Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
According to The Canadian Press, the Canadian Criminal Code (Government of Canada, 2017) is too narrow, as in exclusive to too many:
Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould says the fact that it is against the law to disrupt a clergyman or minister — but not an imam or a rabbi — is one of the reasons she wants to modernize the Criminal Code.
This spring, the Liberal government moved to rid the Criminal Code of sections that are redundant or obsolete. (National Post, 2017)
Bill-C-51, as proposed, may lead to the removal of one section of the Criminal Code. The section is about making “it a crime to use threat or force to obstruct a clergyman or minister from celebrating a worship service or any other duty related to his job.”
At present, an assault on a clergyman on travels to or comes from such duty is an indictable offence.
Wilson-Raybould stated religious freedoms are protected in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom and other sections of the Criminal Code. Presumably, the removals make the protections less redundant.
Based on the language, the Justice Minister sees reasons for change too, as in the references to males only and Christians. The reasoning is the restricted inclusivity and explicit exclusivity of the statements towards, for example, women and other faiths – and those without a formal religion.
Rob Nicholson, a Conservative MP, used the provision in the Criminal Code in April of this year. There was, apparently, a charge of vandalism of a St. Patrick’s Basilica (Ottawa) statue (Pringle, 2017).
Regardless of the vandalism, which I deplore and condemn as well as the Christian members of community in Ottawa near St. Patrick’s Basilica, the provision for more inclusive statements – to give a ‘face lift’ to the Criminal Code – seems apt.
Government of Canada. (2017, October 13). Criminal Code. Retrieved from http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/PDF/C-46.pdf.
Pringle, J. (2017, June 12). Charges laid after St. Patrick’s Basilica vandalized. Retrieved from http://ottawa.ctvnews.ca/charges-laid-after-st-patrick-s-basilica-vandalized-1.3454092.
The Canadian Press. (2017, October 18). Criminal Code too narrow on religion, says AG. Retrieved from https://www.ourwindsor.ca/news-story/7661762-criminal-code-too-narrow-on-religion-says-ag/.