn’t provide evidence that veiled women posed a threat that required legislative action.

“This is an example of people trying to solve problems that don’t exist,” Mr. Grey said. “It’s pure theory and doesn’t answer any social problem or address any definable question. It’s only being done because these things are popular.”

In fact, Ms. Vallée has repeatedly invoked the popularity of Bill 62 to defend it. An Angus Reid poll released this month found that an overwhelming 87 per cent of Quebeckers back the legislation, with francophone respondents particularly supportive. The online survey of 609 Quebeckers was conducted last month. A sample of that size carries a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

“It’s a bill of consensus, that rallies the great majority of Quebeckers,” Ms. Vallée said this month. She insists the law respects the Quebec and Canadian charters.

Ms. Vallée’s office said the guidelines on addressing religious accommodations will be phased in by July 1.

There are already signs of confusion and push-back about applying the law. The union representing Montreal bus drivers said on Wednesday it’s not their members’ job to decide who can board a bus.

“We don’t want bus drivers to become referees and have the responsibility of who gets on or doesn’t get on the bus,” said Ronald Boisrond, a spokesman for the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

While the legislation is said to be about state religious neutrality, the entire debate and vote over the bill unfolded in a legislature where a large crucifix hangs over the Speaker’s chair. Bill 62 specifically protects “elements of Quebec’s cultural heritage, in particular its religious cultural heritage,” meaning that the crucifix will be allowed to remain in place.

By Ryan Remiorz
THE CANADIAN PRESS

Comments

comments

Powered by Facebook Comments

Short URL: http://www.chiangraitimes.com/?p=49537

Posted by Editor
on Oct 19 2017. Filed under World News.
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0.
Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Go to Source

Signs Exclusive Agreement with Canadian Tactical Officers Association on Less Lethal Munitions and Device Purchases for Law Enforcement Training to Canadian, U.S. and Other NATO Agencies

(GlobeNewswire) – Lamperd Less Lethal, Inc. (LLLI), an innovation leader and manufacturer of advanced security solutions,has signed a new agreement with the Canadian Tactical Officers Association (CTOA) for the exclusive use of Lamperd grenades, ammunition and other products inthe training of law enforcement officers from Canada, theUnited States and other NATO countries.This agreement involves the directpurchase of Lamperd products tobe used in CTOA training courses on an ongoing basis, beginning immediately.This agreementalso has the additional benefit ofhelping to introduce Lamperdand its products to many new law enforcement, military, correctional agencies and other users ofsecurity products allowing us to address their specificsituations and meet their supply needs.

Barry Lamperd, CEO of Lamperd Less Lethal, stated, “We wereextremely pleased that representatives of theCanadian Tactical Officers Association could attend our company showcase event, along with many visitors from Canadian and international law enforcement associations.The showcase was very successful, overall.

The CTOA is a non-profit, fraternal organization directed by the needs of Canadian tactical officers and law enforcement. Their goal is to develop a professional network, committed to promoting and coordinating the sharing of information and best practice guidelines amongst law enforcement, corrections, military and security providers, to meet the needs of these organizations and provide access for consultation, expert testimony and tofacilitate effective practical training, based upon the most recent, realistic and relevant skills in crisis and risk management.See more information here:http://www.ctoa.ca.

About the CompanyLamperd Less Lethal, Inc. (LLLI) is a developer, manufacturer and international sales company for advanced less lethal weapons, ammunition and other security products marketed to police, correctional, military and private security forces. The company sells over 300 different products including small & large caliber projectile guns, flash grenades, pepper spray grenades, 37mm & 40mm launching systems and interlocking riot shields. Lamperd also offers advisory services and hands-on training classes run by highly accredited instructors.

Safe Harbor for Forward-Looking Statements:This press release includes forward-looking statements. While these statements are made to convey to the public the company`s progress, business opportunities and growth prospects, readers are cautioned that such forward-looking statements represent management`s opinion. Whereas management believes such representations to be true and accurate based on information and data available to the company at this time, actual results may differ materially from those described. The Company undertakes no obligation to update or revise forward-looking statements to reflect changed assumptions, the occurrence of unanticipated events or changes in future operating results.Important factors that may cause actual results to differ are and will be set forth in the company`s periodic filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.Contact: Lamperd Less Lethal, Inc.Barry Lamperd, President & CEO(519) 344-4445www.lamperdlesslethal.com

(c) All Rights Reserved | 2017 Peoples Media Limited Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (Syndigate.info)., source Middle East & North African Newspapers


