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Dueling, witchcraft no longer illegal in Canada

Statutes outlawing 'outdated' laws set to be repealed

Title: The Duel, Summary: Andrew Jackson killing Charles Dickenson. (Library of Congress)
Title: The Duel, Summary: Andrew Jackson killing Charles Dickenson. (Library of Congress)

CANADAEn garde!

Settling a score in Canada might soon involve a quick draw at high noon.

In an effort to modernize criminal code, and strengthen the country’s sexual assault laws, a number of “outdated” pieces of Canadian legislature are set to be repealed from the “Consolidated Acts” .

While most of the statues slated to be repealed govern things that are no longer needed, or have been found unconstitutional by federal courts, there are a handful of regulations that seem out of place, even for ‘outdated’ legislature.

  • Dueling (Section 71) – Challenging, attempting, provoking or accepting a duel.
  • Libel (Section 296) – Knowingly and intentionally publishing “blasphemous libel.”
  • "Fraudulent Witchcraft" (Section 365) – Fraudulently practicing “witchcraft, sorcery, or conjuration.”

According to an explanation by the Canadian Justice Department, the intention of the proposed legislative repeal is to remove laws that have been deemed to be unnecessary, and/or covered by other pre-existing laws.

On the matter of libel, the only change is the wording of the law, after a federal court deemed the law unconstitutional, as ‘publishing’ was too broad of a term.

But, for dueling and witchcraft, the statutes will be removed entirely.

As noted by The Ottawa Citizen, the last documented death by dueling in Canada was in 1833.

But before you go call your nemesis and tell them to grab their dueling pistols and meet you in Windsor – tourists and non-citizens are subject to a different set of laws, which aren’t as lax when it comes to ‘shooting and killing someone you dislike.’

Also among the laws headed for the chopping block:

  • Creating, printing, or distributing comic books concerning crime-fighting (Section 163)
  • Operating a tow truck/towing a vehicle ‘after dark’ (Section 250)
  • Impersonating a student during a college exam (Section 404)