Canadians often believe that their country is accepting, tolerant, and forward-thinking. Contradicting those very values, Canada was pushed backwards on July 24, 2017. Lone British Columbia Supreme Court Justice Sheri Ann Donegan found two Mormon polygamists "guilty of polygamy." Winston Blackmore, 60, was married to 25 women, and James Oler, 53, was married to five women. This case involved no real crimes - no underage marriage, no welfare abuse, nothing. Because each charge was only about polygamy as a supposed crime, the defendants never denied the polygamy in court either.
The most visibly evident negative issue working against the two men is their past connection to the FLDS, the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints, as led by the notorious now-jailed criminal Warren Jeffs in the US. In Bountiful, British Columbia, Canada, the men lead their own isolated Mormon religious sect, which originated as a satellite community of that FLDS cult, but from which a schism of members later rejected and broke away.
It is in that connection, therefore, that the issue of polygamy is confused and conflated in the context of cults and other real crimes. For this reason, when defendants Blackmore and Oler claim "religious liberty" as their defense for polygamy, it falls on deaf ears. But neither is there such a charge as "cult polygamy" nor are there other crimes charged. The "guilty of polygamy" finding is so generalized and so broad-based that it even criminalizes non-cult, non-religious, unrelated consenting adults making a free choice of polygamy that could actually work for them in a modern western society.
News reports of the two guilty-findings have referred to the Decision as being made by the British Columbia Supreme Court. Thereby, such news reports impute and imply a greater sense of "authority" to the "finding of guilty" Decision. Actually, that court is a superior court in the province of British Columbia not the top-level Supreme Court of Canada. Provinces in Canada are comparable to States in the US. Moreover, the Decision was not made by a panel of "Supreme Court Justices;" it was decided by one lone Justice, Sheri Ann Donegan.
It can be said that Justice Donegan's "hands were tied" because of a previous lone-decision made by another lone Justice at the B.C. Supreme Court.
"CONSTITUTIONAL-REFERENCE" CASE USED BIASED PROFESSORS
Before these cases could be decided, the British Columbia provincial government opened a "constitutional-reference" case before the Supreme Court in British Columbia in 2009. They requested for it to be determined whether or not Canada's 1890 anti-polygamy law was "constitutional" with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Canada's broader equivalent to US Bill of Rights).
On Monday, July 19, 2010, the Vancouver Sun reported the following speculative hyperbole as news:
"Increased crime, prostitution and anti-social behaviour. Greater inequality between men and women. Less parental investment in children. And, a general driving down of the age of marriage for all women. These are some of the harms of polygamy (or more correctly, polygyny, since it is almost always men marrying more than once) that are outlined in a 45-page research paper by noted Canadian scholar Joseph Henrich, filed Friday [July 16, 2010] in B.C. Supreme Court. Henrich is uniquely qualified to look at polygamy's harm. He's a member of the departments of economics, psychology and anthropology at the University of British Columbia and holds the Canada Research Chair in Culture, Cognition and Coevolution. But he'd never really thought about it until this year..."
Imagine that. In his opening remarks on Page 3 of the legal affidavit, Henrich confirmed and confessed, "I have never before written or published on polygamy." His admittedly-inexperienced, biased testimony was received as the so-called "expert" on the "need" for anti-polygamy laws to criminalize the free choice of unrelated consenting adults.
In the United States, on September 1, 2010, I (Mark Henkel), as the established National Polygamy Advocate , authored a 5000-word must-read refutation, titled, "Scholar's Anti-Polygamy Report for Court is Discredited." In it, I explained, "The report regurgitated the unproven 'unmarried criminals' theory without source-attribution, used the same flawed interpretation technique which [Henrich's] other published academic research denounced, and contradicted established economic principles and easily available evidence in Western societies that actually indicate an under-supply of men who want to marry women."
GOVERNMENT FEARED "RELIGIOUS LIBERTY" DEFENSE
As that "constitutional-reference" case advanced over that subsequent year, the B.C. government grew afraid of the "religious liberty" defense against the anti-polygamy law. On January 10, 2011, Canada's CBCNews reported, "The B.C. government's own lawyer has conceded that, if the prohibition dating back to 1890 is in fact a religious law originally intended to impose Christianity onto society, it must be struck down."
So, the government brought in another professor to serve their bidding: John Witte Jr., a law professor of Emery College in the US. Fulfilling his function for the government, Witte testified that anti-polygamy laws were somehow "pre-Christian" and therefore were not "religious" in nature, despite the contradicting historic fact of anti-polygamy being later imposed by Catholicism-controlled governments.
On January 17, 2011, only one week after Witte's January 10, 2011, testimony, I (Mark Henkel), speaking as the National Polygamy Advocate , gave a speech followed by a Q&A with non-polygamists, titled, "2 Professors' Opinions NOT Based on Evidence." Therein, I noted how Professor Witte's assertion of attributing anti-polygamy to the Greeks was directly discredited by none other than Professor Henrich's testimony in the same case.
Namely, six months before Witte's 2011 testimony, Henrich had testified, "While Greek monogamy limited each male citizen to a single wife, it was considered acceptable to import sex slaves, which wealthy men did."
HOW ONE BIASED PROFESSOR DISCREDITED OTHER BIASED PROFESSOR
As an aside for further insight about this specific detail, when Witte prepared to write an anti-polygamy book for profit two years later, I authored yet another essay on March 8, 2013, titled, "Another Anti-Polygamist Scholar is Discredited."
