Poly Love may be Criminalized in Canada. The Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association is asking for both funds and community support to resist this attack on our community.
Please fundraise or donate! Consider holding a poly community pub night or event for the CPAA. We have been operating a very tight, totally volunteer driven campaign on a very limited budget and we’re now starting to have expenses in excess of our $1,100 of seed money. (see below for more info on what we’ve managed to do on those funds! Holy cow!) For continued effective and more fulsome representation on this issue, a donation of any amount would be very helpful. Please send a Paypal payment to firstname.lastname@example.org or send email to email@example.com for instructions on how to send a cheque.
Trial begins November 22! Consider organizing a community event that day or the weekend before to celebrate polyamory and show your support. Send us pictures or a blurb. Talk with your MLA or your MP about polyamory and tell them that loving families should not be criminalized just because they involve more than 2 adults in a marriage-like relationship. Our governments need to know that ordinary Canadians do not want poly to be criminal.
Background: As many of you will recall, the Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association (CPAA) was formed by well known people in the polyamory community to advocate for polyamory in the Canadian court case on Canada’s criminal law against multiple, conjugal living arrangements and polygamy (s. 293 Criminal Code). The court is going to be giving its opinion on whether the law breaches the Charter of Rights and is unconstitutional.
The CPAA’s view is that the law absolutely affects the fundamental freedoms and rights of polyamorists and should be struck down. Loving, families should not be criminalized just because they involve more than 2 adults in a marriage-like relationship.
While the law has seldom been enforced (and was recently aimed at fundamentalist Mormons in BC), scarily it promises 5 year jail sentences to participants, and those assisting/attending celebrations. Visit the Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association facebook page or our website at polyadvocacy.ca for more information.
Litigation activities and updates: A small group of us got together and formed the CPAA. We got:
-donated seed funds of $1100, now spent on activities (see below)
-a volunteer pro bono lawyer (for a limited amount of time)
-obtained “interested person” status in court
-did a survey of the Canadian poly community which we put into court as evidence
–found 5 witness families from across Canada to swear affidavits about their family stories into court (more volunteered too, thank you!)
–made a pre-trial application to ask the governments to clarify whether they believe polyamorous families’ are criminals under the law (application refused BUT the good news is that the application helped us clarify to media and others that polyamory is very different culturally and in practice than in religious, patriarchal polygamy).
-put into court a 500 page brief of expert and social science evidence as well as 4 books
We are now preparing for the court dates beginning November 22. This includes identifying the witnesses we propose to call and to cross-examine and preparing 2 statements of submission.
Government position: The governments of BC and Canada have so far refused to say that polyamorous conjugal households are not criminal under s. 293. Canada has said nothing about its position on the law but is expected to argue that it applies to polyamorous relationships and is constitutional. BC says s. 293 does criminalize polyamorous households. However, if necessary (if the court thinks 293 breaches the Charter of Rights), then BC might take the position that the law should not be applied to polyamorous relationships. That doesn’t make us feel very safe. Even worse, BC has since put forward evidence and made statements at the pre-trial hearing indicating it might argue that polyamory should be included in the criminal law, particularly polyamorous households in which there is one man and more than one woman (polygnous arrangements).
Please feel free to email us if you have any questions or concerns (firstname.lastname@example.org). We also have forums open on our website