Go to Source

Lamperd Less Lethal Signs Exclusive Agreement with Canadian Tactical Officers Association on Less Lethal Munitions and Device Purchases for Law Enforcement Training to Canadian, U.S. and Other NATO Agencies

SARNIA, Ontario, Oct. 17, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Lamperd Less Lethal, Inc. (LLLI), an innovation leader and manufacturer of advanced security solutions, has signed a new agreement with the Canadian Tactical Officers Association (CTOA) for the exclusive use of Lamperd grenades, ammunition and other products in the training of law enforcement officers from Canada, the United States and other NATO countries. This agreement involves the direct purchase of Lamperd products to be used in CTOA training courses on an ongoing basis, beginning immediately.   This agreement also has the additional benefit of helping to introduce Lamperd and its products to many new law enforcement, military, correctional agencies and other users of security products allowing us to address their specific situations and meet their supply needs.  

Barry Lamperd, CEO of Lamperd Less Lethal, stated, “We were extremely pleased that representatives of the Canadian Tactical Officers Association could attend our company showcase event, along with many visitors from Canadian and international law enforcement associations. The showcase was very successful, overall.”

The CTOA is a non-profit, fraternal organization directed by the needs of Canadian tactical officers and law enforcement. Their goal is to develop a professional network, committed to promoting and coordinating the sharing of information and best practice guidelines amongst law enforcement, corrections, military and security providers, to meet the needs of these organizations and provide access for consultation, expert testimony and to facilitate effective practical training, based upon the most recent, realistic and relevant skills in crisis and risk management.  See more information here: http://www.ctoa.ca.

About the Company 

Lamperd Less Lethal, Inc. (LLLI) is a developer, manufacturer and international sales company for advanced less lethal weapons, ammunition and other security products marketed to police, correctional, military and private security forces. The company sells over 300 different products including small & large caliber projectile guns, flash grenades, pepper spray grenades, 37mm & 40mm launching systems and interlocking riot shields. Lamperd also offers advisory services and hands-on training classes run by highly accredited instructors. 

Safe Harbor for Forward-Looking Statements: 

This press release includes forward-looking statements. While these statements are made to convey to the public the company’s progress, business opportunities and growth prospects, readers are cautioned that such forward-looking statements represent management’s opinion. Whereas management believes such representations to be true and accurate based on information and data available to the company at this time, actual results may differ materially from those described. The Company undertakes no obligation to update or revise forward-looking statements to reflect changed assumptions, the occurrence of unanticipated events or changes in future operating results. Important factors that may cause actual results to differ are and will be set forth in the company’s periodic filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. 

Contact: Lamperd Less Lethal, Inc. 

Barry Lamperd, President & CEO 
(519) 344-4445 
www.lamperdlesslethal.com 

/EIN News/ —


Go to Source

Canadian Lawmakers Say Pro-Russia Group Tried to Derail Sanctions Law Despite the pressure, Parliament passed a bill to bar Canadians from business dealings with foreigners who have committed human rights violations.

… written scores of letters to Canadian politicians and articles that lobbied … Canadian prisons could be used as a basis for sanctions against Canadian … affairs minister, said the new Canadian law would enable Canada to hold … all iterations of the law, including the Canadian legislation.
Reached by email …
Go to Source

Law and Order: Canadian accused of stealing golf cart, getting into accident at Darien Lake

Hofford Lindsay Ian, 53, of Bluff Trail, Nobleton, Ontario, Canada, is charged with: DWI; unauthorized use of a vehicle; leaving scene of an accident; refusal to take breath test; and moving from lane unsafely. Ian allegedly drove a golf cart without the owner’s permission while at Darien Lake. While operating the golf car, Ian allegedly struck another vehicle and left the scene of the accident. He was jailed on $5,000 cash bail or $10,000 bond. 

Melissa R. Reinard, 24, of Pine Ridge Road, Cheektowaga, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, and speeding. Reinard was stopped for allegedly driving 53 in a 35-mph zone in Corfu by Officer Richard Retzlaff.

Galen Bena Sundown, 24, of Council House Road, Tonawanda Indian Reservation, is charged with: DWI; driving with a BAC of .18 or greater; unreasonable speed; drinking alcohol in a motor vehicle; and driving on public highway while using a mobile phone. Sundown was reportedly involved in a personal-injury accident at 2:34 a.m. Sunday on Council House Road, Alabama. The accident was investigated by Deputy Howard Wilson and Deputy Howard Carlson.

