First, the good news:
• A hotel in a very safe part of downtown Vancouver just a short distance from the court house has offered me a room for the duration of the polygamy reference trial at an unbelievable cost that I am sworn to secrecy about because they do not want any publicity, they just want to do their part to be a part of this process.
• Included in this room will be free wireless internet and 1-hr free long-distance phone/day so I can keep in touch with my husband while I am away. (He is not a computer user).
• The room also has a small kitchenette. I can survive on very little if I have to.
• The big surprise of Friday was a stalwart supporter from Cranbrook came to sit through the day of court with me.
NOW THE SHOCK WAVE NEWS
• Nearly sixty pages of arguments were debated between the attorney for the FLDS, Robert Wickett; the Amicus, George MacIntosh; and the attorneys for the BCAG and Federal AG, Craig Jones and Deborah Strachen! The FLDS were arguing for immunity from prosecution for their potential witnesses; that the witnesses would not file affidavits unless they could do so anonymously!
• At the end of the day Craig Jones said that if this were allowed to happen, the fallout would be unimaginable!
• The rebuttal was that if this did not happen, there would not be a fair “trial” because the FLDS would not file unless they were protected from prosecution. The deadline for submissions for the Amicus & “opposing side” is September 30.
• His Lordship Justice Bauman reserved his judgment but he said for now they can file anonymously until he decides what his decision will be.
• WHY I AM NOT HAPPY—There are Muslim victims of polygamy, female genital mutilation, forced marriage, etc. in Canada who I’m sure if they were given the chance would certainly file affidavits anonymously! Where is the fairness in this? We could get some anonymous affidavits for our side, too!
• Our affidavits had to be in by mid-July, but the opposing side keeps getting extensions on when their deadlines are. They keep getting deadlines because they cannot cough up any affidavits unless those affidavits are done by John and Jane Doe(s).
• Craig Jones & our legal team worked tirelessly to get out affidavits entered on time. We follow the rules, meet the deadlines; and, the opposing side keeps getting special, unprecedented attention—duh-h-h-h-h-h!
• His Lordship Justice Bauman looked weary at the end of the day like a school teacher whose naughty pupil has nearly pushed him over the edge of patience. He didn’t speak loudly when he said that for now they can file anonymously until he renders his decision on the matter. Let’s hope that he has quiet chambers where he can ponder the matter and take into account Craig Jones words, “. . .the fallout of this would be unimaginable.”
As far as I know, s. 293 is still on the statutes as a crime. Practicing polygamy is a crime. We know there are authoritative perpetrators and victims in this mix. Where is the political will to prosecute? Now those practicing a criminal activity will be able to file affidavits anonymously.
Thank you to all of you for your support. You news people who I missed while I was away from my computer—don’t worry, this is just the beginning BUT WHAT A BEGINNING WHEN A JUDGE ALLOWS AFFIDAVITS TO BE WRITTEN BY ANONYMOUS PARTICIPANTS WHILE HE IS MAKING HIS DECISION ON THE MATTER. THERE IS A JUXTAPOSITION HERE THAT I DO NOT UNDERSTAND. I BELIEVE IT IS UNPRECEDENTED IN CANADA, THOUGH SOME BRITISH LAWS WERE CITED. I am in the process of printing all the documents now which also came through on my computer while I was away.
The only cases where identity is protected in Canada are those involving a minor.
We’ll see what Daphne Bramham writes about this. She was there today. We both left without saying a word!
Lastly, we welcome MLA Dawn Black to this vast network. Dawn was the first woman to stand up in Parliament when she was an MP and read out a letter she had written to Harper’s Gov’t about polygamy and women’s rights. Welcome, Dawn. This ride is never without its surprises.
And, thank you, Mindy Jacobs for the interview and the article. It really went places!
Nancy Mereska, President
Stop Polygamy in Canada
Below find Daphne’s article. She writes with more professional finesse than I do. That’s why she is a journalist and I am a human rights activist. We must remember that this is a human rights issue, not a religious issue.