Polygamist may get more than $10,000 in ‘dividends’
VANCOUVER — Prominent polygamist Winston Blackmore and his family could receive more than $10,000 this month from the B.C. government in so-called dividend cheques. Others in the polygamist community of Bountiful with fewer wives and smaller families will receive less, but government payments could still be substantial.
The cheques come a few weeks after Attorney-General Wally Oppal announced the appointment of a special prosecutor to decide if Mr. Blackmore and others should be charged with the crime of polygamy.
Mr. Blackmore is a leader of a religious sect in southeastern B.C. that has an undisclosed number of families. He has been reported to have more than 100 children and as many as 26 wives. In an exchange of e-mails with The Globe and Mail, Mr. Blackmore denied reports that he had 116 children but declined to reveal the number.
The B.C. government is sending $100 to every man, woman and child in the province as part of a climate-change program. The list of adults comes from income-tax returns. The names of children come from the federal government’s Canada Child Tax Benefit program; their cheques will be mailed to their parents or primary caregivers. British Columbians who do not pay income tax or receive a child-tax benefit can apply directly to the provincial government for the money.
Mr. Blackmore leads one of two polygamist religious groups in the area. Jim Oler is the leader of a group of families affiliated with the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.