The federal Statutes Repeal Act S.C. 2008, c. 20 sweeps up behind our legislators, killing off statutes that were passed and assented to nine years or more ago but that were never proclaimed in force. At the beginning of each year the Minister of Justice is required to lay before both houses of parliament a list of such statutes. If by the end of that year a statute on the list still has not been proclaimed in force, it is ipso facto repealed.
We have just had the end of the grace period for statutes listed at the beginning of 2012, and according to the Ministry of Justice Annual Report twenty statutes or bits thereof were defunct as of December 31.
As you might expect, the list is scattershot, impossible to summarize and equally difficult to judge in any of its parts without a good understanding of the various contexts. A couple of titles struck me as intrinsically interesting, though:
The Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Implementation Act, S.C. 1998, c. 32 never was and now never will be—which, on the face of it at least, seems a shame. I believe, though, that the fault, if that’s the right word, is not ours but rather belongs to other members of the nuclear club: the treaty is to come into force itself only when all 44 nations who have nuclear capabilities have ratified it.
The defunct legislation contains one of the most singular provisions you’re likely to find in a statute:
7. (1) Every person is guilty of an indictable offence and is liable to a term of imprisonment for life who
(a) carries out a nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion for the purpose of developing qualitative improvements in nuclear weapons or developing new types of nuclear weapons . . .
Something about the disproportion of this strikes me as very odd. And then there are those who set off H-bombs for reasons that have nothing to do with the improvement of anything.
Another matter of possible general interest is that a number of would-be provisions in the Firearms Act have now been repealed. I’m not able at the moment to say whether, in the current climate, they are of significance or not.