Election Questionnaire Full Report

The Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association (CPAA) sent the following questions and backgrounder to all the Federal Parties registered in the October 19, 2015, general election. There were 23 Federal Parties registered.

For the following three questions, each party was asked to provide their written answers to info@polyadvocacy.ca by Tuesday, October 13, 2015, and where advised that their responses would be made available to our membership in their entirety and quoted in part or in whole on our website and in social media.

  1. Given that, in BC, unformalized polyamorous relationships have been decriminalized, in many provinces the polygamy law is being used as a threat to ensure that families comply with unfair custody and property arrangements, particularly in divorces. The law insists that three or more adults, in a household, is a criminal office. They are denied benefits and insurance for family dependants.

    Do you support families making their own decisions on how to organize themselves and decriminalize more that two adults living together?

  1. Currently, laws in this country do not consistently recognize more than two adults as family partners and this negatively affects their rights in estate law, insurance, power of attorney, children guardianship, and property ownership. There are tens of thousands of Canadian families that have more than two adults in a household, including relatives and other family members of choice, who cannot claim as dependents, other adults on insurance plans, or on their estates as equal partners.

    Do you support changing tax and other laws to give divers Canadian families more control of their own resources and property, as well as having more security in their children’s lives?

  1. Currently, according to Canadian criminal law, more than two adults cohabiting in a household can be charged with polygamy — even if they have no sexual relationship. This 100 year old law would not survive a constitutional challenge according to the same lawyer panel that ruled that same sex marriage was required under the Canadian charter. Although until recently only two persons have ever been charged under this law, it is applied unevenly in the provinces as a threat that has taken away children from their homes and thrown families out into the street.

    Do you support the repeal of the polygamy law in Canada as unconstitutional and archaic?

If you have any questions, or need more information, please contact:
Zoe Duff, CPAA Spokesperson: zaeduff@polyadvocacy.ca

 

Backgrounder

  • In a court process called a “reference”, in 2009 the BC government asked the BC Supreme Court to rule on the constitutionality of Section 293 of the Criminal Code of Canada (the so called “polygamy law”). The Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association (CPAA) intervened in that court proceeding on behalf of polyamory and polyamorous Canadians.
  • On Nov 23, 2011, Chief Justice Bauman released his ruling on the constitutionality of Section 293 and ruled that the law does not apply to unformalized polyamorous relationships.
  • It is the CPAA’s position that adults should be free to choose to enter into multi partner intimate relationships without state interference as long as they are freely consenting and there is no criminal exploitation or abuse. Canadians have Charter rights to do so (rights of association, religion, equality, and of life, liberty and security of the person).
  • Polyamory (“many loves”) is the practice, desire, or acceptance of having more than one intimate relationship at a time with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved. Among the concepts critical to the understanding of consent and of ethical behaviour within polyamory are gender equality, self-determination, free relationship choice for all involved, mutual trust, and equal respect among partners.
  • Polyamory is very different in philosophy from the patriarchal polygamy practiced in religious communities such as at Bountiful, BC. Polyamorous relationships take a greater variety of forms and are based on individual choice. In polyamory, women are free to choose more than one male partner and vice versa. And women are among the most active facilitators in polyamorous communities. Polyamory, which tends to be secular, is grounded in gender equality, self-determination, free choice for everyone involved, and is fully supportive and inclusive of the LGBTTIQQ2SA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer, Questioning, Two Spirit, Asexual/Ally) spectrum.
  • Newsweek Magazine reported that polyamory is a thriving phenomenon in the United States, with over half a million families openly living in relationships that are between multiple consenting partners. It is our experience that there is a proportionate number of polyamorists in Canada’s population. See http://www.newsweek.com/id/209164/.
  • The CPAA advocates on behalf of Canadians who practice polyamory. It promotes legal, social, government, and institutional acceptance and support of polyamory, and advances the interests of the Canadian polyamorous community generally. It is an incorporated non-profit society.
  • The CPAA was founded in 2009 and has active members, volunteers, and supporters from across Canada.

