1) A defamatory libel is matter published, without lawful justification or excuse, that is likely to injure the reputation of any person by exposing him to hatred, contempt or ridicule, or that is designed to insult the person of or concerning whom it is published.
2) A defamatory libel may be expressed directly or by insinuation or irony
b) by any object signifying a defamatory libel otherwise than by words.
The crime of defamatory libel has rarely been prosecuted in Canada, perhaps because libel is only tenuously (and mostly historically) a criminal matter.
Police and prosecutors, despite the crime remaining on the books, leave defamatory libel to be dealt with by the tort of defamation in civil court.