The Importance Of The Criminal Code Of Canada

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“Substantive criminal law arises from and defines the basic values by which members of society are able to live together with mutual respect. These are rules by which citizens determine what is right and wrong, what conduct is tolerated and what behaviour is condemned by the larger community.” (Davison, 2011). The Criminal Code of Canada as well as the Charter of Rights and Freedom reflects the social norms and the values upheld by the members of the Canadian society. This essay will be examining the different social factors that influence the creation and the termination of Canadian criminal law.

Every society has its own set of morals and ideals of what are acceptable behaviour. The criminal law attempts to reflect those ideals to prevent
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(Ryan, 2006). Since social norms and values vary per society, this why law differentiate per countries. New social norms can ensue through moral panic. Moral panic is publicized panic where people believe that their society is being threatened. It is initiated by individuals or a group of people whose objective is to influence others to adopt the same norm. They achieve this by denouncing certain actions or behaviour to be morally incorrect and that it is harmful to society. When enough moral panic is created, the government is forced to pass legislation to satisfy the members of its society. An example of the moral entrepreneurs are the Dominion Alliance for the Total Suppression of Liquor Traffic and The Women’s Christian Temperance Union of Canada whose actions are now known as the Temperance Movement. (Cook, 1993). They blamed that consuming alcohol was the reason for illnesses and misery in Canada and wanted the government to permanently ban or moderate all consumption of alcohol. (Coombs, 2011). The moral panic stirred by the temperance movement led to the probation in Canada. Moral panic isn’t necessarily beneficial to society. Sometimes it targets people with a particular characteristics or part of a certain group as scape goats and blame societies problems on them. An extreme case example of a moral entrepreneur is Adolf Hitler. Through his autobiography Mein Kampf he raises moral panic to the German population, labeling Jewish, disabled and gays as folk devils and blaming them for all the problems that Germany was facing. (Vashem, 1969). This enabled the German government to create laws that targeted specific groups.

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