Sandra J. Kessler, 45, of Lewiston Road, Batavia, is charged with DWI and driving while impaired by drugs. Kessler was arrested following an investigation of a reported suspicious condition on Ellicott Street, Batavia, by Deputy Howard Wilson, at 11:12 p.m. on Friday.

Anthony Professor Blackwell, 39, of George Urban Boulevard, Cheektowaga, is charged with criminal mischief, 3rd. Blackwell turned himself in on a warrant. He was jailed on $5,000 bail.

Go to Source

Canadian Securities Regulators Outline Securities Law Requirements That May Apply To Cryptocurrency Offerings

The Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) today published CSA Staff Notice 46-307 Cryptocurrency Offerings, which outlines how securities law requirements may apply to initial coin offerings (ICOs), initial token offerings (ITOs), cryptocurrency investment funds and the cryptocurrency exchanges trading these products.

The notice describes the factors CSA staff consider in assessing whether prospectus, registration and marketplace requirements apply. It also outlines how the CSA Regulatory Sandbox can help fintech businesses contemplating such offerings and summarizes key issues that businesses should be prepared to discuss with CSA staff.

“The technology behind cryptocurrency offerings has the potential to generate new capital raising opportunities for businesses and we welcome this type of innovation,” said Louis Morisset, CSA Chair and President and CEO of the Autorité des marchés financiers. “Given the growing activity in this novel area, we are publishing guidance to help fintech businesses understand what obligations may apply under securities laws.”

Any business that is planning to raise capital through an ICO or ITO, or that is seeking to establish a cryptocurrency investment fund, should consider whether it involves a security. Businesses should also contact their local securities regulatory authority to discuss possible approaches to complying with securities laws.

The CSA Regulatory Sandbox is an initiative of the CSA to support fintech businesses seeking to offer innovative products, services and applications in Canada.

The CSA, the council of securities regulators of Canada’s provinces and territories, coordinates and harmonizes regulation for the Canadian capital markets.

Go to Source

Canadian Muslims Abused By Their Government Have To Rely On The Law

Canadian Muslims live in a country where citizens generally enjoy equality and freedom. But sometimes they are forced to turn to the courts in order to protect themselves from abuse from their own government. For this blessing they have to thank the country’s judicial system and former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, who left behind the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as his legacy for Canadians for all times to come.

The most recent example is that of Omar Khadr, a Canadian citizen, whom the government has agreed to compensate and to whom it has apologized for violating his rights and for being complicit in his severe abuse by U.S. authorities. The government had to do so because the Supreme Court of Canada decreed that the government had violated Khadr’s “most fundamental rights,” acted “contrary to Canada’s international human rights obligations” and offended “the most basic Canadian standards.”

Khadr was 15 when he was taken to Afghanistan by his notorious father, Ahmed Khadr. Omar, a child soldier who had himself been injured, allegedly hurled a grenade in a battlefield against American forces. He was captured by U.S. forces and detained by U.S. authorities for 10 years in Guantanamo Bay where he was tortured. Canadian officials interviewed him there and passed on their findings to U.S. authorities.



Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press
Omar Khadr walks out the front door of his lawyer Dennis Edney’s home to speak the media in Edmonton, Alta. on Thursday, May 7, 2015.

On his return to Canada, Khadr sued the government. After the courts ruled in 2010 that Canadian officials violated his rights, the government decided to settle the matter by issuing a public apology and by paying him some $10 million in compensation last month.

This trend started in 2007 when the government paid Canadian citizen Maher Arar $10.5 million and another $1 million for his legal costs. This came after a Canadian judge blamed Canadian authorities for their role in the U.S. arresting Arar, when he was passing through the U.S., and shipping him to Syria where he was tortured. The judicial inquiry found that Arar had done no wrong and that the Canadian government was partly responsible for his plight. Arar sued the government on his return to Canada and the government settled out of court.

The government took the same action this year with three other Canadian Muslims, Abdullah Almalki, Ahmed El Maati and Muayyed Nureddin. They sued the government after an inquiry, led by former Supreme Court justice Frank Iacobucci, declared that Canadian officials’ actions had contributed to the torture of these Canadians in Syria and Egypt. They launched a $100-million suit against the government that had to apologize to them and pay compensation because of its role in their torture.



Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press
Abousfian Abdelrazik comments on the U.N. decision to remove his name from terrorism blacklist during a news conference Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011 in Montreal, Que.

This year the government also settled out of court one of two lawsuits by Canadian citizen Abousfian Abdelrazik, who was stranded in Sudan — sometimes in jail — because the Canadian government made his return to Canada impossible. A federal court judge intervened and the Conservative government had to relent in 2009.