For more information or to contact the CPAA, visit http://polyadvocacy.ca or email info@polyadvocacy.ca

The CPAA is on Facebook at http://facebook.com/polyadvocacy

 

Party Responses

The contact information and responses from each of the parties are as follows:

Federal Party Status
1. Alliance of the North
<alliancedunord2012@yahoo.ca>
http://alliancedunord.ca/adnen.html
Did not respond.
2. Animal Alliance Environment Voters Party of Canada
<liz@environmentvoters.org>
www.environmentvoters.org
Did not respond.
3. Bloc Québécois
form at http://www.blocquebecois.org/contact
http://www.blocquebecois.org
Did not respond.
4. Canada Party
<jim.pankiw@canadaparty.ca>
http://www.canada-party.ca – site down
http://canadaparty.ca/ – site works, but no email address
Did not respond.
5. Canadian Action Party
<nevilleaction@actionparty.ca>, jeremy.arney@actionparty.ca, jeff.sakula@actionparty.ca, john.shadbolt@actionparty.ca
www.canadianactionparty.org
From: “Jeff S” <jsakula@sympatico.ca>
Date: October 8, 2015

We don’t have a policy on this and doing one in the middle of an election is impossible but as a Candidate, my own personal beliefs on this ?Yes the present laws are probably archaic re: Multiple adults living together

Just as government has no place in the bedroom, they need to butt out of relationships as well.

But If a polyamory group seeks benefits then a contract must be worked out

As long as the laws protect children, I don’t see a problem with full legalization of this type of living arrangement.

Basically a commune. Right ?

Jeff Sakula, Barrie Candidate

6. Christian Heritage Party of Canada
<info@chp.ca>
form at https://www.chp.ca/contact
http://www.chp.ca
From: Executive Director CHP Canada
<ExecutiveDirector@chp.ca>
Date: October 8, 2015 at 1:02:39 PM PDT

Thank you for your enquiry.

CHP Canada recognizes a marriage to consist of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others. We do not recognize polyamorous relationships as beneficial to those involved or for children involved.

With that in mind, we would respond negatively to all of your questions.

Thanks so much

Vicki Gunn
Executive Director
CHP Canada

7. Communist Party of Canada
<info@cpc-pcc.ca>
http://communist-party.ca
From: Kimball Cariou
Date: October 14, 2015 at 9:37:49 AM PDT
To: info@polyadvocacy.ca, zaeduff@polyadvocacy.ca
Subject: about the CPAA questionnaire – a personal response

To: Zoe Duff

I’m one of the Communist Party of Canada candidates in the current federal election, running in Vancouver Kingsway. (See more at www.communist-party.ca). Our party received the CPAA questions, but unfortunately we aren’t able to provide a comprehensive reply. Essentially, the problem is that we are a very small party, with a leadership body stretched beyond our limits trying to run a campaign for 28 candidates across the country. We receive a lot of questionnaires from organizations during an election, and usually we assign individual members of our executive to draft responses based on our standing policies. But occasionally we get questions about issues for which we do not have established policies. Sometimes we are able to have some collective discussion and then frame a reply, but during the last couple of weeks this has been impossible.

That said, this is a topic which interests me, so I am taking the opportunity to send you my own personal comments. Please do not report that these comments represent the view of the Communist Party, since this topic must first be debated in more detail by our members when we renew our program (our basic political document), a process which is scheduled to take place over the next 3 years. Democracy is a necessary but often time-consuming activity!

Some thoughts. Our Party is based on Marxist theory, including the scientific research and writings of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels. In our view, the 19th century writings by Engels on gender relations (“Origin of the Family” in particular), although based on the limits of scientific study of the time, remain valid. This classic Marxist position is that the family form of modern capitalist society basically arises from the historic shift to male privilege and power which was associated with the transition from hunting and gathering economies to agricultural-based societies. This transition included formalizing a sexual division of labour which placed ownership of property and wealth in the hands of those with weapons and military power – almost always males. Over time, male-dominated ruling classes institutionalized forms of marriage which protected their property and the inheritance rights of their sons. Thus arose the modern day patriarchal nuclear family which is recognized by most religions and states (until recently) as the only acceptable form of marriage. That’s a simplification, of course, and written in some haste, but you get the point. Engels pointed out that modern bourgeois marriage is essentially a form of prostitution, at least in terms of its origins as a legal institution. He loathed the hypocrisy of Victorian times around the sanctity of this family form. And this theoretical position remains an essential piece of the Marxist world outlook. Various communist parties, in power or in opposition, have expressed this policy in their platforms, although sometimes other social dynamics resulted in downplaying or temporarily abandoning this concept.

That’s basically an introduction to the following sentence from our party’s program, in the section which deals with the process of building a socialist society in Canada: “Family law will remove the patriarchal concept of privilege for the heterosexual nuclear family, and instead fully recognize the variety of family forms and sexual orientations.”

