"Every one commits theft who fraudulently and without colour of right takes, or fraudulently and without colour of right converts to his use or to the use of another person, anything, whether animate or inanimate, with intent"
So if you lie or don't have the right to take something, you don't have the right to take it. The code refrains from defining who actually has rights, and who does not, notwithstanding a few oddities like this one:
"No person commits theft by reason only that he takes, for the purpose of exploration or scientific investigation, a specimen of ore or mineral from land that is not enclosed and is not occupied or worked as a mine, quarry or digging."
So geologist definitely aren't thieves. (And a mining company will probably let you take a pebble or two if you ask nicely.)
Err. Hmm. So about that lying stuff...
"Every one who, by deceit, falsehood or other fraudulent means, whether or not it is a false pretence within the meaning of this Act, defrauds the public or any person, whether ascertained or not, of any property, money or valuable security or any service"
Committing fraud by fraudulent means. Nice. Was there an alternative about committing fraud without deceit or fraud?
But surely, the murder code will be more stringent?
"Culpable homicide is murder(a) where the person who causes the death of a human being"
That's...that's actually pretty reasonable.
I wonder where they screw it up. Emphasis mine:
"(b) where a person, meaning to cause death to a human being or meaning to cause him bodily harm that he knows is likely to cause his death, and being reckless whether death ensues or not, by accident or mistake causes death to another human being, notwithstanding that he does not mean to cause death or bodily harm to that human being;"
"Yes I'd like to be tried under section 229(b)...yes, the one that's a contradiction."
The next is just amusing. Perhaps there's an obscure legal reason for this:
"(c) where a person, for an unlawful object, does anything that he knows or ought to know is likely to cause death, and thereby causes death to a human being, notwithstanding that he desires to effect his object without causing death or bodily harm to any human being."
So if I, for a lawful object, go ahead and kill someone, it's A-okay, as long as my goal was compatible with keeping them alive? I somehow doubt that would fly in court, and yet...
Even more amusingly, the code explicitly exempts effecting an execution by false evidence. Canada has no death penalty, and indeed if we did the executioner does not appear to have their own exemption.
But, actually, I've been taking you for a bit of a ride. There's a problem I've overlooked:
"(5) A person commits culpable homicide when he causes the death of a human being,(a) by means of an unlawful act;(b) by criminal negligence;(c) by causing that human being, by threats or fear of violence or by deception, to do anything that causes his death; or(d) by wilfully frightening that human being, in the case of a child or sick person."
All the listed punishments are for murder. All murders are special cases of culpable homicide. Culpable homicide is this special kind of homicide: unlawful homicide.
Progressive. Outlawing unlawful homicide. What will they come up with next? I guess the executioner doesn't really need their own exception.
My motivation for looking up this was the libertarian and anarchist bon mot "taxation is theft." I'd assumed there would be specific exemptions for taxation, but I found that the whole code is meaningless. Reality is more interesting than radical philosophies, it turns out.
I find this puzzling since many of the code's details go to great lengths to be logically rigorous. It would actually be beautiful, if the whole thing wasn't flying on dreams. I don't demand that the code justify itself entirely - it never actually states that it is outlawing crimes, never states that crimes are wrong, and never states who will hand down punishments, nor that these punishments are mandatory, and I don't expect it to do any of this. All logic must start at axioms, and while it's nice if they're explicit, I don't expect lawyers to follow philosophical best practise. I'm naturally too lazy to look up the precedents, and perhaps there's actual statements of 'doing X is fraud' there, but even if so, that just means the code itself is dead weight.
I have trouble imagining that the courts never use the code, though. (I could only find Supreme Court records, and they would never have a reason to cite basic code. They did, as expected, cite precedent often, and occasionally legislative act.) Since it is impossible that they use the actual logical content of the code, they must be reading something into it.
Ultimately, it's not the code but the attitude of the people who support and execute the system. I don't know who these people actually are, in practice, other than I know it isn't who we're told it is. The last thing I have difficulty with is how these people can be simultaneously responsible, and allow the code to remain like this. As it is, formal reality and actual reality cannot converge, which usually means that formal spirit and informal spirit will continue to diverge.