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.
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