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Credit: Xtra West photo


The BC Court of Appeal has reserved its decision in the latest round of the Little Sister’s vs Canada Customs case.

This time, the case centres around whether or not the federal government should pay the gay bookstore advance costs for its continuing battle against Canada’s border guards.

Last July, BC Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Bennett said the government should pay. The government disagreed and appealed the ruling.

The BC Court of Appeal heard the government’s case Jan 10-11.

Little Sister’s staff remain hopeful that the costs awarded to them by Bennett last year will not be overturned.

Of course, even if the government wins its appeal, there is always recourse to the Supreme Court of Canada, says Little Sister’s manager Janine Fuller.

“We’re continuing on and we’re very hopeful,” Fuller says. “The fact the Supreme Court heard our case and is aware of our concerns with Canada Customs may give us more opportunity to get leave at that level.”

The book battle has gone on for almost 20 years and cost the store more than $750,000.

The latest round was prompted by border guards seizing copies of an adult comic called The Meatmen (SM volumes 18 and 24), and two books edited by Larry Townsend called Of Slaves & Ropes & Lovers and Of Men, Ropes and Remembrance.

In her funding decision last July, Justice Bennett said advanced costs can be ordered in “rare and exceptional circumstances.” She said the Little Sister’s case merits the feds footing the bill in advance.

“That issue transcends the interests of Little Sister’s and touches all book importers, both commercial and private,” Bennett ruled. “It is a case of public importance and has not been decided by other cases.

“The issues raised are too important to forfeit this litigation because of lack of funds,” she added.

The Court of Appeal has not yet set a date for releasing its decision.

-Jeremy Hainsworth



Gay MLA-cum-city-councillor Tim Stevenson may be headed back to Victoria. Stevenson won the NDP’s nomination to run as its candidate in the Vancouver-Burrard riding for BC’s upcoming election, Jan 16. That means he’ll face off against his arch rival gay Liberal MLA Lorne Mayencourt, who got his party’s nod to run again last fall. Stevenson beat out four other NDP hopefuls for the nomination: Sharon Costello, Alec Zuke (who tried to recall Mayencourt), gay education activist Murray Corren, and straight West End education activist Allison McDonald. A first round of voting eliminated Corren, Zuke and Costello, who all reportedly threw their support behind McDonald. Stevenson then beat McDonald in the second round by 41 votes. Stevenson will remain on city council until the election is held, May 17.