View Single Post
Old 11-19-2009, 03:33 AM
ImaginaryIllusion's Avatar
ImaginaryIllusion ImaginaryIllusion is offline
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Canada
Posts: 2,019

X-Posted...since I know that the author won't mind
This predated the Call for Intervenors

VanPoly Yahoo group, 9 Nov 2009
Re: Potential court case: Identification of a potential intervenor. MFM?
I haven't read the book...just heard her speak at a university lecture based around it. The H-Net review however does a pretty good job of summarizing each part of the book, which might allow you to hunt down particular segments of interest if there isn't time to go through the whole thing.

There's also a shorter synopsis here:

Personally, my line of thinking was this:
The law was "deliberately imposed on the Canadian frontier as a means of social control" based on christian values.

From the H-Net review:
"Indeed, before the late nineteenth-century monogamous marriage was not a foregone conclusion; it was a deliberate choice on the part of white, Christian, middle-class politicians, government officials, and reformers to make it the foundation for a new nation. This imposition of a particularly rigid definition of marriage was contested by couples who had previously enjoyed flexibility in their domestic situations and individuals, especially women, who had benefited from alternatives to monogamy that offered more egalitarian relationships. In other words, less choice also meant less equality because the monogamous model also shaped gender relations within the home and beyond. The lifelong union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others until death was often tied to the ideal of the husband as undisputed head of the family and the dependent and submissive wife. As proponents of monogamy complained, divorce and other forms of union gave women too much power in their relationship with men."
There has been a change in the way we do business in this country, whereby women are no longer chattel, divorce is more common and now legally recognized, gender rolls are being redefined, or at least redistributed. So why do we still have a law on the books based on a religious norm that was forced on the people by the government? This is precisely what the charter was put in place to avoid.

As for why should we care? Every citizen should care about any law still on the books that doesn't conform to the freedoms of the Charter. The only legitimate excuse the government has to put a law governing the shape of relationships (aka freedom of association) is demonstrable harm. Limiting age of consent, legal age for marriages/civil unions, etc. are perfect examples of those. I don't
think anyone would debate that there should be such an age...even if there's disagreement about where it should be placed.

But making anything that isn't heterosexual monogamy is illegal just because the christian's say so? Not a good enough reason. And with the history presented in the rest of Sarah Carters work, I think demonstrable harm would be a hard thing to prove.

Anyways...just my 2 cents. I'm neither a lawyer or constitutional expert...and I don't know if I've ordered everything to make sense. But that's how I'd approach it. See what the experts think I guess.

And who knows...maybe someone should approach Dr. Carter about the issue as well...not to advocate necessarily...but perhaps to discuss the historical perspective when the time comes.


Addendum: For a really interesting discussion of criminal law vs. constitution, check out the transcripts from the following senate committee on illegal drugs hearing...specifically the testimony of John Conroy.

Following is an excerpt I found particularly appropriate for discussing any constitutional issue:

<Start clip>
The Chairman: My colleague, Senator LaPierre, used the word ``moral.'' I want to hear your views on the question of moral values as supported and defended by the Criminal Code. I have in mind prostitution and abortion, which is still in the Criminal Code, although not applied. We are hearing witnesses, reading papers and receiving e-mails on the moral aspect. They say that no matter what is said, it is morally wrong and that the Criminal Code defends their values. What do you say to that?

Mr. Conroy: What is the moral value? It is telling people what they can or cannot do with their bodies. It is the imposition of your views on others when what they do does not affect you in any way and should be none of your business. This moral value thing is nonsense. Do not forget that we are a constitutional democracy. We are no longer a parliamentary democracy. We have been a constitutional democracy since 1982, so morality is no longer a sound constitutional basis for law in a pluralistic society. That is merely one person's morals versus another's. We have no nationally defined morals.

People have strong views, be they religious or whatever. It is one thing for them to speak out, remonstrate and tell me what I or anyone else should not do. I do not mind that; that is democracy and that is good. However, trying to use the law, and criminal law in particular, to threaten my liberty in order to enforce their moral values is not acceptable in a constitutional democracy. We try to respect everyone's perspectives as best we can.

It inevitably involves a balancing act between society's or the state's interests and individual interests, but it is no longer acceptable to impose your morality on Canadian society unless it is an extremely well defined type of morality, such as ``Thou shalt not kill.'' However, where is the morality issue in the consumption of marijuana?

The Chairman: You spoke about the harm principle earlier with regard to murder. In matters that do not affect anyone else, such as abortion, you basically follow what the court said in Morgentaler?

Mr. Conroy: That is right. It involves forcing a woman to choose between her liberty and her health. It is the same basis as in the Parker decision.

<End clip>
“People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.” - Chinese Proverb

-Imaginary Illusion

How did I get here & Where am I going?
Reply With Quote