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The Canadian Supreme Court on Jan. 19 refused to help the Vancouver gay bookstore Little Sisters Book and Art Emporium with its long-running fight against Canada Customs, which routinely seizes material shipped to the store from abroad, labeling the items obscene.
The shop sought federal “advance costs” funding to continue its battle, arguing that the issue is an important one for all Canadians, not just for the store itself. Precedent set in an aboriginal-rights dispute allows the Supreme Court to front government money to pay for legal challenges of unusual significance. Such money would be repaid or redistributed later based on the outcome of a case.
But, in a 7-2 ruling, the court said Little Sisters’ case isn’t as important as the store thinks it is.
“It is only a ‘rare and exceptional’ case that is special enough to warrant an advance costs award,” the court declared.