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It's now legal to challenge someone to a duel in Canada

There is no better way to settle a dispute than a good old fashion duel, but for years some of the more archaic parts of Canada's criminal code have denied Canadians the right to a duel.

This week, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Jody Wilson-Raybould, introduced legislation meant to update and modernize the criminal justice system.

The headline news of this new legislation, and rightly so, was the clarification and strengthening of Canada's sexual assault laws.

But among some of the changes that didn't make the evening news?

Challenging someone to a duel.

“The proposed legislation would repeal several Criminal Code offences that were enacted many years ago, but that are no longer relevant or required today,” the release said.

It’s safe to say this is a timely update to the code and that “many years” might be an understatement.

According to Wikipedia, duel challenges were issued infrequently during Canada’s early settlement years, historical records show that the last duel where someone died was in 1838, in what is now the province of Quebec.

However, the total number of duelling incidents in what eventually became Canada only numbered around 300 between the mid 1600’s and 1948.

Duelling wasn’t the only oddball amendment to Canada’s criminal justice system. Some of the other repealed Criminal Code offences include:

  • Advertising a reward for the return of stolen property “no questions asked” (section 143);
  • Possessing, printing, distributing or publishing crime comics (paragraph 163(1)(b));
  • Publishing blasphemous libel (section 296);
  • Fraudulently pretending to practise witchcraft (section 365); and,
  • Issuing trading stamps (section 427).

On guard!

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