The WAG takes an uncharacteristically partisan position in its spring newsletter in a highly politicized national debate surrounding the relationship between art and pornography.
The issue concerns Bill C-54, which at the time had entered its second reading in the House of Commons. The controversial bill sought to make it easier to prosecute crimes of child pornography, sexual exploitation, and sexual violence. However, for some within the art community, including the WAG, the bill’s reach was “too broad” and “puritanical” for considering the display of nudity and erotica a criminal offence unless galleries could prove that such display possessed artistic merit. “As anyone who has ever visited an art gallery is aware,” the WAG newsletter states, “nude figures have been subject matter for artists from the beginning of time.” Most problematically, the Toronto Star art critic, Robert Fulford, notes that the bill stipulates that judgment of merit is ultimately left to police officers and attorneys-general. In October, Bill C-54, a private members bill, died when Parliament was dissolved.