A five-member law reform commission appointed by the federal government to recommend changes in law claims Canada’s polygamy law is outdated.  According to them, polygamy – defined as maintaining conjugal relations with more than one person at the same time – does not reflect contemporary values.

The committee still rejects bigamy – defined by the Criminal Code as being legally married to two or more people at the same time.  But polygamy, they say, “may be regarded as adultery and does not call for criminal penalties.”

“Bigamy is committed by use of the forms of a proper marriage,” the report says, according to the Toronto Star of September 19.  “It is only in this way that it can be a real threat to the institution of marriage.  In bigamy, the solemnization of marriage is itself the subject matter of the offence.”

Presbyterians

Last August the Presbyterian Church in Canada, meeting in general assembly in Guelph, defeated a move to tighten Canada’s abortion law.  The outgoing moderator, Rev. Alex Calder of Peterborough had argued earlier in the year that as the law now stands, spurious arguments are used to allow abortions.  The delegates, according to the Star, “overwhelmingly reaffirmed the church’s support for abortion, if it is necessary to preserve the woman’s life or health.”

The Presbyterian Church, the Anglicans and the United Church are three mainline Canadian Churches which approve abortion for any reason, including social and economical ones.

Ottawa

Walter McLean, recently demoted from Secretary of State to the lesser position of Minister of State for Immigration, that is, assistant to Flora MacDonald, remains the Minister for the Status of Women.  As Toronto Sun columnist Barbara Amiel put it, “it shows that whatever is wrong with Mulroney, he knew that the official women’s movement needs someone who can talk in Progressive Fem Speak.”  Recent newspaper reports revealed that Mr. McLean brought his wife along with him to work.  She attended departmental meetings of his political staff, making many suggestions about policy.

Anglicans

According to the Toronto Star (Sept. 27P Canada’s Anglican bishops are preparing church members for a study on sexuality “which may upset people,” especially on the subject of homosexuality.

A church official is quoted as saying that the bishops have recommended publication of the study with a rider that some of what’s in the study “may be regarded by some church members as not in accordance with traditional Christian teachings and with New Testament standards.”  A final decision on publishing the study is to be made by the Executive council in November 1985.

Beginning with approval of contraceptives at the Lambeth Conference of 1931 in England, Canadian Anglicans, especially from the mid-60s onwards, have adopted and approved in principle almost every change in family and sexual morality introduced by the permissive society.

Catholics active for Life

A small group of Catholics active in pro-life work have issued a pamphlet entitled Homosexuality: Why “Sexual Orientation” should not be protected under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It has been published as part of the series “Canadian Pamphlets” by the Life Ethics Centre, Toronto (215 Victoria Street, Suite 506).  It discusses the present status of homosexual activity under Canadian law and why homosexuality remains unacceptable for reasons of religion and natural law.

More money for NFP

The federal government’s 1985-1986 grant to Planned Parenthood, the agency most committed to the promotion of contraceptives including abortion and abortion-causing devices, has been set at $175,000 – a 12 ½ per cent reduction from last year.  The Canadian Committee on Fertility Research will receive $35,000, a reduction of 75 per cent.  Serena, an organization committed to natural family planning, had its grant increased by 12 per cent.

Borowski keeps “illegal” sign up

Joseph Borowski was given 30 days in bylaw court to remove a sign from the wall of his health food store by October 23.  The court ruled that the sign denouncing abortion was illegal.  Said Mr. Borowski: “I am not taking it down, so I guess it will be up until I am arrested.”

Morgentaler Update

On September 19 the Ontario Supreme Court again delayed Henry Morgentaler’s second trial (for charges laid in December 1984) until next January 16, because the Crown’s appeal of the November acquittal had not yet been handed down.