Tony Gosgnach
The Interim

Lost in the brouhaha over the recent release from prison of Karla Homolka is the fact that an arch enemy of the pro-life, pro-family movement was one of the chief players in the arrangement that allowed the notorious schoolgirl killer to escape with a relatively light sentence, while Paul Bernardo took the brunt of the punishment for the pair’s heinous crimes.

These days, Marion Boyd, now 59, is continuing to generate controversy and condemnation with the release of a report she has authored, calling for the adoption of a form of fundamentalist Muslim Sharia law that would resolve family disputes among Muslims in Ontario.

In its profile of Boyd – which notes that she didn’t even have experience as a lawyer in 1993 when she was named attorney-general in Bob Rae’s NDP regime – the online encyclopedia Wikipedia lists the Homolka-Bernardo matter as one of the distinguishing features of her career.

“Boyd also approved a highly controversial plea bargain deal that allowed serial killer Karla Homolka to receive a relatively light prison sentence in return for testimony which led to the conviction of Homolka’s then-husband, Paul Bernardo,” it says. “This deal was criticized in much of the Canadian media and many questioned Boyd’s judgement in the matter.”

A CanWest News chronology of the Bernardo-Homolka case notes that as attorney-general, while approving a plea-bargain deal with Homolka, Boyd announced a preferred indictment on Bernardo’s murder charges, sending him directly to trial without a customary preliminary hearing.

Speaking in the Canadian Senate in 1996, Senator Anne Cools called the Homolka deal “a terrible mischief … unconscionable and intolerable.” She characterized as “a horror” Boyd’s handling of it. “Canadians must know the extent of the Honourable Marion Boyd’s personal role and interventions in this affair,” said Cools. “Miss Homolka was exceptionally well treated by the attorney-general’s office, which treatment is curious and troubling.”

Cools charged that Homolka received the favourable treatment “because she was a woman” (which would be consistent with Boyd’s well-known, extreme feminist position). “The Ontario attorney-general’s office and its experienced Crown prosecutors have been participants in this deceit,” she added.

Speaking again on the matter in the Senate in 1997, Cools called for a parliamentary investigation into the affair. She observed that Boyd failed to charge Homolka in the death of her sister, Tammy – even though Homolka admitted criminal culpability for it. That, said Cools, constituted a pardon – an action beyond Boyd’s capability as a provincial attorney-general and thus, “an unlawful act.”

The Court Watch organization – which monitors feminist and anti-male manifestations in the legal system – in December 2002 cited Boyd for “the entrenchment of radical feminist ideology within the (provincial) attorney-general’s office” during her tenure between February 1993 and June 1995.

“Marion Boyd was known as a radical feminist and (was) supported strongly by women’s shelter representatives and those who supported the violence-against-women industry,” it said. “Clearly, Marion Boyd spent her time and energy on the advancement of women’s issues, rather than the pursuit of true justice for the citizens of Ontario.”

Court Watch referred to the Homolka case as, “One of Marion Boyd’s most notable feminist accomplishments.” Boyd, it said, gave Homolka what many considered to be a “get out of jail free” card through a “behind-the-scenes … sweet deal.” The arrangement was a “gross miscarriage of justice” and “a gross embarrassment to the citizens of Ontario.”

Thanks to Boyd, said Court Watch, radical feminists entrenched a bureaucracy in the attorney-general’s office that ensured the feminist agenda would persist in that ministry no matter who the attorney-general was as time went on. (Indeed, successive Ontario attorneys-general, including “Conservative” party ones, have declined to revisit the Homolka case.)

Pro-life activists well remember Boyd for her crusading zeal to persecute them at every turn. She was the instigator of a court action, announced in April 1993, that sought to prohibit 18 named persons, and everyone else, from engaging in any kind of pro-life activity within 500 feet of 23 locations throughout Ontario. The action also sought $500,000 in punitive damages from 18 pro-life activists.