This is a shorthand way of indicating that we do not believe that the traditional “one man-one woman” marriage is the only valid form of family. But the fact is that the internal debate which led to the adoption of this program took place in 2000-2001, and some areas of policy were not given much consideration, just due to time pressures. Much has changed since then, including a much wider societal debate around same sex marriage, gender identity and expression, etc. etc. As I said above, we will likely address such topics in more detail in the near future. In the meantime, we have taken strong positions in favour of LGBTTQ+ rights including marriage, freedom of gender and identity expression, etc.

In the meantime…. here is an article which I wrote for People’s Voice newspaper (of which I am the editor) in December 2011. This is a signed article, indicating that it is a personal view, not necessarily reflecting the collective opinions of the Editorial Board of the newspaper or of the Communist Party. None of our readers indicated disagreement at the time. It does reflect the Communist Party’s stated position that the Bountiful patriarchs should be prosecuted for child abuse. But it also reports positively on the views of your organization regarding the wider issues involved in the Bauman ruling.

I hope this is of some interest to you, even if we cannot provide formal written answers to your three questions.

Kimball Cariou, CPC candidate in Vancouver Kingsway, editor of People’s Voice newspaper

9) BAUMAN RULING STRIKES A BETTER BALANCE

By Kimball Cariou

The legal ruling on Canada’s law banning polygamy, handed down by BC Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Bauman on Nov. 23, continues to draw both praise and criticism. Bauman was rendering a highly complex decision on matters which seem related, but are actually very different.

Written in 1890 to target Mormon settlers, S. 293 of the Criminal Code has been unenforced for decades. This vague but sweeping statute provides up to five years in prison for more than two people who are in “any kind of conjugal union.”

The case was launched to test the validity of S. 293 as a tool to address the practices of the patriarchal FLDS Mormon cult based in Bountiful, British Columbia. But the broad scope of the legislation means that it could potentially be used by the state to criminalize large numbers of Canadians who are “guilty” of nothing more than non-monogamous sexual activity, or of participating in family forms which differ from the model promoted by the capitalist state and many religious outlooks.

The Bauman ruling will likely be appealed, perhaps directly up to the Supreme Court of Canada. But it would be unfortunate if a lengthy appeal process delayed prosecutions of the Bountiful patriarchs. The evidence presented to Justice Bauman, and the long history of the FLDS cult in Canada and the U.S., makes it clear that the “plural marriage” Mormon doctrine has long become a convenient cover for a shocking pattern of child rape. The beneficiaries have been a handful of powerful men who supply themselves with “celestial wives” to satisfy their personal desires for sex with young girls. Other victims include the young non-elite males of Bountiful, who are poorly educated, and often must leave their homes and families to seek employment and the chance of normal human relationships elsewhere.

The Bountiful cult is supported financially by the taxpayers of British Columbia, who have unwillingly subsidized the FLDS religious schools for many years. This scandal is a clarion call to end public funding of private religious schools, which violates the principle of separation of church and state. Those who engage in child sex abuse must be prosecuted under relevant Canadian legislation, and the Bauman ruling helps establish that the human rights of women, youth and children trump “religious beliefs”.

The Bountiful cult is an extreme form of patriarchal control over women and children. On one level, this form of “polygamy” parallels the social system under which we live. Capitalism is also a form of human relations based on control by a tiny minority of (mostly male) bosses, who impose a range of forms of exploitation on working people. Unfortunately, the Bountiful abuses have sometimes been lumped together with ideas and practices which are the opposite of patriarchy.

To give one example, a literal reading of S. 293 would seem to open the prosecution of individuals who practise non-monogamous forms of family relations commonly known as polyamory. Such people reject the patriarchal control of women which is sometimes reinforced through marriage, the very institution which Justice Bauman presents as a “core value” of western society.

This part of the ruling raises troublesome questions. Just because a social institution has ideological hegemony, is it above criticism? Given the figures regarding divorce rates, infidelity, violence, and abuse within families, the monogamous nuclear family model is no guarantee for happiness. As Frederick Engels recognized, the subordination of wives and the shift towards the nuclear family from larger kin networks were associated with the historic development of private property.

Other family forms must be considered on their own merits. The Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association (CPAA) was a key intervenor in the case, arguing that many polyamorous women, as well as men, freely choose to have more than one partner. They fear that the wording of the 120-year-old statute might be used to criminalize egalitarian, secular, long-term relationships. Justice Bauman’s decision clarifies that S. 293 does not apply to unformalized polyamorous relationships, although other questions are left unresolved.

