Volume 25, Number 2, 2009


  • Why Canada's Prohibition of Polygamy is Constitutionally Valid and Sound Social Policy - Nicholas Bala
  • This paper sets the current debate about Canada's criminal law prohibiting polygamy in an historical, social, and legal context and argues that this law is constitutionally valid and sound social policy. Unlike the recognition of same-sex marriage, which promoted equality and saved government resources, the recognition of polygamy would promote inequality and impose costs on Canadian society. The social reality of polygamy is often exploitative of women and harmful to children, and its practice is contrary to fundamental Canadian values. If Canada's prohibition on polygamy is ruled unconstitutional, we would likely have to allow immigration by polygamous families. Western European countries, which allowed immigration by polygamous families in the past, experienced significant social and economic costs as a result, and have ceased to allow such immigration. There is a trend towards restricting or prohibiting polygamy in countries where it has been legal, based on concerns that polygamy is inconsistent with gender equality. The issue of the constitutional validity of this law will be resolved by a reference case being brought by the British Columbia government. Although the prohibition on polygamy is contrary to the religious beliefs of a small group of Fundamentalist Mormons, it is a constitutionally justified restriction intended to prevent harm to women and children. A decision to uphold the law would be consistent with recent Supreme Court jurisprudence restricting religious freedom and with international jurisprudence which has consistently rejected arguments that prohibitions on polygamy violate constitutional rights. Ruling this provision unconstitutional would be inconsistent with the values and opinions of an overwhelming majority of Canadians, and would be inconsistent with the role of courts in a constitutional democracy.

  • Tragic Choices and the Division of Sorrow: Speaking about Race, Culture, and Community Traumatisation in the Lives of Children - Hadley Friedland
  • A Common Law of the Family? Reflections on Rick v. Brandsema - Robert Leckey
  • Aboriginal Adoptions in Saskatchewan and British Columbia: An Evolution to Save or Lose our Children? - Ashley Smith
  • With more than 27,000 Aboriginal children currently in provincial care, solving the issues surrounding Aboriginal adoptions has never been more important. These issues include: the inequality of funding between the First Nations Child Welfare agencies and provincial agencies (which has instigated a Canadian Human Rights Complaint by the Assembly of First Nations and the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada), the denial of Aboriginal Identity from Aboriginal adoptees, and the lack of recognition of Aboriginal custom adoptions. This paper focuses on these issues, discusses Supreme Court jurisprudence, as well as how Aboriginal adoptions are currently being dealt with in the provinces of Saskatchewan and British Columbia.

Allan Falconer Memorial Student Essay Contest Winner

  • Le Droit Myope - Régine Tremblay
  • Réflexions sur la violence conjugale et sur les limites de la compréhension de cette problématique en droit, exposées par l'invisibilité juridique des victimes non-hétérosexuelles.

Book Review

  • Debates in Family Law around the Globe at the Dawn of the 21st Century edited by Katharina Boele-Woelki - Michel Tétrault
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