Political support for naturism in Canada

Canada’s in the midst of a federal election. Naturism isn’t an issue in the election, but the Federation of Canadian Naturists has queried the major parties in the provinces as to their opinions on naturism anyhow.

Here’s one response, circulated on an FCN mailing list:

From: Bob Dixon
Date: Wed, 11 Jan 2006 21:59:59 -0700
Subject: Federal Election Interview: Answers to your questions about Nudism

Hi folks, please read and pass on to the greater nudist network

Attached below is a Q&A discussion between Steve Critchley, WCANR President, and Nancy Love, the Liberal Party candidate in the Yellowhead (AB) riding in the current federal election. It is gratifying to see a candidate with the time and care to address questions about nudist/naturist issues. It is also exciting to see that she espouses a very favorable position relating to these issues.

Bob Dixon
WCANR Trustee

Date: Tue, 10 Jan 2006 17:41:04 -0000
From: “Nancy Love, Yellowhead Liberal”
Subject: Answers to your questions about Nudism

Steve Critchley
Western Canadian Association for Nude Recreation

Hi Steve,

Please find below the answers to the questions you sent me. If I can be of further assistance or you have additional questions please do not hesitate to contact me personally.


1. Do you believe that people who enjoy nude sunbathing should be able to do so without interference from officials as long as they do so at a beach that is accepted for that purpose?

Answer to Question 1: The answer to this is simply Yes.

2. Local and provincial governments now set aside public land for special types of recreation such as tennis, surfing, and hunting. Vancouver and Toronto have set aside areas for nude sunbathing. Do you think more special and secluded areas should be set aside in other parts of the country for people who enjoy nude sunbathing?

Answer to Question 2: The nudist community has proved to be responsible, respectful, and representative of a diverse community. Where appropriate, areas should be made available so that this part of the Canadian society can excersise their rights.

3. In general, what are your views of nudists and naturism in Canada?

Answer to Question 3: As I gain a greater education on Nudism, especially within Canada, I see how important it is to ensure there is a safe and respectful attitude towards those who are practicing nudist. Living in Western Canada I see the value of places like Wreck Beach and such organizations as the Western Canadian Association for Nude Recreation. I believe in what WCANR stands for and how they hope to work with North American associations such as the American Association for Nude Recreation and other organizations such as FCN to protect such places as Wreck Beach and local clubs in Canada.

I look forward to gaining greater insight on your organization and hearing about ways that I can be of assistance as a sitting Member of Parliment. I want to be able to represent your views and those of all Canadian nudists in Ottawa.

Thank you very much for your questions and support.
Nancy Love

Nancy Love
Yellowhead Liberal

Originally posted January 13, 2006

Canadian decision on “swinger clubs” may benefit naturists too

All too often, legal and governmental actions and decisions are nothing but ingenious new ways to limit personal freedom. But now, for once, there is good news.

At a time when governmental bodies in the U. S. are rushing headlong back to the dark ages, their counterparts in more reasonable and enlightened countries are catching up with the modern world.

Earlier this year, Canada fully legalized gay marriages. And now Canada’s Supreme Court has transformed the silly puritanical concept of “indecency” to something much more rational. As applied to standards for criminal behavior it will no longer mean “anything that prudes disapprove of”, but can apply only to behavior that causes actual harm.

Very sensibly, the majority decision stated:

Over time, courts increasingly came to recognize that morals and taste were subjective, arbitrary and unworkable in the criminal context and that a diverse society would function only with a generous measure of tolerance for minority mores and practices.

Although the decision applied in a case that involved swingers’ clubs, the same reasoning applies to nudist and naturist activities.


Court ruling could bring swingers out of the closet

Supreme Court opens door for ‘swingers’ clubs

Sex club ruling redefines ‘indecency’

Swingers clubs okay, top court rules

Court OKs Group Sex in ‘Swinger’ Clubs

Canadian court lifts ban on ‘swingers’ clubs

Originally published December 24, 2005

This is huge

Court Rules Kan. Can’t Single Out Gay Sex

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – Kansas cannot punish illegal underage sex more severely if it involves homosexual conduct, the state’s highest court ruled unanimously Friday in a case watched by national groups on both sides of the gay rights debate.

The Supreme Court said in a unanimous ruling that a law that specified such harsher treatment and led to a 17-year prison sentence for an 18-year-old defendant “suggests animus toward teenagers who engage in homosexual sex.”

Moral disapproval of a group cannot be a legitimate state interest,” said Justice Marla Luckert, writing for the high court.

What does this have to do with naturism, you want to know? I’m glad you asked. The answer is in the highlighted part of the excerpt.

Whatever you think of the morality of gay sex, you have to admit that this is an issue where there is a sharp disagreement among responsible people. It’s not like the immorality of murder or stealing or lying, about which there is only a question about whether a particular incident really falls in the category in question. Instead, it’s a very contentious question about whether the practices of a particular broad type are even immoral at all. It’s basically a religious issue, about which the government is required not to favor one viewpoint over another.

Sound familiar? Don’t we hear all the time that certain self-appointed guardians of “public morals” have declared that harmless public nudity itself is inherently immoral?

Yep. Naturists and others who want to enjoy harmless public nudity face that all the time. Especially in a place like Kansas.

The lack of a strong consensus that either (private) gay sex or nonsexual public nudity is inherently immoral is precisely why the Kansas Supreme Court decided unanimously that “Moral disapproval of a group cannot be a legitimate state interest.” The government simply has no business regulating religious moral issues like this.

