Vice Squad
Saturday, January 20, 2007
Big Brother Won't Fund Little Sister's

Little Sister's Bookstore in Vancouver, Canada, keeps having some of its gay erotica seized at the border by Canada Customs on the grounds of obscenity. Little Sister's has been challenging the seizures in court, and has secured a couple of judicial victories. But yesterday the bookshop lost on its claim that its legal fees should be advanced by the government, under the terms of a now-repudiated policy that provided public funding to groups making Constitutional challenges in significant cases. So it now appears that Little Sister's will have to forego further legal action, and tolerate the occasional seizure by Canada Customs.

The last time Vice Squad checked in with Little Sister's (in July 2004), the bookstore had won, at the trial level, the right to federal funding for its lawsuit. That decision was later overturned upon appeal, and the appelate ruling was upheld yesterday by the Supreme Court of Canada. Those who support laws that provide for government censorship of obscenity should keep in mind that what the official enforcers will deem to be obscene will not necessarily be the same material that the law's supporters have in mind.

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