Toronto
2 min

Fucking good, fisting bad

New rules crack down on what was okay before

STORMY WEATHER AHEAD. Glad Day Bookshop manager Toshiya Kuwabara discovers that the rain keeps falling. Credit: Mark Bogdanovic

What was perfectly legal last year is now obscene – thanks to new Canada Customs regulations brought in after the Supreme Court Of Canada’s Little Sister’s book censorship decision.



Fisting’s now a no-no.



In a Jan 18 letter directed to book businesses across the country, the Canada Customs And Revenue Agency listed a new set of “indicators” that border guards will use to classify obscene material entering Canada.



“The big [change] is the fisting one,” says Jim Deva, co-owner of Vancouver’s Little Sister’s and plaintiff in the Supreme Court Of Canada case that sparked this review. “It’s never been mentioned before.”



Porn portrayals of both anal and vaginal fisting are now illegal to import (defined as “insertion of a fist or a foot into an anal and vaginal orifice”).



The Ontario Film Review Board permits it – so Canadian-made fisting is acceptable in this province.



For the first time, pictures of anal sex can be legally imported. Anal sex doesn’t appear any where on Customs’s prohibited list.



Deva reports that he’s never had problems importing fisting magazines or videos, adding that he’s alarmed by these new restrictions. Deva says he’s not sure whether he’ll take legal action against Canada Customs.



“If they would take their heads out of their asses and shove their fists up, they might work better,” he says.



According to the federal government’s letter, the changes are part of “continuous efforts to reflect evolving community standards… [and] an attempt to take into account current Canadian jurisprudence.”



The Little Sister’s decision from the country’s highest court came down last December.



But even before the Customs change, the rules weren’t applied consistently across the country. Deva has the December/January edition of Kerle, a fisting magazine. But Customs officers stationed in Quebec detained copies of the same magazine destined for Glad Day Bookshop in Toronto.



Glad Day’s magazines were stopped at the border on Jan 4 – and are still being detained.



Glad Day manager Toshiya Kuwabara says “degradation” has been used as a catch-all term to include fisting. “The problem is it’s still really discretionary, and it’s still happening behind closed doors,” says Kuwabara.



Customs spokesperson Michel Proulx says the new rules are just part of a ongoing process to reflect changes in community standards.



On the fisting amendment, Proulx said that addition was made to make enforcement of the rule consistent.



“It was a just a question of clarity,” says Proulx. “If we just say ‘sex with degradation’ or ‘sex with dehumanization’ without specifics, it leaves it up to individual interpretation…. I mean, it’s outright degrading.”