Notable Cases from the History of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association

The Canadian Press, August 21, 2016 | Go to article overview

Notable Cases from the History of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association


Notable cases from B.C. rights group's history

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VANCOUVER - The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association has waged many civil rights battles since its founding nearly 55 years ago. Here are some notable campaigns:

Sons of Freedom: The association was founded in response to what was seen as the federal government's heavy-handed methods of suppressing the so-called Sons of Freedom, a controversial sect of formerly Russian Christians known as the Doukhobors. In 1962, the RCMP arrested members of the faction and charged them with conspiracy, prompting a group of people to raise money for their defence.

Forcible drug treatment: In 1979, the association convinced a B.C. Supreme Court judge to strike down a provincial law that allowed the government to force drug addicts into compulsory treatment. The Supreme Court of Canada ultimately overturned the decision, but the case put the association in the national spotlight.

Little Sisters Bookstore: A Vancouver bookstore specializing in gay and lesbian literature sued Canada after border control officials repeatedly denied the import of materials it classified as "obscene." The law was upheld in 2000 by the Supreme Court of Canada, but the ruling struck down key provisions, including one that put the onus on the importer to prove that material wasn't obscene. …

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