It wouldn’t be surprising to see this issue go to the U. S. Supreme Court. Naturists should be hoping with all their might that the latter is as clear-sighted as the highest court of Kansas.

The article is also here.

Originally posted October 21, 2005

Action Alert: Wreck Beach

From the Naturist Action Committee (September 7, 2005):

The Naturist Action Committee (NAC) asks all naturists to unite in a worldwide grassroots e-mail writing campaign to save Wreck Beach from plans being made by the University of British Columbia (UBC) for three additional residence towers to overlook the beach. One tower is already being constructed. If the University is allowed to continue on its present course, a total of four towers will blight the beach forever.

Go here for the rest.

Check the Wreck Beach pages for information on this great beach in Vancouver, B. C.

Originally posted September 7, 2005

Naturism under attack in Kansas

Now for the bad news.

Nudist retreat restricted

“Restricted”? No, “assaulted”, “mugged”, or “raped” is more like it. But then, you wouldn’t expect anything that might sound critical of local public officials to be allowed, would you? (You might find yourself zoned out of business.)

Basically, a local naturist park on rural land near Topeka– Lake Edun — has been ordered to shut down, despite no charges of misbehavior of any sort, its only crime being to celebrate naturist joie de vivre.

Formally, the excuse is violation of local zoning — even though the zoning was deliberately instituted only recently specifically in order to eliminate Lake Edun, which has existed peacefully in its present location for some time. Exactly why is it that zoning against a harmless hiking and swimming spot is needed in the middle of s sparsely-populated rural area?

The state of Kansas prides itself on its extreme conservatism. But aren’t private property rights a cornerstone of conservative values? Apparently not anymore. If you want to use your private property for naturism, you would seem to be SOL in Kansas. Another naturist spot in Kansas, the Gaea Retreat Center, has also been under frequent attack by the local body-phobic powers that be.

Additional news reports: here.

Originally published July 17, 2005

Follow-up: Strike Daytona Beach, FL from your travel plans

By all means, if you’re going to Florida, make it a point to visit the legally nude sections of Apollo and Playalinda beaches at Canaveral National Seashore. (But watch out for the space shuttle launch on July 13. Playalinda, which is just a few miles north of the launch site, is closed for several days around that time. Also, watch out for the really blood-thirsty local mosquitoes.)

However, by all means, do not plan to stay or spend money in Daytona Beach, just a few miles north of Apollo Beach. We would suggest spending time at Ormond Beach, just north of Daytona, or New Smyrna Beach, south of Daytona (and closer to Apollo). Most of the folks in Daytona are very nice, but there are a few nasty suckers in that town:

Topless woman arrested while protesting nudity law in Daytona

A stay-at-home mother was arrested when she exposed her breasts to protest laws that bar women from publicly going topless.

Elizabeth Book, of Ormond Beach, pulled down her top Saturday at a city auditorium, where she stood near four Grecian muse sculptures that are nude from the waist up.

Book, who had spread word of the protest days in advance, was arrested on a charge of disorderly conduct.

It was just a few days ago we wrote that Book had won a legal case which affirmed she had the First Amendment right to bare her breasts. So much for public officials respecting the law and people’s free-speech rights.

Other references for this story: here, here.

Originally published July 6, 2005

AANR wins right to challenge VA law against juvenile camps

4th Circuit reinstates juvenile nudist camp’s free-speech lawsuit

RICHMOND, Va. — A federal appeals court Tuesday reinstated a lawsuit challenging a 2004 Virginia law requiring parental supervision at a nudist camp for juveniles.

A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the American Association for Nude Recreation can pursue its claim that the law violates its free speech rights, crimping its ability to spread its nudism philosophy.

There’s a fair amount of a story behind this, but we’ll leave the telling for another time. This intervention of the appellate court is a perfect example of our judicial system at it’s best. We desperately need an independent judiciary to protect the rights of minority points of view against the uninformed prejudices of the majority. We have a First Amendment that guarantees free speech for a reason, and we need the courts to ensure that this guarantee is respected.

Although the story doesn’t mention it, AANR was assisted in this legal effort on behalf of naturists by the ACLU. Of course, we are well aware that many “conservatives” hate the ACLU. For example, there’s this from last year:

Only days ago, the ACLU argued that the potential for abuse be damned; a Virginia nudist group has the right to open a nudist camp for young children. They argue to deny same is a violation of the group’s constitutional right to privacy.

Logical minds would be hard pressed to imagine any scenario in which the “Framers” of the Constitution intended for said right to be applied to such intent.

The ACLU argues, “So for these kids, being around other naked kids [and adults] is something perfectly normal, and the camp is very highly supervised.” To which I would reply, “That is exactly my concern lest we forget the countless number of children who were sexually assaulted by priests.”

And this, from the American Family Association:

The American Civil Liberties Union is apparently going to court to defend teenagers’ “right” to go naked. According to an Associated Press report, the ACLU is filing a federal lawsuit against the state of Virginia to contest a law that bans nudist summer camps for teenagers. The law, which goes into effect tomorrow, was passed by Virginia lawmakers in response to an annual week-long camp run by the White Tail Park nudist colony. Kent Willis of the ACLU claims the statute was an over-reaction on the part of the state legislators, and that it interferes with families’ rights to make their own lifestyle choices.

Add this support of naturist rights in Virginia to your list of reasons to join and support the ACLU.

The news story is also here, here, here, and here.

Originally published July 6, 2005