Blasphemy Laws in Canada. Should They Exist?


View Poll Results: Should Blasphemy Laws Exist in Canada?
Yes. Insulting Religion is a Crime 0 0%
Yes. They Are Fine The Way They Are 0 0%
No. They Should Be Off The Books 12 100.00%
I Don't Know 0 0%
Voters: 12. You may not vote on this poll

grainfedpraiboy
+3
#1
It may surprise some people that Canada still has a Blasphemy Law. Under section 296(1) of the Criminal Code it's an indictable offence and is punishable with a prison sentence of up to two years. Blasphemy laws were used to charge people with anything from insulting the integrity of the church all the way down to profanity depending on the century. According to PEW Research, only 22% of countries still have Blasphemy Laws with most of theses countries other than Canada and a few European ones being all Muslim.

Blasphemy in Canada is a statutory offence which are laws that are written and passed down by legislatures and those which have been accepted by society and differ from common law which is that that has been developed on the basis of preceding rulings by judges.

The last time a court convicted someone of blasphemy in Canada was 1935 and Section 296(3) of the Criminal Code tempers the law by stating: "No person shall be convicted of an offence under this section for expressing in good faith and in decent language, or attempting to establish by argument used in good faith and conveyed in decent language, an opinion on a religious subject."

Now some may argue that this law is a quaint but quirky relic of our past akin to it being illegal to paint wooden ladders red in Alberta or kiss your wife on a Sunday in New Brunswick but the fact of the matter the law still does exist and in 2009 Ireland was forced to dust off their Constitution and confront their blasphemy law and rather then take the opportunity to bin it they instead beefed it up to include Islam and other religions and increase the fine to around $50,000 Canadian.

The Irish public was not impressed and even the Churches were somewhat opposed. Atheist organisations began posting blasphemous material in an attempt to spark a court challenge and after 5 years Ireland agreed in Oct of this year to hold a future referendum on whether the blasphemy law should dropped.

It is important to the world that Ireland do away with it's Blasphemy Law as many Muslim nations pushing the UN for a globally recognised blasphemy law have cited Ireland as a non Muslim country which supports the concept. Pakistan, one of the more vocal supporters currently has 16 people convicted of blasphemy on death row (Pakistan suspended capital punishment in 200 and sees 10s of thousands of cases each year with most being ways for the Muslims to prosecute the few Christians left.

In Canada the half century plus slack in the lack of prosecutions under 296(1) has been picked up by the various provincial Human Rights organisations who have circumnavigated 296(3) by creating their own defacto blasphemy laws and have increasingly gone after citizens and media outlets who insult religion under the guise of compensating and redressing "hurt feelings". One of the more famous cases was the tremendous amount of tax dollars spent trying to prosecute the Western Standard magazine for having published the Mohammed Cartoons as part of the story during the global rioting by Islamists.

While the publisher Ezra Levant was exonerated in the end but forced to close his magazine, it was very chilling to witness the hidden video put on youtube of the government integrating Levant trying to establish "intent" in order to determine how vigorously they would pursue a prosecution and how much the Calgary Imam who made the complaint should be compensated or if at all. Media across Canada have also acknowledged that they practice self censorship due to the constant threat of being forced to defend themselves against an HRC tribunal and their bottomless source of tax funding.

So should Blasphemy Laws in Canada even still exist? Are they not used enough or are they used so much by quasi courts that they have suppressed our freedom of speech and expression?
 
MHz
#2
That would solve the problem of the 'open beds' issue with the prisons. Every time you get a new conviction let out the one who has been in the longest for that same crime. Take about a week to fill it up is my estimate, how about you?
 
El Barto
+5
#3  Top Rated Post
If it wasn't for religion I would have very little vocabulary to swear....
 
Walter
#4
Quote: Originally Posted by grainfedpraiboy View Post

It may surprise some people that Canada still has a Blasphemy Law. Under section 296(1) of the Criminal Code it's an indictable offence and is punishable with a prison sentence of up to two years. Blasphemy laws were used to charge people with anything from insulting the integrity of the church all the way down to profanity depending on the century. According to PEW Research, only 22% of countries still have Blasphemy Laws with most of theses countries other than Canada and a few European ones being all Muslim.

