Ever since I can remember I've heard the comment that there is "no difference" between Canadians and Americans. I respectfully beg to differ as there is a difference on so many levels! We have unique Canadian culture consisting of Canadianisms, a Canadian perspective on world events, Canadian cuisine as well as products and foods only available in Canada. This blog is dedicated to celebrating all things Canadian from "my perspective" as a Canadian. Please enjoy your visit and be sure to visit often.

Garden Gnome
Americans should never underestimate the constant pressure on Canada which the mere presence of the United States has produced. We're different people from you and we're different people because of you. Living next to you is in some ways like sleeping with an elephant. No matter how friendly and even-tempered is the beast, if I can call it that, one is effected by every twitch and grunt. It should not therefore be expected that this kind of nation, this Canada, should project itself as a mirror image of the United States.
- Pierre Trudeau

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

British Columbian Court to Begin Hearins on Polygamy Laws

Winston Blackmore and James Oler, leaders of an obscure fundamentalist Mormon community in Bountiful, British Columbia have the province in a quandary.  This religious group practices polygamy, meaning to have more than one wife.  Blackmore has 19 wives and more than 100 children while Oler has three wives according to police and more than 50 of Oler's followers are in polygamous relationships.  he question has become is polygamy a crime or is it protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as a sacred religious practice.  According to Vancouver-based constitutional lawyer Ron Skolrood the issue is much broader than Bountiful with implications that could affect a range of issues from the definition of marriage to how prospective immigrants with multiple wives should be treated1.  This case is expected to reach the Supreme Court of Canada.

From this Canadian's perspective there are a few issues revealed by this particular case.  The morality of polygamy or it's opposite polyandry (having more than one husband) is a cultural norm in some societies. In fact a study by Ford and Beach (1951) found that monogamy is a rarity in primitive cultures.  Setting aside the morality issues envolked by the issue of polygamy these types of 'marriages' can afford a certain advantage.  However, in a modern society such as in Canada these types of 'marriages' can raise a number of issues especially when it comes to the rights of the children, government pensions and marital rights involved from such unions.  One theory is polygamy harms women and children, as well as society as a whole.  There is evidence that men and boys are driven out of the community to reduce competition, leaving child brides for the older men.  The main Mormon religion (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) officially ended the practice of polygamy in 1890 but fringe break-off groups have kept the practice.  Polygamy is recognized and even encouraged in some countries so at some point Canada will have to make a ruling as immigrants may wish to continue living in a polygamous relationship.  It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the courts and how the ruling will affect new immigrants to Canada.


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