“Criminalization does not address the harms associated with valid foreign polygamous marriages and plural unions, in particular the harms to women,” says the report, obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act.
“The report therefore recommends that this provision be repealed.”
The research paper is part of a controversial $150,000 polygamy project, launched a year ago and paid for by the Justice Department and Status of Women Canada.
The paper by three law professors at Queen's University in Kingston, Ont., argues that Sec. 293 of the Criminal Code banning polygamy serves no useful purpose and in any case is rarely prosecuted.
Instead, Canadian laws should be changed to better accommodate the problems of women in polygamous marriages, providing them clearer spousal support and inheritance rights.
Currently, there's a hodgepodge of legislation across the provinces, some of which — Ontario, for example — give limited recognition to foreign polygamous marriages for the purposes of spousal support. Some jurisdictions provide no relief at all.
Chief author Martha Bailey says criminalizing polygamy, typically a marriage involving one man and several wives, serves no good purpose and prosecutions could do damage to the women and children in such relationships.
“Why criminalize the behaviour?” she said in an interview. “We don't criminalize adultery.
“In light of the fact that we have a fairly permissive society ... why are we singling out that particular form of behaviour for criminalization?”...
Of course this begs the question, why criminalize anything? If nothing is illegal then they'll be no criminals. True Liberalism at its finest.