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e-382 (Blasphemous libel)

Initiated by Greg Oliver from Toronto, Ontario

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the Government of Canada

  • It has been eight decades since the last conviction under Section 296, and thirty-five years since the last charge of blasphemous libel was laid;
  • Blasphemous libel serves no purpose in Canadian law or modern-day society, and would likely be found to contravene section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which protects freedom of expression;
  • In Canada and elsewhere, blasphemy laws have been abused to suppress minorities and stifle inconvenient speech;
  • Authoritarian states point to Canada’s blasphemous libel law to defend their own laws criminalizing blasphemy;
  • Repealing Canada’s blasphemy law would demonstrate, at home and abroad, Canada’s commitment to the value of free speech for all; and
  • Freedom of expression is the foundational human right in our society. Many others, including freedom of assembly and freedom of conscience, are derived from freedom of expression.
We, the undersigned, residents of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to repeal Section 296 (Blasphemous Libel) of the Canadian Criminal Code.
Government response tabled on January 30, 2017 (Sessional Paper No. 8545-421-127-01)
Open for signature
June 22, 2016, at 4:11 p.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
October 20, 2016, at 4:11 p.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Ali Ehsassi (Willowdale)
December 9, 2016 (Petition No. 421-01047)
Government response tabled
January 30, 2017
Photo - Ali Ehsassi
Liberal Caucus