“Polyamorists are relieved they can be in loving, egalitarian, conjugal relationships without criminal sanction,” said CPAA legal counsel, John Ince. “Polyamorists who are dealing with immigration or family custody issues for instance now need no longer worry about being considered to be criminals”.

In the CPAA’s view, the real issue is not the number of people in any given relationship; the health of the relationship and family is what matters.
This should be the focus of debate if and when Parliament rewrites polygamy laws. Will a new law be used to impose certain narrow religious precepts on the entire population, at the expense of those who establish non-traditional but freely-chosen relationships? Given the influence of fundamentalist views within the Harper Tory caucus, this could pose serious implications.
In the meantime, the Bauman ruling, on balance, advances the rights of Canadians to be protected against patriarchal exploitation, while also beginning to recognize that adults should not be punished for choosing to love more than one partner.

END

8. Conservative Party of Canada
<info@conservative.ca>
form at http://www.conservative.ca/contact/#contact#contact
http://www.conservative.ca
1-866-808-8407
Oct 9, 2015: Phoned 1-866-808-8407-1-2. Spoke to Michael. They received our email. He checked with a supervisor who said that they can’t prioritize an answer to our emailed questions and may not get to it before our due date of Oct 13th.

Did not respond.

9. Democratic Advancement Party of Canada
<info@democraticadvancementparty.ca>
http://www.democraticadvancementparty.ca
Did not respond.
10. Forces et Démocratie
form at http://www.forcesetdemocratie.org/contact.html
http://www.forcesetdemocratie.org
Did not respond.
11. Green Party of Canada
<info@greenparty.ca>
form at http://www.greenparty.ca/en/contact
http://www.greenparty.ca
613-562-4916
Oct 9, 2015: Called 1-613-562-4916. They received the email on Oct 7, and said it was forwarded to the team that responds to such requests. That team will try to answer it by Oct 13.

Did not respond.

12. Liberal Party of Canada
<assistance@liberal.ca>
form at http://www.liberal.ca/contact
http://www.liberal.ca
1.888.542.3725
October 7, 2015: Info Liberal <info@email.liberal.ca> replied with an automated “…we have received your email. A member of our team will read your message and respond as required, as soon as possible but please know we are experiencing extremely high volumes right now and our response times are longer than normal.” Liberal / Assistance <assistance@liberal.ca> replied with exactly the same automated message.

From: “Justin Trudeau” <info@action.liberal.ca>
Date: October 8, 2015 at 4:20:14 AM PDT
To: <info@polyadvocacy.ca>
Subject: Thank you

Cpaa,

Thank you for believing in our movement to help drive real change for Canada.

You’ve joined millions of Canadians from across the country who, like you, want to put an end to the Harper decade of secrecy, divisiveness, wasteful partisan spending, and economic stagnation.

I’m fighting hard every day to build a Canada we both believe in and your vote is critical to achieving real change.

With Election Day coming up quickly, I need to know if you plan on voting Liberal on October 19

Thank you,

Justin Trudeau
Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada

Oct 9, 2015: 1-888-542-3725-6 called. I said we had received an automated email confirming the receipt of our email They said an email like that would be handled by their survey dept. On request, I gave then Zoe Duff’s name and her phone number, and the email address our questionnaire came from. They said they will reply to the questions as soon as they can.

Did not respond.

13. Libertarian Party of Canada
<info@libertarian.ca>
form at https://www.libertarian.ca/contact-us
https://www.libertarian.ca
From: <david.clement@libertarian.ca>
Date: Mon, Oct 12, 2015 at 6:48 PM
Subject: Re: Contact Us Form: CPAA Election
Questionnaire – CPAA

Hello,
The Libertarian Party has no problem with the peaceful actions of consenting adults. So long as these relationships are voluntary, we so no reason why these arrangements should be denied legal rights.

1) Yes we do support
2) Yes
3) Yes *so long as said arrangements are between consenting adults

Sincerely,
David

14. Marijuana Party
<info@marijuanaparty.ca>
http://www.marijuanaparty.ca
Did not respond.
15. Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada
<info@mlpc.ca>
http://mlpc.ca
Did not respond.
16. New Democratic Party
<info@ndp.ca>
form at http://www.ndp.ca/contact
http://www.ndp.ca
1-866-525-2555
From: Dave Hare <info@ndp.ca>
Date: October 8, 2015 at 1:29:15 PM PDT
To: “CPAA .” <info@polyadvocacy.ca>
Subject: Your voting checklist:

Hi CPAA –

Advance polls open tomorrow. Are you all set?

