Polygamist leader wants 'dialogue' with government

CBC News/December 12, 2005

The former bishop of the polygamous community of Bountiful wants B.C. Attorney General Wally Oppal for a visit, to speak with residents in person.

Winston Blackmore, who readily admits to being a polygamist with many wives, says he has nothing to hide. And he says he will make the invitation to Oppal soon.

"I hope that in the coming weeks we can set up some sort of dialogue, and give him a formal invitation and I would hope that he'll follow Mr. Shurtleff's lead."

Shurtleff is Utah Attorney-General Mark Shurtleff who visited Vancouver last week to discuss polygamy with Oppal.

Shurtleff has made polygamy his top priority. His office has prosecuted a man for bigamy, and offered financial support to women trying to escape polygamous communities.

He also held open houses in Utah's largest polygamous town which attracted hundreds of polygamists – including Blackmore.

"General Shurtleff has at least had the courtesy and consideration for the fundamentalist-believing communities to go into their communities and hold open-house meetings, like a town hall meeting."

But Oppal says he's not sure there is much to be gained from a high-profile visit to the controversial community, especially when the RCMP are already investigating allegations of abuse against young women there.

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