Post Censorship in Canada

Canada Post refuses to distribute political flyer

25th January

Update: Court Victory Posted...

Canada Post told to stop censoring political flyers

The Sex Party was ready to party over its "victory" in Federal Court, which ruled that Canada Post must rewrite its guidelines on what constitutes explicit sex.

We consider this a victory, said John Ince, the president of the Sex Party, a registered political party in British Caledonia I think it's a victory for the rule of law. It's saying that Canada Post is not above the law. It can't just ignore cabinet regulations and just do whatever it wants in the area of sex.

Ince was reacting to a decision by Federal Court Justice Michel Beaudry to the Sex Party's challenge of Canada Post's refusal to deliver a mass mail-out of a political pamphlet during the 2006 federal election because it deemed it offensive and sexually explicit without explaining what that meant.

We are trying to make our society, and especially our government institutions, more tolerant and accepting of healthy sexual expression, said Ince.

The pamphlet was titled Politics for a Sex-Positive Future. It contained erotic art images and outlined the party's platform.

Canada Post has been relying on basically an illegal internal rule to prohibit our material and, indeed, all sexual material, said Ince.

He said that the government had previously ruled that the mail must be delivered unless the contents were illegal.

The court gave Canada Post six months to rewrite its policy.

We're examining our policies, said Lillian Au, spokeswoman for Canada Post.


12th September

Update: Explicit Definitions...

Canada Post refine their rules about carrying adult material

Canada Post will continue to ban sexually explicit material from its general delivery admail service, despite a January ruling at least partially upholding the Sex Party's right to freedom of expression.

The Sex Party challenged Canada Post's criteria for Non-Mailable Matter in 2006 after the postal agency refused to deliver one of its political pamphlets. The pamphlet outlined the party's Politics for a Sex-Positive Future and contained a sexual IQ test and images of potentially erotic art, including a photo of a doorknob in the shape of a penis.

Canada Post rejected the pamphlet because, according to its admail policy at the time, it will not knowingly deliver offensive articles that contain sexually explicit material.

Ruling that the corporation's restrictions were impermissibly vague, federal court Justice Michel Beaudry gave Canada Post six months to clarify its regulations and define what counts as sexually explicit.

When the case was heard last October, Canada Post lawyer Steinman offered the following definition: representations of nudity suggestive of sexual activity, representations of sexual intercourse, and written text describing sexual acts in a way that is more than technical all fall under the umbrella of sexually explicit, he said.

Had that definition been included in the corporation's regulations to begin with, Beaudry said he would have dismissed the Sex Party's complaint outright. Imposing certain conditions on the distribution of sexually explicit material is demonstrably justifiable in a free and democratic society, he ruled.

The revised policy states that admail containing images or representations of nudity that are suggestive of sexual activity, images or representations of sexual intercourse, and text that describes sexual acts in a way that is more than purely technical must now be enclosed in an opaque envelope marked adult material. Material considered illegal under Canada's obscenity law is entirely prohibited.


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