Two years ago, the Conservative government also settled out of court with now-Canadian citizen Benamar Benatta. In 2001, Canadian authorities handed over Benatta, who was then a refugee claimant from Algeria, to the FBI as a terror suspect. The Americans kept him in jail for nearly five years before finding that he was not a terrorist. He then returned to Canada.

In all these cases the government settled out of court because the judiciary found Canada complicit in the mistreatment or torture of its own innocent citizens.

This year, the National Council of Canadian Muslims also settled the libel lawsuit that it had filed against the former Conservative government and Jason MacDonald, director of communications for former prime minister Stephen Harper.

Canadian Muslims remain thankful to be living in a country where their rights are safeguarded by the courts and by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, a legacy of former prime minister Pierre Trudeau.

MacDonald had made a statement in January 2014 implying a link between NCCM and terrorist organizations. The NCCM then sued MacDonald and the government.

This March, NCCM reached an agreement with MacDonald. It is not known what compensation was paid to NCCM. But a joint statement by MacDonald and NCCM was issued that said in part:

“Mr. MacDonald accepts that his statement in January of 2014 does not accurately reflect the activities of the NCCM, its Board of Directors or its employees….

Jason MacDonald accepts that the NCCM is a Canadian Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization committed to civic engagement and the promotion of human rights; that the NCCM is an important contributor to public discourse on issues that impact diverse Canadian communities; and that the NCCM categorically condemns terrorism, violent extremism, and all individuals and groups who espouse violent goals.”

Canadian Muslims remain thankful to be living in a country where their rights are safeguarded by the courts and by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, a legacy of former prime minister Pierre Trudeau. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau remains popular with Canadians. But it is his late father Pierre whose priceless legacy of the Charter keeps Canadians safe from abuse, sometimes by their own government.

Also on HuffPost:

Suggest a correction

Go to Source

Baby delivered by C-section after attack on mother is homicide victim under Canadian law

A baby in Montreal who died shortly after delivery by caesarean section after the mother was repeatedly stabbed is considered a homicide victim under Canadian law.

Even though the stabbing occurred while the fetus was in the womb, and not legally considered a human being, the alleged attacker was able to be charged with murder because the baby was born and died only hours after the birth.

Under Canada’s Criminal Code, “a child becomes a human being … when it has completely proceeded, in a living state, from the body of its mother, whether or not (a) it has breathed; (b) it has an independent circulation; or (c) the navel string is severed.”

“So, if the child was alive, even for a moment, outside the child’s mother’s body, it would be considered a legal person such that you could be charged with murdering that child if the child didn’t survive,” said Toronto-based lawyer Daniel Brown, a specialist in criminal law.

Daniel Lerner, a Toronto-based lawyer and former Ontario Crown prosecutor, said that just because the baby wasn’t legally considered a human being when the stabbing occurred doesn’t mean that action didn’t cause the baby’s eventual death.

“If the accused … did an illegal act that caused that human being’s death, then it’s culpable homicide,” he said.

The stabbing of Raja Ghazi, who was seven to eight months pregnant at the time, occurred early Monday in Montreal’s Montreal North neighbourhood. She was taken to hospital, where her child was delivered by C-section. The baby was initially listed in critical condition but died hours later.

Ghazi’s husband, Sofiane Ghazi, 37, has been charged with first-degree murder of the baby and seven other offences, including the attempted murder of his wife, death threats and car theft.

Cases such as this are rare and force the courts to have to contend with the legal definition of human life.

Candice Rochelle Bobb

In May 2016, Candice Rochelle Bobb of Mississauga, Ont., was fatally shot while in the back seat of a car. Her 24-week old baby was delivered by an emergency C-section but died three weeks later.

A case similar to the one in Montreal remains outstanding in Toronto. Last May, Candice Rochelle Bobb was fatally shot while in the back seat of a car. Her 24-week-old baby was delivered by an emergency C-section but died three weeks later. 

The baby’s death was later determined to be a homicide, and Toronto police have said they will lay two murder charges, one for the death of the mother and one for the death of the baby once the perpetrator has been arrested.

No murder charge for death of fetus

The legal situation changes significantly, however, when a fetus doesn’t survive in utero as a result of an act against the mother. 

In those cases, the attacker would not be charged with murder because a fetus is not considered a living person and had not left the body in a living state.

“It would be treated as an aggravating feature on sentencing, that the mother was pregnant and lost the fetus as a result of this,” Brown said. “But it wouldn’t amount to a separate murder charge.

