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The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus
Christ of Later Day Saints (FLDS)

Events in the Canadian branch
from 2004-JUL to 2008-DEC

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Recent developments:

bullet2004-JUL-29: Marlene Palmer, 45, a supporter of polygyny, said in an interview:

"We want to speak out about the (government) allegations here. We also want people to know we are not forced into our relationships and the women here are not moronic or uneducated....Pre-arranged marriages don't happen. Fifteen-year-olds don't have to be married to 75-year-old men....All religions have got their things, their rules. If there is child molesting, if cases like that come up, we go to the RCMP."

As many as 80 women planned to hold a massive press conference to discuss their lives.

RCMP Staff Sgt. Jim Delnea was in charge of the Creston detachment until 2000. He said: "During my tenure in Creston, there was nothing to indicate anything like the recent charges was going on in Bountiful."

Audrey Vance, co-chairman of Altering Destiny Through Education, a group dedicated to helping women escape Bountiful, said:

"Under that religion, the girls are taught to have babies as soon as they can. But the young girls are stuck -- what do you do with no education and all these babies? You stay put."1

bullet2006-AUG-29: Warren Jeffs, the FLDS prophet/dictator, was arrested after the car he was driving, a new Cadillac Escalade, was stopped for a routine check in Los Vegas. He was later convicted for his role in a forced marriage involving a young teenage girl. One effect of his arrest may well be increased independence for the Canadian wing of the FLDS.

bullet2006-AUG-31: Debbie Palmer, a former member of the FLDS in Canada expects that Winston Blackmore of Bountiful, BC will consider trying to take over power from Jim Oler, the brother of the FLDS prophet, Warren Jeffs. She said:

"I know that Winston has been positioning himself to be a available as a leader for any of the ones who have become disillusioned. ... The lines are quite firmly drawn. The fact that Jim accepted the position under Warren to be a bishop was quite a shock to all of us because Jim and Winston had been quite close. The blood is just boiling over there. There's some really bad feelings right now." 2

bullet2007-AUG-03: The Globe and Mail, one of Canada's national newspapers, published an editorial titled "No to polygamy". They wrote, in part:

"In no way has gay marriage lent legitimacy to polygamy. Gay marriage was legalized by the courts in part because it so resembled heterosexual marriage; for instance, it has two people. The courts endorsed gay marriage only after a large cultural shift had occurred in the arts, in the workplace and in neighborhoods… No such groundswell has occurred in the case of polygamy... It would be very odd if the Charter were read to require Canadians to give up their defense of core values; the document is supposed to encapsulate the country’s core values." 3,4

bullet 2008-MAY-28: Wally Oppal, the province's Attorney General, disagreed with two previous legal opinions that had concluded that any court case would probably fail. He instructed Robert W.G. Gillen, the assistant deputy attorney-general responsible for the Criminal Justice Branch, to determine the viability of a prosecution.
 
bullet 2008-JUN-03: For the third time in a year, the British Columbia government has asked for outside expert legal opinion on whether the province can successfully prosecute residents of Bountiful BC under Canada's bigamy law. The first two opinions concluded that the anti-polygamy law was unconstitutional and unenforceable. Terrence Robertson has been appointed as a special prosecutor to look into allegations of abuse, sexual misconduct and polygamy by FLDS members. His mandate will include:
bulletConducting an independent charge assessment review based on the results of the RCMP investigation, the materials assembled by the Criminal Justice Branch and any other information that the investigating officers may provide to him;
bulletOffering such legal advice as is necessary to the police in the event that further investigation by them is required;
bulletProviding the assistant deputy attorney-general with a written report setting out his charge assessment decision; and
bulletIf in his view a charge is warranted, conducting the prosecution and any subsequent appeal. 6

Attorney General Oppal said:

"This is a very complex issue. the issues are so complicated. Everyone seems to think there's something going on that is improper, unlawful and immoral. ... I happen to think that the law regarding polygamy is a valid law and if people are breaking the law, it's up to us to prosecute. I take the view that what's going on in Bountiful is something that the criminal law should look at." 7

The story continues....

References:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Mike D'Amour, "Human smuggling denied. Critic charges girls trafficked as breeding stock," Calgary Sun, 2004-AUG-02
  2. Jeremy Hainsworth, "Polygamy: Polygamist leader's arrest sets stage for cross-border FLDS power struggle," Canoe, 2006-AUG-30, at: http://www.religionnewsblog.com/
  3. "No to polygamy," Globe and Mail, 2007-AUG-03.
  4. Margaret Somerville, "Canada ponders polygamy," MercatorNet, 2007-AUG-20, at: http://www.mercatornet.com/
  5. Karen Dempsey, "Editorial from the National Council of Women of Canada
    re Polygamy," National Council, 2007-AUG-16, at: http://www.ncwc.ca/
  6. "Special prosecutor appointed in Bountiful case," The Vancouver Province, 2008-JUN-02, at: http://www.harpergrey.com/
  7. Petti Fong, "B.C. seeks legal opinion on polygamous sect. 'Very complex issue,' attorney general says," The Toronto Star, 2007-JUN-03, Page A16.

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Copyright © 2004 to 2009 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2004-JUL-25
Latest update: 2009-JAN-10
Author: B.A. Robinson

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