Criminal Code Section 365

Canada’s Criminal Code Section 365 states:

 Every one who fraudulently

  • (a) pretends to exercise or to use any kind of witchcraft, sorcery, enchantment or conjuration,

  • (b) undertakes, for a consideration, to tell fortunes, or

  • (c) pretends from his skill in or knowledge of an occult or crafty science to discover where or in what manner anything that is supposed to have been stolen or lost may be found,

is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

It is curious language to examine.  In the first section (a), the implication of the language seems to be that it’s possible to pretend to exercise witchcraft, sorcery or conjuration in a manner other than “fraudulently”.  One supposes if the “service” is performed without fee or in the case of “magic shows”  where the show is understood to be an illusion, that language makes sense.

The second section (b) is much more direct.  When reading these things, I like to put the whole sentence together…”Every one who fraudulently undertakes, for a consideration, to tell fortunes is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.”  That’s a pretty straightforward legal sentence.

The third section is similarly straightforward…don’t take money to pretend to know how to find lost or stolen goods.

How is it, then, that we continue to have people like Theresa Caputo putting on shows for Canadian ticket purchasers?  I suppose by purchasing a ticket for a show, attendees are buying admission to entertainment and not paying consideration for a fortune, or otherwise paying for the services of a medium, fortune-teller, sorcerer, witch, etc.  I don’t pretend to know why this section of the criminal code does not apply to these shows, but it is certainly curious.

An effect of this section of the criminal code is, ironically to leave it open that some person with real skills in a “crafty science” can continue to sell those services without being guilty under Canadian law of fraud.  If this weren’t the case, why not simply shove the whole lot under a straightforward fraud law that might say “Don’t charge people for services you’re not actually providing.”?

Do an internet search and you will find cases of people successfully charged under Criminal Code Section 365.  I suppose it should be used more often to send a message to fraudsters.

If we are to be honest with the ticket-buying public, should not the people who put on their shows be obligated to pull aside the curtain and admit that they don’t have the special powers they advertise rather than what they are doing, which is hide behind inadequate legal language drafted long ago?

h/t a CFIC member for the Theresa Caputo website reference

Health Canada: Public Consultation Survey

On April 16, the Canadian Medical Association Journal published an article advising of an opportunity to inform government of “what information people want about drugs, how it should be available and who should provide it. The survey is open to anyone.”

There is a survey which takes approximately 15 minutes to complete and includes an introductory question to self-identify as a member of the public or from a special interest group.

It is important to participate in processes such as these when they are available.  I’m sure that some fellow bloggers will have comments regarding efficacy of tools like this web-survey, but having worked in organizations where data like this is collected, I have the perspective that these things do from time-to-time provide meaningful input to decision makers.

Just as pharmaceutical industry representatives and medical professionals will want their perspectives heard, it is important that members of the lay public provide their preferences when it comes to access to healthcare system information.


h/t Diane Bruce

Google’s Loch Ness Monster


Google celebrates the Loch Ness Monster with a Doodle on

the anniversary of the publication of the renowed “Surgeon’s Photograph” of the Loch Ness Monster, in the Daily Mail, on April 21 1934 – a photo that was revealed to be a fake by The Sunday Telegraph in 1975.

Surgeon_s-photo_3273486bAccording to the Hoaxes Throughout History website,

a highly respected British surgeon, Colonel Robert Wilson, came forward with a picture (top) that appeared to show a sea serpent rising out of the water of the Loch. . . . For decades this photo was considered to be the best evidence of the existence of a sea monster in the Loch. But Wilson himself refused to have his name associated with it. Therefore it came to be known simply as “The Surgeon’s Photo.”

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