(Thank you, Info-Secte, for passing along both of these articles.)
Polygamous leader won’t testify at B.C. court hearings
Tue Jan 11 2011
The Canadian Press
VANCOUVER—One of the leaders of a polygamous community in British Columbia has decided against testifying at a court reference case on the law against multiple marriage, while the other made an appeal for members of the community to be given a “fair shake” in the debate.
Several residents from Bountiful, B.C., are slated to testify later this month at the B.C. court hearings into the constitutionality of Canada’s anti-polygamy law.
James Oler, the leader of one of two factions in the community, was expected to be among them but has decided against appearing, his lawyer confirmed Tuesday. He declined to explain why.
The leader of the other faction, Winston Blackmore, is boycotting the hearings after he was refused government funding and he told The Canadian Press he hasn’t been following the case in detail.
But he questioned the experts who have testified that polygamy is inherently harmful to women and children, pointing to a law professor who appeared Monday and said western laws against multiple marriages are rooted in the long-standing belief that the practice is “unnatural and dangerous.”
Blackmore noted the professor has never lived in a polygamous community or conducted research in one.
“I am not trying to be coy here, just wondering what makes him an expert,” wrote Blackmore.
“In contrast, Jim Oler and the other (Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) people (who live in Bountiful) will certainly be experts on the topic. Give them a fair shake in the media.”
Bountiful is located near the town of Creston, B.C., not far from the American border.
The roughly 1,000 people who live there are members of the FLDS, a breakaway Mormon sect that still practises polygamy. The mainstream Mormon Church renounced polygamy more than a century ago.
Blackmore and Oler were each charged in 2009 with practising polygamy, but those charges were later thrown out on technical legal grounds.