Crimes, Laws and Communities
Alexander David Kurke is a criminal lawyer in Sudbury, Ontario.
This study of crime and social order in Atlantic Canadian communities
examines the law as it relates to arson (Chapter 1), poaching (Chapter
2), and contamination of the environment (Chapter 3). It shows, among
other things, that arson, when viewed as a victimless crime, can be a
useful tool for forcing insurance companies to provide capital in
underdeveloped economies; that poachers in the Atlantic fisheries are
the Robin Hoods of our times, even if they sometimes wear business
suits; and that the social policies of negligent governments, in
combination with economic self-interest in the private sector, have
resulted in environmental devas-tation.
Chapters 2 and 3 raise important questions about such things as
conflicts between illegality and societal tolerance, and governmental
responsibility for its environmental actions (or inaction). However,
Chapter 1 is problematic. The authors’ argument that arson is a
“victimless crime” is undermined by a 1990 amendment to the Criminal
Code that makes arson that displays a disregard for human life
punishable by life in prison. In addition, the authors fail to consider
the stated and potential application of the Criminal Code’s provisions
on murder, manslaughter, and unlawfully causing bodily harm to
situations involving arson that harms people. This book’s position on
arson and the law seriously compromises its value as a resource, for
either teaching or self-study.