A federal bill aimed at cracking down on early and forced marriages and polygamy has left some legal experts questioning whether the problem is widespread enough to warrant the new measures.

Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander announced the proposed law in Toronto on Wednesday, saying it would eliminate early and forced marriages from Canada's immigration system.

The bill, dubbed the Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act, would make it illegal to facilitate a forced or underage marriage and would make temporary and permanent residents deportable if they practice polygamy in Canada.

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