I would answer the essential question before me: while s. 293 offends the freedom of religion of identifiable groups guaranteed by s. 2(a) of the Charter and the s. 7 liberty interests of children between 12 and 17 married into polygamy, the provision, save in its application to the latter group, is demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society. My reasons for that conclusion and the specific answers to the questions on the reference follow.
Stop Polygamy in Canada Society
Statement to the Press
The Stop Polygamy in Canada Society is very pleased with His Lordship, Chief Justice Robert Bauman’s decision to uphold section 293 of Canada’s Criminal Code.
We wish to thank our legal team: Brian Samuels, Kieran Bridge and Jennifer Chan of Brian Samuels Law Corporation; and, Robert Deane of Bordon, Ladner, Gervais Law LLP. Their guidance and professional decorum in the court room are appreciated with deep respect and gratitude by all who make up the international group of Stop Polygamy in Canada.
Chief Justice Bauman has sent a message around the world that Canada’s laws protecting the equality rights of women are to be protected. This decision also honours Canada’s international agreements protecting the rights of women and children. Canada’s doors are closed to polygamists and the practice of polygamy within our borders is still a crime.
Nancy Mereska, President
SPCS Steering Committee
SPCS Board of Directors