Egale Canada, the national queer lobby group, applied to testify before the Supreme Court of Canada to support Little Sister’s Bookstore in its long-running battle against Canada’s border police, Feb 22.
The Canada Border Services Agency, formerly Canada Customs, has routinely seized shipments of queer-themed material bound for Little Sister’s since 1986 because, they say, it’s obscene.
At issue now is a fight to secure advance funding from the federal government to cover Little Sister’s legal costs in its upcoming trial over Customs’ seizure of several SM comics. Without advance funding, the bookstore likely can’t pursue the case further.
“We’re thrilled and pleased about it,” Little Sister’s co-owner Jim Deva told Xtra West Mar 7. “The BC Supreme Court, when they turned down our funding, said we didn’t represent the community. We took that really personally. How dare they? What do they know about that? Egale will certainly show that we are supported by the community across Canada and I think it should have an impact on the judgment.”
Egale’s submission to the Supreme Court reads in part: “Although the bookstore is a small business enterprise with a specialized clientele that likely would not generate large profits in any event, the fact that it has suffered such extensive business losses as a result of Customs’ unconstitutional conduct certainly contributes to its inability to finance the… litigation. In these circumstances, Egale submits that the interests of justice are best served by ordering advanced costs.”
The advance costs case goes before the Supreme Court of Canada on Apr 21. The court is expected to rule on Egale’s request for intervener status in the next few weeks.