A new Facebook group has been opened to help support the repeal of CC s.365. The group can be found at this link.
To support this initiative, please email and/or mail the following letter to both:
The Honourable Robert Douglas Nicholson
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
284 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0H8
The Honourable Dominic Leblanc
Critic For Justice, Liberal Party of Canada
328 Main Street, Suite 1
I ask that you act in your official capacity to repeal section 365 of the Criminal Code of Canada. This antiquated law is Canada's last remaining anti-witchcraft law that targets and discriminates minority cultures within Canada's culturally diverse population. Section 365 of the Criminal Code reads as follows,
"Every one who fraudulently
(a) pretends to exercise or to use any kind of witchcraft, sorcery, enchantment or conjuration,
(b) undertakes, for a consideration, to tell fortunes, or
(c) pretends from his skill in or knowledge of an occult or crafty science to discover where or in what manner anything that is supposed to have been stolen or lost may be found,
is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction."
Canada includes minority populations with religious and cultural practices that are termed as "witchcraft" despite being identical or similar to those in more mainstream cultures within Canada. Section 2 of The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees Canadians the freedom of conscience and religion as follows,
"2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:
(a) freedom of conscience and religion;
(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
(c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
(d) freedom of association."
Chief Justice Brian Dickson ruled in the 1985 Supreme Court of Canada case R. v. Big M Drug Mart that Canadians have "the right to entertain such religious beliefs as a person chooses, the right to declare religious beliefs openly and without fear of hindrance or reprisal, and the right to manifest religious belief by worship and practice or by teaching and dissemination."
Section 365 of the Criminal Code of Canada specifically targets minority religious and cultural populations in Canada contrary to Section 2 of The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the 1985 Supreme Court of Canada R. v. Big M Drug Mart ruling. The religious and cultural beliefs of the Defendant are put before the Court's consideration as being relevant to their guilt or innocence rather than the evidence brought forward against them. Canadians should be equal before the law and be judged upon the facts of their case without judicial influence based upon culture or religion.
Beyond being discriminatory in nature, The Criminal Code of Canada has adequate law covering acts of fraud making section 365 redundant. Current fraud-related law focuses upon the act of fraud itself rather than upon Defendant's beliefs. Further, Section 365 qualifies the offence by placing a burden upon Prosecutors to prove that the Defendant "pretends" to hold or practice their religious or cultural beliefs making the law problematic to prosecute and making an issue of the Defendant's sincerity of belief rather than focusing on the act of fraud itself.
For the above reasons, I would respectfully request that you act in your official capacity to remove section 365 from the Criminal Code of Canada. This section of the Criminal Code of Canada is discriminatory and contrary to the protections offered to Canadians by law. Canada holds a proud place in the world as an example of human rights and freedoms, this rare discriminatory law must be repealed. I look forward to your response.