Blasphemy in Canada is a statutory offence which are laws that are written and passed down by legislatures and those which have been accepted by society and differ from common law which is that that has been developed on the basis of preceding rulings by judges.

The last time a court convicted someone of blasphemy in Canada was 1935 and Section 296(3) of the Criminal Code tempers the law by stating: "No person shall be convicted of an offence under this section for expressing in good faith and in decent language, or attempting to establish by argument used in good faith and conveyed in decent language, an opinion on a religious subject."

Now some may argue that this law is a quaint but quirky relic of our past akin to it being illegal to paint wooden ladders red in Alberta or kiss your wife on a Sunday in New Brunswick but the fact of the matter the law still does exist and in 2009 Ireland was forced to dust off their Constitution and confront their blasphemy law and rather then take the opportunity to bin it they instead beefed it up to include Islam and other religions and increase the fine to around $50,000 Canadian.

The Irish public was not impressed and even the Churches were somewhat opposed. Atheist organisations began posting blasphemous material in an attempt to spark a court challenge and after 5 years Ireland agreed in Oct of this year to hold a future referendum on whether the blasphemy law should dropped.

It is important to the world that Ireland do away with it's Blasphemy Law as many Muslim nations pushing the UN for a globally recognised blasphemy law have cited Ireland as a non Muslim country which supports the concept. Pakistan, one of the more vocal supporters currently has 16 people convicted of blasphemy on death row (Pakistan suspended capital punishment in 200 and sees 10s of thousands of cases each year with most being ways for the Muslims to prosecute the few Christians left.

In Canada the half century plus slack in the lack of prosecutions under 296(1) has been picked up by the various provincial Human Rights organisations who have circumnavigated 296(3) by creating their own defacto blasphemy laws and have increasingly gone after citizens and media outlets who insult religion under the guise of compensating and redressing "hurt feelings". One of the more famous cases was the tremendous amount of tax dollars spent trying to prosecute the Western Standard magazine for having published the Mohammed Cartoons as part of the story during the global rioting by Islamists.

While the publisher Ezra Levant was exonerated in the end but forced to close his magazine, it was very chilling to witness the hidden video put on youtube of the government integrating Levant trying to establish "intent" in order to determine how vigorously they would pursue a prosecution and how much the Calgary Imam who made the complaint should be compensated or if at all. Media across Canada have also acknowledged that they practice self censorship due to the constant threat of being forced to defend themselves against an HRC tribunal and their bottomless source of tax funding.

So should Blasphemy Laws in Canada even still exist? Are they not used enough or are they used so much by quasi courts that they have suppressed our freedom of speech and expression?

No attribution or citation?
 
SLM
+4
#5
Bottom line, insulting someone should never be a criminal offense. It's highly questionable that such an act could even pass muster under tort law.

Quote: Originally Posted by El Barto View Post

If it wasn't for religion I would have very little vocabulary to swear....

That is because you do your swearing en francais! Come to the Dark Side, er, I mean, English side, and a whole new world opens up to you.....

Lol.
 
Cannuck
#6
There are lots of silly laws on the books. Just because they are there doesn't mean anybody wants to enforce them or even that they are enforceable
 
petros
#7
Another law to keep Jews happy. Ezra found out that laws to protect his people apply to Muzzies too. Poor, poor Ezra.

Anti-semite = blasphemy.

Questions?
 
Colpy
+2
#8
Quote: Originally Posted by petros View Post

Another law to keep Jews happy. Ezra found out that laws to protect his people apply to Muzzies too. Poor, poor Ezra.

Anti-semite = blasphemy.

Questions?

Yeah....have you sought treatment for your psychotic obsession with Jews??

Seriously, sometimes you sound like MHz.....and that is NOT a good thing.

Otherwise, you are sensible as can be....
 
Sal
#9
Quote: Originally Posted by El Barto View Post

If it wasn't for religion I would have very little vocabulary to swear....

meh, that's the Frenchie in ya Barty, ya have to learn to swear in anglais
 
petros
#10
Hey, I'm just pointing out the truth. If you are upset laws used to protect one are applied to others complain to the powers that be. That's what equality is all about.
 
