Odd cast of intervenors lining up for B.C.’s polygamy trial

Vancouver Sun 

By Daphne Bramham

26 Jan 2010 Think Tank

Half a dozen individuals and groups have registered as intervenors wanting to call evidence and question witnesses in the B.C. Supreme Court trial that will determine the constitutionality of Canada’s anti-polygamy law. Among them are a free-speech group that is allied with Holocaust deniers, fundamentalist Mormons who have polygamy as a tenet of their faith, and women’s activists.

Winston Blackmore and James Oler have both sought intervenor status. They were the two men charged with a single count each of practising polygamy more than a year ago. They subsequently had their charges quashed.

Blackmore is the leader of one faction of fundamentalist Mormons living in the community of Bountiful in southeastern British Columbia. He has registered his group as the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Inc.

Oler is the Canadian bishop of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is led by prophet Warren Jeffs. Jeffs has been convicted in Utah as an accomplice to rape and is in jail in Arizona awaiting trial on similar charges there. He has also been charged federally for evading prosecution and for other sex-related crimes in Texas.

In addition to Oler and Blackmore, the Canadian Association for Free Expression has registered. It is represented by lawyer Doug Christie. On its website, CASE describes Holocaust denier David Irving as a “a revisionist historian” who has been “banned by the thought police in Canada” and calls on the German government to release Ernst Zundel from prison. Zundel is another Holocaust denier, who was deported from Canada.

The B.C. Teachers’ Federation, which has long lobbied the government to enforce the anti-polygamy section of the Criminal Code in Bountiful has applied for status as has Nancy Mereska, who is the coordinator of the group Stop Polygamy in Canada. WestCoast Legal Education and Action Fund for women has also signed up.

A date for the trial has not been set.


Note from Nancy Mereska:  I am not happy at all that much of the media is focusing on my “abusive Mormon marriage.”  I am not planning to do a personal tell-all in the court room.  The focus of my presentation is on polygamy, its terrible effect on women and children, and the national laws and international covenants in place to protect women and children from its harm.  My own experience is minimal in comparison.  Go to the “about” section of this blog to read my story.  It has been out on the internet since July 2002.  I started Stop Polygamy in Canada in October 2003.  



10 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Faye Kemmis on February 1, 2010 at 5:06 am

    Does anyone care about disease among the polygamists I wonder?
    Time after time I have written about this and researched to find that Dr. Tarby of Hildale/Colorado City has in the past, and in the present found terrible cases of the Fumarase Deficiency disease that leaves the fetus to die, or a newborn, with half a brain. Yes the majority die and the seizures must be terrible for them.
    Dr. Tarby states that there will be more and more as the incest continues.
    Why can’t someone check the Birthing house/cottage/cemetery in Bountiful for burials of infants; at least to assess if this is happening here?
    It boggles my mind to think no one can do this or that no one seems to care.

    Yes this is a real disease that comes from incest; generations of incest. If you doubt this, please investigate for yourself. It takes little effort via the Internet. And yes, I have gone through Mr. W.Oppall, retired AG, I know that there is little hope of ever gaining access or having even a hope of evidence of this disease in Bountiful. But you all need to know that this disease exists PRIMARILY in the sect of Hildale/Colorado City, MORE than anywhere else in the entire world. Doesn’t that say something to you?
    The UN states that the only other place this disease is prevalent is a polygamist ‘family’ in southern Africa. Five years ago the count was only thirteen at that location. It is about four times this in H/Colorado though this is only the cases that Dr. Tarby has been allowed to see.
    Sad that no one can act. Those infants suffer terrible pain from the seizures.


  2. For a good indepth read on this horrendous, and very active disease please see the website above.

    “Right now we are just looking at the tip of the iceberg.”, states former sect member Isaac Wyler (ex-communicated in 2004. His ex wife’s sister has had two babies afflicted with this disease.
    The sect recieves a cool twelve million in health care. As far as I can assess they, the sect, do not pay taxes but recieve all that a taxpayer would normally recieve. Whichever way you cut it the 12 M will of course gone up by increments each year. I doubt very much that the women realize this at all.


  3. Posted by Jordan on February 8, 2010 at 7:34 pm

    The entire property system in Canada is at risk if polygamy is allowed.. Right now the courts have worked hard to make divorces easier to do, so that persons can settle their financial affairs before becoming the spouses of others..if Canada allows polygamy, the lawyers will have a field day of revenue but the individuals will suffer grievously. Divorce first..then one can take another spouse. The polygamy laws currently protect individuals property rights by insisting person become divorced first before becoming eligible to take another spouse.


  4. Posted by Faye Kemmis on February 16, 2010 at 6:29 am

    The problem is, I believe, that many are not legal marriages…they are what is termed ‘spiritual marriages’, thus the last wife receives nothing and will not, now or ever receive anything thus will be subject to what the government metes out.


  5. Posted by Jordan on February 16, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    Nope, they are legal marriages or the same as. In Saskatchewan Canada it is legal to have more than one spouse at a time. The reality is that under the law of canada.. women who claim to be the spouse of a man who already has a spouse is also guilty of polygamy, yet they are not charged! Only the men.
    What manner of justice is this?


    • Posted by Faye Kemmis on April 17, 2010 at 5:04 pm

      Excellent question Jordan. I have no idea. Another archaic assumption via our laws? If you search this out PLEASE let us know!?


      • Posted by Faye Kemmis on April 17, 2010 at 6:00 pm

        Sorry I forgot to comment on your statement further:
        “…legal marriages, or the same as…” is not entirely correct as I think you are saying the spiritual marriages are, perhaps, the same as “common-law…” relationship.
        And Nancy Mereska did recieve notification not too long ago that SK multiple marriages are not legal.

  6. Posted by duane on April 8, 2010 at 1:17 am

    “The entire property system in Canada is at risk if polygamy is allowed”

    Polygamists aren’t asking for legal recognition, they just don’t want to be prosecuted or threatened with prosecution, for choosing to live with mutliple partners. There are plenty of practicing polygamists/polyamorists/swingers in Canada other than Fundie Mormons, has been for years. Yet the property system in Canada is stil intact and shows no sign of being weakened by polys.


  7. Posted by Janet on August 9, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    Nancy Mereska received incorrect information on Saskatchewan. For certain judicial authorities there sanction multiple conjugal unions usintg section 51 of their Family Property Act. They have twice legally authorized married women to claim spousal status with other men at the same time they were married to different men. “become the spouse of a person who has a spouse” is part of Saskatchewan Statutes on Family law.


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