Sunday, 15 February 2009

Canada's first Criminal Code: 1892

If Canada's first criminal code came into force in 1892, under what code was Slumach tried and convicted. Was the death by hanging the penalty for all culpable homicide without distinction? Was there an equivalent to "manslaughter"?
When the Provinces of Canada were confederated in 1867, the first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald was adamant that Canada would not suffer the disparate criminal law system inherited from England for long (at that time, each province had its own criminal law). Macdonald believed strongly in the need for a single, uniform regime of criminal law for the entire country. In fact, the Canadian constitution which he helped write, gave the federal government the explicit authority to codify the criminal law. An initial set of nine statutes was passed by the federal House of Commons in 1869 to at least consolidate the law for coinage offences, forgery, offences against the person, larceny, malicious injuries to property, perjury and procedure.

A complete Criminal Code was finally achieved in July, 1892, under the leadership of the Minister of Justice and soon-to-be prime minister Sir John Thompson. This was a major event in Canadian legal history. "Just think of it," wrote one judge to Prime Minister Thompson, "Canada in the van! The first to enact a complete codification. It is far and away the best measure of the kind ever submitted to any legislature."

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Congratulations to David Webb for "Slumach's Gold"

PRAXIS, SFU's Centre for Screenwriters shows as one of the "Current Winners" of the 2009 Screenwriting Competition the feature-length screenplay "Slumach's Gold" by David Webb. To read a brief outline of the screenplay and a biography click here.
David writes on his blog: "Hundreds of writers enter this competition, and winners have gone on to see their works produced for film and television. I will be heading to Vancouver from March 3 to 6 to workshop the screenplay with an industry expert and speak to a producer."
Go here for David's Webb site

The Peak

In the latest issue of The Peak, SFU's independent newspaper Vol. 131, Issue 5, of 2 February 2009, is a review by Gordon J. Stewart of Slumach's Gold. Click here for the link. If it seems familiar, the same review appeared in The Peak of 31 March 2008

Monday, 2 February 2009

Liquor rather than gold?

A year ago I found out that Seymour was involved in the illegal trade of liquor with the "Indians" and that he was sentenced for that to six month hard labour in 1882. Click here for that story.
I suspected something similar about Bee, who was known to police in New Westminster. He was indeed in the same business as his friend Seymour. Following from The Daily Colonist of 10 June 1887--
Louis Bee, a half breed, was arrested some days ago for supplying liquor to Indians, and was this morning sentenced by the police magistrate to six months imprisonment with hard labour.
And these two rehabilitated convicts were camping right in the middle of Pitt Meadows with no other purpose than fishing sturgeon. Do you believe that?