WLDB
+3
#11
Im not surprised they are still there but if they were last used in 1935 Im not too worried. Still, it would be nice to have it and all the other archaic laws technically on the books scrapped sooner or later.
 
SLM
+2
#12
Quote: Originally Posted by WLDB View Post

Im not surprised they are still there but if they were last used in 1935 Im not too worried. Still, it would be nice to have it and all the other archaic laws technically on the books scrapped sooner or later.

Maybe they should do a 50 year 'stale dated' test or something? Any laws on the books that haven't had any charges filed under them in the last 50 years should automatically come up for review. Force them to punt the darned things, because if we/they are not forced to review them, well it's no different than any one of us....to the back of the closet it goes. Lol
 
taxslave
#13
Quote: Originally Posted by Cannuck View Post

There are lots of silly laws on the books. Just because they are there doesn't mean anybody wants to enforce them or even that they are enforceable

Except that it could cost you tons of money to defend yourself. Money that you cannot get back when you win. While the persecution generally has the unlimited taxpayer chequebook to throw at you.
 
Cannuck
#14
Quote: Originally Posted by taxslave View Post

Except that it could cost you tons of money to defend yourself. Money that you cannot get back when you win. While the persecution generally has the unlimited taxpayer chequebook to throw at you.

...and you think it's remotely possible to get charged under the blasphemy law because?
 
gerryh
+4
#15
Quote: Originally Posted by Cannuck View Post

...and you think it's remotely possible to get charged under the blasphemy law because?



If you have reasonable grounds to believe an offence has been committed contrary to a provincial or federal statute [i.e. Criminal Code of Canada], a regulation made under that statute, or a municipal bylaw, you may prosecute the offender yourself. Before launching a private prosecution, you may want to make a complaint to the police. If the police refuse to lay charges and you believe there is enough evidence of an offence to support a conviction, you may lay your own charges.


Filing Private Prosecution
 
Cannuck
#16
Quote: Originally Posted by gerryh View Post

If you have reasonable grounds to believe an offence has been committed contrary to a provincial or federal statute [i.e. Criminal Code of Canada], a regulation made under that statute, or a municipal bylaw, you may prosecute the offender yourself. Before launching a private prosecution, you may want to make a complaint to the police. If the police refuse to lay charges and you believe there is enough evidence of an offence to support a conviction, you may lay your own charges.


Filing Private Prosecution



1. Laying the Information
The first step is to go to a justice of the peace (JP) at your local court and sign a form on which you set out the details of the alleged offence. This form is called an "information," and you are referred to as the "informant." The JP then asks you to swear that this statement is true, and the JP signs his or her name as a witness. This process is called "swearing the information." Formal charges have now been laid.


....and you think you could get a JP to sign his name because?


Oh ya....there have been so many people prosecuted for whistling in Petrolia On. or building big snowmen in Souris PEI. I'm so glad I don't let my panties get all twisted up over silly little things
 
petros
+2
#17
You wear panties? Why am I not surprised?
 
gerryh
+3
#18
Quote: Originally Posted by Cannuck View Post

1. Laying the Information
The first step is to go to a justice of the peace (JP) at your local court and sign a form on which you set out the details of the alleged offence. This form is called an "information," and you are referred to as the "informant." The JP then asks you to swear that this statement is true, and the JP signs his or her name as a witness. This process is called "swearing the information." Formal charges have now been laid.


....and you think you could get a JP to sign his name because?


Oh ya....there have been so many people prosecuted for whistling in Petrolia On. or building big snowmen in Souris PEI. I'm so glad I don't let my panties get all twisted up over silly little things


The JP is signing as a witness only and verifying the information. If the law is on the books, then charges can be laid even if the police or Crown is unwilling. It doesn't matter if it's never been done or if it's only been done once in a blue moon. The fact remains that it is possible despite what your uneducated thinking is on the matter.
 
Cannuck
#19
Quote: Originally Posted by gerryh View Post

The JP is signing as a witness only and verifying the information. If the law is on the books, then charges can be laid even if the police or Crown is unwilling. It doesn't matter if it's never been done or if it's only been done once in a blue moon. The fact remains that it is possible despite what your uneducated thinking is on the matter.


I'm not saying it can't be done. I'm saying it won't be done. You can stop fretting about it.
 
