Dueling (or duelling as it’s spelled in Canada) has been brought back into the public eye by the success of the musical “Hamilton” just as witchcraft (spelled the same way in Canada) was made fun again by the success of the musical “Wicked.” Now Canada is considering making dueling and witchcraft legal again. Is musical theater that influential within the Canadian political machine?
It’s true. This week, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Jody Wilson-Raybould, introduced Bill C-51 which will remove 20 criminal offenses, such as duelling, fraudulently practicing witchcraft, telling fortunes and publishing comic books about crime fighting from Canada’s Criminal Code. Crime-fighting comics were illegal too? What have Canadians been doing for fun besides watching hockey?
The Bill reflects the Government of Canada’s ongoing commitment to ensure that Canada’s criminal justice system protects Canadians, holds offenders to account, shows compassion to victims, and upholds the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
According to a statement by the Canadian justice department, the main purpose the bill is to strengthen Canada’s sexual assault laws with provisions such as stating that an unconscious person can’t consent to sexual activity restricting how victims of sexual assault are cross examined in court. It’s about time.
But dueling? Before you put on your white gloves so you can slap the face of the guy who cut you off on the freeway and settle this infraction on the side of a Canadian highway before the Mounties arrive, it pays to read the fine print. While the challenge and the duel are legal, murder is still a crime, as is threatening with a gun or sword. Perhaps two senior ladies had it right this week in Ontario when they dueled in a parking lot with their canes.
As far as legalizing witchcraft, repealing Section 365 of the code would legalize “fraudulently pretending to practice witchcraft,” which sounds like dressing as a witch for Halloween. Again, what have Canadians been doing for fun? No witch costumes? No Batman comic books?
Perhaps a better question might be: “What things will Canadians be doing that are no longer illegal?” Also being repealed would be laws against operating a tow truck/towing a vehicle ‘after dark’, impersonating a student during a college exam and advertising drugs to restore “sexual virility.”
If you’re a Canadian with a grudge or a couple of angry Americans planning to settle your political differences in the Great White North, check the status of the bill first and have a listen to the 10 Duel Commandments from Hamilton.