Will the taxwomen bring down the polygamist? How about a columnist?

Winston Blackmore, leader of the polygamous community of Bountiful, may have finally met his match: the taxwomen.

In the Vancouver Sun, Daphne Bramham says

It’s money – not polygamy, not a constitutional challenge to religious freedom and not criminal charges – that’s landed Canada’s best known polygamist in federal tax court testifying under oath and facing a pair of formidable, demanding and, at times, impatient women, Judge Diane Campbell and Justice Department lawyer Lynn Burch.

And it’s so much money that it’s possible the government could bankrupt Blackmore and financially ruin two of his brothers (Kevin and Guy) as well as the companies that the three of them operate.

Bramham’s article provides a good overview of the problems the Tax Court trial represents for Blackmore.

In fact, if Blackmore is brought down from the pedestal he has placed himself on, it may not only be due to the taxwomen he now faces, but also the work of writers like Bramham.

Bramham has been a columnist at the Vancouver Sun since 2000 and has won numerous awards for her writing. Many of her columns deal with Bountiful — and the plight of those raised within that polygamous community.

The non-profit group Beyond Borders — which advances the rights of children everywhere to be free from sexual abuse and exploitation — honoured her for a series of columns on Bountiful

Bramham also authored the book, The Secret Lives of Saints: Child Brides and Lost Boys in a Polygamous Mormon Sect

What goes on [in Bountiful] is not only illegal, it’s anathema to the core values and principles espoused by Canadians. Even though polygamy has been illegal in Canada since 1890, men are marrying multiple wives.

Some of Bountiful’s men are in their forties and fifties when they marry girls as young as fourteen, which is Canada’s legal age of sexual consent. The legal age for marriage in B.C. is eighteen, with the consent of a B.C. Supreme Court judge required for any child under sixteen. But before they are even of legal age to be married, a third of Bountiful’s girls are impregnated by men who are at least a decade or more older than they are.

Underage girls in Bountiful are two to seven times more likely to get pregnant than any other girls in the province.

Children – boys, mainly, but also girls – are frequently used as unpaid labourers in dangerous construction and forestry jobs. To ensure that those children don’t have any other choices, the leaders encourage them to leave school well before high­school graduation to become either wives and mothers or indentured labourers.

It’s all done in the name of God and religion by men who are aiming to be gods with dozens of wives and hundreds of children serving them for all eternity.
- Daphne Branham, The Polygamy Capital of Canada, Chapter 1 of The Secret Lives of Saints: Child Brides and Lost Boys in a Polygamous Mormon Sect

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