Aug 01 2007

Big Love busted in BC?

Brainwashed religious fanatics accused of abusing their own women and children in a sealed-off enclave near Vancouver may finally face a little not-so-timely police intervention.

Vancouver Sun columnist Daphne Bramham has been writing for years about the polygamist community in Bountiful, BC. Despite the brilliant light the skilled investigative journalist has brought to the issue, and the efforts of the RCMP to look into the allegations, the progress of our own prosecutors in actually moving against the insular cult can only be described as glacial. Finally, something may be happening… but it’s still too soon to tell.

The prosecutors’ reasoning for its hesitation? Concern that our laws against polygamy would be struck down as a violation of freedom of religion. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

If it is true that women and children are being abused by a theocratic cult within spitting distance of one of Canada’s major metropolitan areas, there is no need for the government to tread lightly.

Go in, arrest the perps, and let social services deal with the victims left behind. We’re fighting a religious extremist insurgency thousands of kilometers from our homeland. Meanwhile, another group of pious nutbars in our own territory, breaking our laws with impunity, gets treated with kid gloves.

Go get ’em.

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2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Big Love busted in BC?”

  1. on 01 Aug 2007 at 7:47 am


    Now, I am about as sympathetic to polygamists as I am to adulterers, but you’re conflating a few things in this post.

    1) there have been claims of child abuse and creepy values in Bountiful. The first is so illegal that if the evidence were solid, the cops would already have sorted things out. The second isn’t illegal at all, just creepy.

    2) The reason polygamy charges haven’t been laid (That being the patently obvious charge that there’s loads of evidence for) is that prosecutors are very doubtful it will survive a Charter challenge, and it doesn’t seem to be so much on freedom-of-religion grounds as it does on equality-of-access-to-marriage grounds. They don’t really want to push the point at this moment, and I think the prosecutors are not crazy here.

    3) If it was provable that women and children were being abused by anyone within Canada’s borders, the cops and crown prosecutors would happily sweep the perps up into the net of justice, process them on the very very serious charges of rape and assault and child abuse, and the bad guys would spend a long time in the can (at least by Canadian standards). The fact that has not happened is suggestive.

    4) Conflating actual mad bombers and shooters and bombers with people who have a surplus of wives is a substantial loss of perspective.

    I’m all down with the illegality of polygamy. I’m strongly against rape and abuse. But the former doesn’t seem to be prosecutable, and the latter doesn’t seem to be provable. Social services should always be a weapon of last resort, and not just because of some airy-fairy libertarian-governmental-minimalism position I’m pushing, but also because it has a pretty lousy track record when it comes to taking care of its wards.

  2. on 01 Aug 2007 at 3:34 pm


    I see where you’re coming from, but the difficulty the RCMP is having in gathering a solid view about what’s happening in Bountiful doesn’t necessarily stem from a lack of illegal acts. From what I’ve read, Bountiful’s entire community has been brainwashed into perceiving all outsiders, especially police, as evil aliens. Criminals should not be rewarded for their ability to cover up their crimes through mass indoctrination and fear.

    As for conflating suicide bombers equally with the leadership in Bountiful, I never went quite that far. In fact, I would be the first to say that fundamentalist polygamists are far more of a threat to their own community than to anyone else outside it. Still, they live within Canadian sovereign territory and if the accusations of abuse against some citizens of Bountiful are true, they should not be able to hide behind the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

    That said, I pretty much agree with everything you wrote. Keep in touch. Cheers.

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