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It Will Soon Be Legal To Challenge A Duel In Canada

Fans of witchcraft and crime comics will be stoked, too.

The days of challenging someone to a duel may be (mostly) past us, but that could all change with new updates coming to Canadian law.

For years, it has been illegal for Canadians to invite or accept a duel. But the Liberal government announced this week that it intends to change that — making nemeses across the country rejoice.

Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould on Tuesday announced that some some "obsolete" and "redundant" Criminal Code provisions would be removed in an effort to update and modernize the criminal justice system.

Up until now, s.71, which prohibits "challenges or attempts by any means to provoke another person to fight a duel," has held a maximum punishment of up to two years in jail.

As the Ottawa Citizen points out, the last person to die in a duel on Canadian soil was Robert Lyon, who fell victim to John Wilson's bullet in 1833, and died on the streets of Perth, Ont. They had been fighting over the affections of a young school teacher.

Although, it would appear some Canadians are keeping the spirit of the duel alive and well in these modern times:

The proposed legislation "would amend or repeal a number of provisions in the Criminal Code in order to ensure they are compliant with the Charter, and to make the law more relevant in our modern society," a government release said. "Several Criminal Code offences that were enacted many years ago… are no longer relevant or required today."

This includes the clarification and strengthening of Canada's sexual assault laws.

A number of other strange and outdated laws are scheduled for repeal, including:

  • Advertising a reward for the return of stolen property “no questions asked,”
  • Pretending to exercise or to use any kind of witchcraft, sorcery, enchantment or conjuration,
  • Publishing blasphemous libel,
  • Possessing, printing, distributing or publishing crime comics,
  • Issuing trading stamps, and,
  • Fraudulently pretending to practice witchcraft.

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