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A Cruel Arithmetic: Inside the Case Against Polygamy, Craig Jones
Anne Cochrane

 

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In August 2014, two of Canada’s most notorious polygamists, Winston Blackmore and James Oler, were charged with practicing polygamy under the Criminal Code. Blackmore and Oler were two of the leaders of the Mormon Fundamentalist community in Bountiful, BC.

For many Canadians, the arrest of these two men raises the question: why now? The polygamy prohibition under section 293 of the Code was originally enacted in 1890, and complaints about the Bountiful sect go back to its founding in the 1940s. But, in the decades since, through the coming and going of governments and political parties, Canada’s response to polygamy has been paralyzed by concerns over the constitutionality of the criminal prohibition in light of the Charter protection of religious liberty. Th is issue was finally addressed in the 2011 landmark BC Supreme Court decision of Chief Justice Robert J. Bauman in what is now commonly referred to as the Polygamy Reference. Arising out of this historic Reference is Craig Jones’ A Cruel Arithmetic: Inside the Case Against Polygamy, a work that creates its own genre and is as unique as the case it recounts.