“In order to be found guilty of murder, you have to kill someone who was living.”

In order for the Criminal Code to be in line with abortion rights and for doctors who perform the procedure to not be at risk of being charged with murder, Canada had to precisely define when human life begins.

“So, the only way to do it is to create a bright line when a fetus receives some sort of recognition as a living person,” Brown said.

Implications for abortion rights

There have been unsuccessful attempts to change the Criminal Code and make the death of a fetus a separate offence. Last year, a private member’s bill that would “make it a separate offence to cause injury or death to a pre-born child during the commission of an offence against the child’s mother” was defeated in the House of Commons.

Advocacy groups such as the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada have fought against such proposals, arguing they are attempts to weaken women’s right to an abortion.

Joyce Arthur, president of the organization, said she has no problem with how the Criminal Code is applied to those who are charged in the killing of a baby if an attack on a pregnant woman leads to the baby’s death after it has emerged from the womb.

“I think the law is fair in that sense,” she said.

But Arthur said her group opposes any kind of “fetal homicide law” that would ascribe rights to the fetus. She said if something happens to a fetus while it is inside a woman, it should be considered an attack against “her and her alone” because the fetus is not a human being under the law.

“As soon as you ascribe rights to a fetus, it compromises women’s rights, so that’s what we don’t want.”

Go to Source

Two Canadian men found guilty of polygamy in first test of 127-year-old law

Two men, including one who has 25 wives and 146 children, were convicted of polygamy on Monday in a landmark ruling that upheld Canada’s longstanding ban on the practice.

Winston Blackmore and James Marion Oler, who has five wives, face up to five years in prison after being found guilty in the first real test of the country’s polygamy law, enacted 127 years ago.

Three special prosecutors had been appointed over the past two decades to consider bringing charges against the pair, but they backed down over concerns that the law prohibiting polygamy violated Canadians’ constitutional right to religious freedom.

Those fears were assuaged in 2011 when British Columbia province’s Supreme Court ruled in a reference case that the inherent harms of polygamy justified putting limits on religious freedoms, clearing the way for charges to be filed against Blackmore and Oler three years later.

Winston Blackmore, the religious leader of the controversial polygamous community of Bountiful located near Creston, British Columbia, Canada, shares a laugh with six of his daughters and some of his grandchildren

Credit:
AP

Judge Sheri Ann Donegan of the British Columbia Supreme Court noted in her ruling that the main defendant, Blackmore, did not deny his polygamy.

“His adherence to the practices and beliefs of the FLDS is not in dispute,” she said.

Blackmore spoke briefly to reporters outside the courthouse in Cranbrook after the verdict, saying that he was living his religion and that it was very important to him and his family.

Oler left without speaking to reporters.

Blackmore’s lawyer, Blair Suffredine, had told the court during the trial that he would launch a constitutional challenge of Canada’s polygamy laws if his client was found guilty.

James Oler leaves the court house after a Canadian judge found the former member of a breakaway religious sect guilty of practicing polygamy, in Cranbrook

Credit:
Reuters

The two men are senior figures in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), a polygamist religious sect that broke away from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, also known as the Mormon Church.

The sect has been based for nearly 60 years in the remote, mountainous region of British Columbia near the US border where the community grows, raises or hunts its own food and runs a barter economy.

The Canadian group is part of the same sect led by jailed US polygamist leader Warren Jeffs.

The mainstream Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints abandoned polygamy in 1890.

At the 12-day trial earlier this year, witnesses included mainstream Mormon experts, law enforcement officials who worked on the investigation and Jane Blackmore, a former wife of Winston Blackmore who left the Canadian community in 2003.

[embedded content]

Justice Sheri Ann Donegan praised Jane Blackmore as a highly credible and reliable witness.

“She was a careful witness,” Donegan said. “There was nothing contrived or rehearsed in her answers. She was impartial.”

Much of the evidence in the trial came from marriage and personal records seized by law enforcement at a church compound in Texas in 2008. Donegan disagreed with assertions by Blackmore and his lawyer that the records should be given little or no weight, saying she found them reliable.

Donegan said Winston Blackmore’s adherence to the practices and beliefs of the religious group were never in dispute, nothing that he did not deny his marriages to police in 2009. Blackmore even made two corrections to a detailed list of his alleged wives, she said.

“He spoke openly about his practice of polygamy,” Donegan said. “Mr. Blackmore confirmed that all of his marriages were celestial marriages in accordance with FLDS rules and practices.”

Go to Source