We put together this graphic to help you get ready, and as you can see it’s easy peasy. You can even display some forms of ID on your mobile phone.

From: Lucy Watson <info@ndp.ca>
Date: October 8, 2015 at 5:46:37 PM PDT
To: “CPAA .” <info@polyadvocacy.ca>
Subject: Thanksgiving plans

CPAA,

If this were any other October, I’d be busy making Thanksgiving plans and enjoying the beautiful autumn sunshine before the snow arrives.

But this is an election year – the longest in Canadian history. So I’m staying put, hunkering down, and committing to doing everything I can to defeat Stephen Harper on October 19th.

Oct 9, 2015: Called 1-866-525-2555-1. The email of contact@ndp.ca was given out with the only other option to leave a message. A detailed message was left including Zoe Duff’s name and number. The automated system said they will call back within 3 days. I sent a forward of the questionnaire to contact@ndp.ca.

Did not respond.

17. “Party for Accountability, Competency and Transparency”
<contact@votepact.ca>
form at https://www.onlineparty.ca/contact.php
http://www.onlineparty.ca
October 7, 2015: Michael Nicula <michael.nicula@votepact.ca> wrote: “PACT is the Online Party of Canada. We don’t just come up with official positions on issues (especially human rights) but we welcome direct input as votes and comments from voters. We posted this issue as an ‘Initiative’ which means it is worth at least a Bill to be introduced in Parliament. You can garner official support by asking your members and supporters to cast a binding vote on our website. We guarantee that our elected MP’s will respect the outcome of the public vote on any issue.”
Post:
https://votepact.ca/#!/post/5615ee143c9751be23d5c95a
18. Pirate Party of Canada
<info@pirateparty.ca>
https://www.pirateparty.ca
Did not respond.
19. Progressive Canadian Party
<info@pcparty.org>
www.pcparty.org
Did not respond.
20. Rhinoceros Party
<info@eatgoogle.com>, info@neorhino.ca
www.neorhino.ca
http://www.eatgoogle.com
October 7, 2015: Martin Jubinville <martinjubinville@gmail.com> replied with “… I am sending your email to Donovan Eckstrom (who, I think, is really ready for polyamory). His email is: RhinoPartyAB@gmail.com”

From: Donovan Eckstrom <rhinopartyab@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, Oct 9, 2015 at 1:39 PM
Subject: Rhinoceros Party Official Response to the CPAA Questionnaire.

Hello,

My name is Donovan Eckstrom and I am the Minister of Polyamory Relations for the Rhinoceros Party of Canada.

Attached are my responses to your questions and I wish you a fabulous election season and a wonderful rest of your life if we don’t keep in contact after this.

Regards,
Donovan

—- Attachment —-

1. Do you support families making their own decisions on how to organize themselves and decriminalize more than two adults living together?

Answer: I’ve often considered the Rhinoceros Party to be a family party and is always of the belief that the more there is the merrier. However, we also think that we can not only decriminalize more than two adults living together but work on aiding the homeless/recently incarcerated as well. In order to help homelessness, polygamy should be mandatory in large cities, with the requirement that at least one of the individuals in the polygamist relationship was formerly homeless or just released from high security prison.

2. Do you support changing tax and other laws to give diverse Canadian families more control of their own resources and property, as well as having more security in their children’s lives?

Answer: Taxes should be changed so that any group with multiple adults living together must change their legal status to “Commune-ists” and legally add “Comrade” as their legal title (instead of Mr. Or Ms.)

3. Do you support the repeal of the polygamy law in Canada as unconstitutional and archaic?

Answer: The Rhinoceros Party supports the repeal of the laws against polygamy. The only catch being we also repeal any laws preventing polytheism, and convert any polygamist home into a polytheist church, with idols and places of worship for the top 15 major religions of the world.

21. Seniors Party of Canada
no web site, couldn’t find an email address
Not contacted.
22. The Bridge Party of Canada
form at http://www.thebridgeparty.ca/feedback
http://www.thebridgeparty.ca
Did not respond.
23. United Party of Canada
<leader@unitedpartyofcanada.com>, president@unitedpartyofcanada.com
form at http://www.unitedpartyofcanada.com/index.php/contact-us
www.unitedpartyofcanada.com
Did not respond.