DaSleeper
+5
#20
Looks like Cannuck has started another marathon dance, .....any bets on how long it lasts???
 
gerryh
+3
#21
Quote: Originally Posted by Cannuck View Post

I'm not saying it can't be done. I'm saying it won't be done. You can stop fretting about it.


I'm not fretting, just pointing out your ignorance on the matter. One more example of you shooting off your mouth about something you don't have a clue about.

Quote: Originally Posted by Cannuck View Post

...and you think it's remotely possible to get charged under the blasphemy law because?

 
Zipperfish
#22
Quote: Originally Posted by grainfedpraiboy View Post


While the publisher Ezra Levant was exonerated in the end but forced to close his magazine...

This is not true. Western Standard continues, although it cancelled its print format. The reasons given at the time were financial, though this article seems to imply it was due to Levant's charges under the Human Rights Commission.
 
taxslave
+2
#23
Quote: Originally Posted by Cannuck View Post

I'm not saying it can't be done. I'm saying it won't be done. You can stop fretting about it.

Look at how the HRC persecuted Mark Styen. If he did not have MacLeans vast legal resources behind him he would have been royally FUKKED.
 
Cannuck
#24
Quote: Originally Posted by gerryh View Post

I'm not fretting, just pointing out your ignorance on the matter. One more example of you shooting off your mouth about something you don't have a clue about.

Lol... It isn't even remotely possible. No JP would ever sign. You can sleep soundly tonight.
 
MHz
#25
Quote: Originally Posted by gerryh View Post

I'm not fretting, just pointing out your ignorance on the matter. One more example of you shooting off your mouth about something you don't have a clue about.

I'm still waiting for your reply about leaving the board for good if I show you to be a liar who is always shooting his mouth off.
 
Tonington
+2
#26
Quote: Originally Posted by grainfedpraiboy View Post

So should Blasphemy Laws in Canada even still exist? Are they not used enough or are they used so much by quasi courts that they have suppressed our freedom of speech and expression?

Nice post grain.

I don't think Canada has any business with these laws on the books. The Canadian blasphemy law is based on English laws, which can be traced to a case in England, in 1676 . In those early days, blasphemous libel was as much an affront to God, as it was to the State. While our Head of State is still the Supreme Governor of the Church of England, I think most would agree that these days our society is far more secular in nature, and though there is no official separation, in effect we do practice the separation of the two. I think that's a good thing, and we need only think of a situation where another group becomes the majority to understand that an official separation serves our society best.

Certainly, I don't think blasphemy should be viewed as an affront to the State. More to the point, I don't think the State has any business censoring any criticism against it. Clearly that would be against other freedoms we do have, and so this is really one of those cases where our laws are inconsistent, and even hypocritical. The blasphemy laws are outdated.

No idea, no thing, should be above criticism. Considering that some would conflate criticism as irreverence towards religion, clearly we should not have a law like that on the books, even if it is used infrequently.
 
Cannuck
#27
I wonder if people that are concerned about this law would be too concerned to possess a lottery ticket in North Carolina, lie down and fall asleep with their shoes on in North Dakota or kiss a woman on a train in Wisconsin.
 
Goober
+2
#28
Quote: Originally Posted by Cannuck View Post

Oh ya....there have been so many people prosecuted for whistling in Petrolia On. or building big snowmen in Souris PEI. I'm so glad I don't let my panties get all twisted up over silly little things

Nah on the panties.
Now this is appropriate.
 
MHz
+1
#29
We have the same slippers, what are the odds?
 
CDNBear
+2
#30
Quote: Originally Posted by Cannuck View Post

I wonder if people that are concerned about this law would be too concerned to possess a lottery ticket in North Carolina...

Nope.

Quote:

lie down and fall asleep with their shoes on in North Dakota

Nope.

Quote:

kiss a woman on a train in Wisconsin.

Nope, because I'm in Canada.

Where even you can do what Gh explained.

Now I know how smart you think you are, but your biggest mistake is thinking all JP's think alike. How prejudicial of you, by the way.

But they aren't.

You can wait for the JP you want to hear your bond issue, even if it takes a day or two to get him, because you know he'll accept what you have to offer. While the JP who's on this morning won't.
 

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