That article further explained, "So, by Henrich's testimony stating that that 'strange "Greek idea"' did not even prohibit polygamy, it was not an exclusivity of only one-man/one-woman. It only limited marriage for poor men to only marry one local woman each; it was neither society-wide nor having anything to do with contemporary egalitarian ideals. As Henrich's testimony unintentionally revealed, that limited 'Greek monogamy' was, ultimately, just a simple socialism/re-distribution of local women among the poor men excluding the nobility and foreign women. Hence, that Greek experiment - on which Witte's point so relied - is actually more accurately described as being 'one-poor-man/one-local-woman.' All the while, as Henrich put it, 'polygyny was common.'"
Indeed. Professor Henrich had actually testified that "polygyny was common."
As such, neither of these inexperienced, obviously-biased professors' testimonies should have carried any weight whatsoever having been so thoroughly discredited. Horrifyingly, though, their testimonies were deemed sufficient for the eventual Decision.
CRIMINALIZING POLYGAMY DECLARED "CONSTITUTIONAL" IN CANADA
On November 23, 2011, the lone B.C. Supreme Court Justice Robert Bauman decided that polygamy could be justifiably criminalized under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. As the Vancouver Sun explained that same day, Justice Bauman perceived the never-proven propaganda that polygamy "encourages abuse of women, endangers children and creates an underclass of dangerously ostracized young men."
Anti-polygamists everywhere were over-joyed that their biased hostile propaganda could thereby be regurgitated repeatedly from the Decision of this one lone judge. Indeed, during the run up of the 2011-2017 "Sister Wives" polygamy case of Brown v. Buhman in the United States, prior to its previous court-victories being declined in January 2017 on "mooted legal standing" technicalities by the US Supreme Court, anti-polygamous arguments made in the case specifically cited Justice Bauman's B.C. Supreme Court's 2011 Decision and its outrageous, biased, and never-proven justifications.
Hence, with this "B.C. Supreme Court clarification" in 2011 achieved by the government, that the "crime" of polygamy could indeed obtain a "constitutional" conviction in Canada, the cases against Blackmore and Oler were then easily re-kickstarted.
NOT REPRESENTATIVE OF UCAP POLYGAMY
Here in the United States, the National Polygamy Rights Movement for Unrelated Consenting Adults has always had to proverbially hold a "slightly held-back arm of hesitation" when it comes to the Bountiful Mormon polygamy cases. This is because UCAP, Unrelated Consenting Adult Polygamy, has always opposed and rejected the FLDS as a cult with other real criminal situations to prosecute.
At the same time, as many families at Bountiful have broken away from the FLDS, that correctly good action must be acknowledged as a positive. Most importantly, the Blackmore and Oler cases only involved adults and no other real crimes, which is a true positive indeed.
But acknowledgement of positive moves does not equate with embracing the structures and methods by which - and how - they apply polygamy or cultishly organize their isolated group.
The "should-be legality" of UCAP, Unrelated Consenting Adult Polygamy, cannot be defined in any context of the mind-surrendering methods of the isolated Mormon-based Bountiful group. One cannot legitimately super-impose what that one group "does" with polygamy upon other consenting adult polygamists any more than one can validly super-impose it upon the larger secular society. No, mainstream society would never "do" de-criminalized Unrelated Consenting Adult Polygamy in the same way as the Bountiful group "does" polygamy. Hence, Blackmore's and Oler's cases are neither accurate nor appropriate cases to represent the defense of "typical UCAP polygamy." Likewise, their cases are neither accurate nor appropriate to represent being "found guilty of polygamy" in all forms either. Moreover, the "religious liberty" defense in a cult-control context ("cult polygamy") cannot equate with an otherwise rational use as defense for everyday Unrelated Consenting Adult Polygamy.
Nevertheless, it is of undeniable relief to UCAPs that these cases did neither involve minors nor other real crimes.
"GUILTY OF POLYGAMY" IN CANADA IN 2017
With neither defendant denying his polygamy, compounded with Justice Bauman's 2011 "clarification" of the anti-polygamy law's "Canadian constitutionality," one could say that Justice Donegan had little option but to find Blackmore and Oler both "guilty of polygamy" on July 24, 2017.
In doing so, however, normal everyday UCAP is subsequently prosecutable. Unrelated Consenting Adult Polygamists are tyrannically pushed into hiding by a bias-sourced Decision regarding an isolated Mormon group's methods and reasons for polygamy all of which UCAPs would never apply.
Worse, as citizens in both Canada and the US discuss the term, "polygamy," many will exploit this 2017 Decision to hereinafter suggest (propagandize, really) that it "also" relevantly applied to all UCAPs, despite the fact that the only connection was that the "found-guilty" polygamists of Bountiful committed no other real crimes and only married adults.
The Decision will likely be appealed up to the Canadian Supreme Court where these important issues could possibly be corrected. But until and unless such appeal actually and successfully happens, this "guilty of polygamy" Decision currently moves Canada backwards no longer accepting, tolerant, and forward-thinking.
Canadian polygamous leader found guilty of having 25 wives
Former Religious Sect Leader With 25 Wives Found Guilty of Polygamy in Canada
Two former bishops guilty of polygamy involving isolated sect in Bountiful, B.C.
Polygamy is harmful to society, scholar finds
Polygamy ruling won't be appealed
Affidavit #1 of Joseph Henrich, July 15, 2010
Scholar's Anti-Polygamy Report for Court is Discredited
Polygamy produces a host of social ills, court told
Polygamy ban centuries old, B.C. court told
2 Professors' Opinions NOT Based on Evidence
Another Anti-Polygamist Scholar is Discredited
B.C. court upholds anti-polygamy law as constitutional
Supreme Court Declined to Hear 'Sister Wives' Polygamy case
Polygamy should never be linked with religious freedom
FLDS was Always Opposed by National Polygamy Movement - Quotes
Warren Jeffs was Always Opposed by National Polygamy Movement
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