For Immediate Release
VANCOUVER — March 30, 2012 — At its Annual General Meeting on March 25, 2012, the Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association (CPAA) celebrated a successful end to litigation and various accomplishments acting as a voice for the legal rights of Canada’s polyamorous community. The CPAA aims to increase general awareness of polyamory in the coming year and further its role as a resource for polyamory organizers across the country.
At the meeting, which included supporters from across Canada, there was a spirited debate on strategies to increase public awareness about polyamory and its community of predominantly healthy, happy, modern and socially well-integrated families. The CPAA’s new board of directors is representative of its increasingly national advocacy focus, with directors residing in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Nova Scotia.
The AGM noted with much appreciation the retirement of three very hard working members of the association’s leadership team. The organization is “sad to lose them as directors but we are assured of their continued support as members”, says Zoe Duff, a continuing director.
“We have some exciting ideas for events and projects, and an excellent group of members and country-wide supporters who are firmly behind our team,” said Duff. “We’re poly, we’re proud, and we’re going to continue our efforts to tell Canadians and the world that polyamory is here, is growing, and is most likely practiced by someone that you know,” Duff continued.
Incoming director Anlina Sheng points out that while almost all polyamorous relationships are now legal in Canada, “we believe that formalized polyamorous relationships need to be decriminalized as well, and we’re prepared to fight for decriminalization if any polyamorous families or individuals are affected by this law in the future.” Sheng is referring to a ruling by BC Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Bauman last year.
The CPAA intervened in BC Supreme Court because the language of a 120-year-old Canadian Criminal Code statute — which was aimed at patriarchal polygamy — could capture the modern, egalitarian and secular relationships practiced by polyamorists. Bauman ruled in November 2011 that the law does not apply to unformalized polyamorous relationships.
In a court process called a “reference”, in 2009 the BC government put a question to the BC Supreme Court to test 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 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 may take a great 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, and free choice for everyone involved.
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 similar ratio 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 a non profit society, incorporated in the province of British Columbia.
The CPAA was founded in 2009 and has active members, volunteers, and supporters from across Canada.