Victoria MP Murray Rankin Cautions BC Government About Regulating Amateur Boxing and Wrestling

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As recently reported, it is rumored that the BC Government is considering regulating amateur boxing along with other combat sports on the programme of the IOC.   Not all stakeholders are pleased with this development.  Canadian Member of Parliament Murray Rankin is among those.

Murray recently cautioned BC’s Minister of Sport about their rumored plans.  I have been provided with a copy of his e-mail which was sent to BC’s Minister of Sport last week.  It is unknown whether this has influenced any plans the BC Government has for amateur combat sports in the Province.   As previously discussed, now is the time for all stakeholders to let their views be known to the Government.   Just as Mr. Rankin did, it is important to voice concerns now to help influence the future direction of amateur combat sports in BC as there will certainly be some form of legislative change coming soon.  Here is Mr. Rankin’s e-mail

Dear Minister Oakes

I have been advised that the Province is considering the regulation of amateur boxing and amateur wrestling, apparently on the basis of amendments to the Criminal Code of Canada that were passed in Parliament during the last session.

As a Member of Parliament who participated in the debate on this amendment, I can advise that the legislative intent of the amendments was clearly to address the legality of mixed martial arts (MMA) and kickboxing. I cannot recall any reference to amateur boxing or amateur wrestling.
I understand that the amateur boxing community is concerned that your ministry may be considering amendments by which amateur boxers and wrestlers would have to first seek and obtain permission from the Lieutenant Governor in Council or a person or body specified by the Lieutenant Governor in Council to grant such permission. To date, this province has not regulated amateur sports: self-regulation appears to have been effective.

Although “prize fighting” had been outlawed in Canada, a boxing contest between amateur sportsmen wearing gloves of a certain size was deemed not to be a prize fight. As MMA and Kickboxing became popular in Canada, it was recognized that the old definition of a “prize fight” would have to be changed if those participating in the sport were to avoid criminal prosecution. It was to accommodate MMA and Kickboxing that the Criminal Code was changed with section 83(2) being replaced.

This amendment changes the definition of “prize fight” to include an encounter or fight with feet in addition to fists or hands so as include MMA and Kickboxing.

In my view, the notion that a contest between amateur athletes in a combative sport would be captured was not something that was contemplated.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment.

Yours truly
Murray Rankin,
Member of Parliament (Victoria)

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