In addition to providing a team of lawyers from Boyd’s office, the NDP also paid the fees of two lawyers representing several abortuaries, Morris Manning and Clayton Ruby. This alone ended up costing Ontario taxpayers more than $778,000. Meanwhile, the 18 targeted pro-lifers were grilled for four weeks during the discovery process. Some were subjected to literally thousands of questions over several days of gruelling interrogation.

Even leading Canadian newspaper columnist Christie Blatchford, who acknowledges being pro-abortion, criticized the NDP’s crusade, noting that peaceful protesters had a right to demonstrate and that the situation did not justify the large amounts of money being devoted to it.

In August 1994, Justice George Adams issued a “temporary” injunction that permitted pro-life activity in hospital zones, but banned it within 500 feet of abortionists’ homes, within 25 feet of abortionists’ offices, within 60 feet of two abortuaries and within 30 feet of a third Toronto abortuary. (Remarkably, in what is perhaps a legal precedent, this “temporary” measure remains in effect over a decade later, with no move by any successive provincial government to either rescind it or attempt to make it permanent.)

While only partially successful in her quest to extinguish the pro-life movement in Ontario, Boyd also set her sights on homosexual “rights.” Wikipedia notes she was responsible for, and invested “considerable effort” in, a controversial Rae government bill recognizing benefits to same-sex couples, which ultimately failed on a free vote when 12 NDP MPPs voted with opposition parties against it.

Boyd remained a sitting member of the Ontario legislature into 1999, acting as her party’s health critic. Even during that period, she took time to ridicule the Catholic faith and join a campaign to pressure the Catholic St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, which was merging with the nearby Wellesley Hospital, to commit abortions and distribute the “morning-after” pill.

“A woman who experienced a broken condom, or God forbid, is raped, no longer has access to the morning-after pill, because St. Mike’s won’t allow it,” she fumed in 1998.

In recent years, Boyd has worked as an environmental business consultant, mediator and – again on the public dole – an adjudicator for the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board. That set the stage for her appointment, by the current Liberal provincial government of Dalton McGuinty, to compose a study on the adoption of Sharia tribunals for Muslims who wish to have family disputes resolved in that manner.

Announcing the appointment, the current attorney-general, Michael Bryant, characterized Boyd as an individual who had “distinguished herself with her devotion to public service … (and) demonstrated her commitment and dedication to vulnerable people.” One would be hard-pressed to find evidence of that following the release of Boyd’s report last December.

“A proposal to allow the use of Islamic principles in settling family disputes in Ontario has been met with outrage by opponents of the plan,” reported the leftist Toronto Star. The opponents lined up to condemn Boyd and her report.

“Marion Boyd today has given legitimacy and credibility to the right-wing racists who fundamentally are against equal rights for men and women,” said Tarek Fatah of the Muslim Canadian Congress.

“I think Boyd made up her mind before she even started, because she hasn’t taken into consideration anything we said. It’s like she didn’t hear us,” said Alia Hogben of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women.

“I think (Boyd) is kidding herself,” said Heather McGregor of the YWCA Toronto, adding that Boyd is also being naïve.

“Ms. Boyd consulted (only) specific community groups,” said Homa Arjomand of the International Campaign Against Sharia Court in Canada. “We, therefore, appeal to the government of Ontario to hold a public hearing and give all the people an opportunity to speak on this issue.”

Sun Media columnist Peter Worthington characterized Boyd’s plan for Sharia law as “outrageous … Ms Boyd was appointed by the McGuinty government to relate Sharia law to the 1991 act that Ms Boyd was involved in legislating as a member of the NDP government. Talk of conflict of interest!”

Mainstream media have failed to report how much of Ontario taxpayers’ funds were expended on Boyd and her report.

According to Boyd’s website at, she is currently a principal partner with Terry Boyd and Joseph Dunlop-Addley in the London-based firm COMMPlus Consultants, which helps clients “develop and implement-the best communication strategies for success.”

The firm has a website at Boyd also does public speaking engagements on women’s issues, “including issues related to violence against women and children.”