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How a joke ended up before Canada’s top court
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[Image: _116923975_crop-ward.jpg]
A decade ago, as part of his stand-up act, a Canadian comedian began telling a joke about a disabled young singer. This is how that joke ended up in front of the country's top court.

Jeremy Gabriel was born with Treacher Collins Syndrome, a genetic disorder that can affect facial bone structure and, in his case, caused severe deafness.

Despite this, he fulfilled his dream of becoming a singer, performing for public figures from songstress Celine Dion to Pope Benedict XVI - all before he reached his teens - and achieving minor celebrity status in his home province of Quebec.

In 2010, a popular Quebec comedian, Mike Ward, known for his dark and edgy comedy, put together a 90-minute stand-up act.

Alongside the thorny issues of race and religion, it targeted what he called the "sacred cows" of the province's celebrity star system, people who in his view were for various reasons - too rich, too powerful - seen as out-of-bounds for mockery.

The repercussions of that show have been followed for almost a decade in Quebec and will culminate on 15 February, when the lengthy legal battle over a joke Ward told about Gabriel in that act will be heard by Canada's Supreme Court. pg slot

As part of the show, Ward took aim at, among others, the likes of Quebec-born singer Céline Dion and her late husband Rene Angelil.
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