Government backs legislation to arrest masked rioters - Macleans.ca
 

Government backs legislation to arrest masked rioters


 

The federal government has endorsed a bill allowing police to arrest anyone taking part in a riot and wearing a face disguise. The bill introduced by Alberta Conservative MP Blake Richards proposes five years of imprisonment or a fine of up to $5,000 for wearing a mask or disguise during a riot, or an unlawful assembly. The maximum current penalty for joining a riot is a two-year prison term under the Criminal Code.

According to a news release from Justice Minister Rob Nicholson on Sunday, the federal government is throwing its support behind the bill, which virtually guarantees it would pass into law.

From the Canadian Press (via CBC):

The bill, Richards said in an interview, is designed to give police more power to prevent the kinds of riots that have caused so much damage, including the current student riots in Quebec, the Stanley Cup riot of last spring in Vancouver and the G20 protests in Toronto two years ago.

“Certainly I’ve heard of instances where it is legitimate that there might be reasons that someone needs to protest anonymously and this bill certainly still allows for that,” said the second-term MP from Airdre, Alta., representing the riding of Wild Rose.

“I think it strengthens the right for peaceful protest. It’s only when individuals engage in criminal activity or become violent where this law would apply.”

 


 
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Government backs legislation to arrest masked rioters

  1. Does this really have chance of standing up to a Supreme Court challenge?

    • Probably; wearing a disguise while committing a crime is an offence, so this only specifies an existing offence. Personally, I have no problem with the concept – though if the 5 years is minimum rather than maximum, then the sentencing provision is rather harsh.

      • One difference with this piece of legislation is that it requires a police officer to make an arrest if he has reason to believe that the masked person may cause violence to occur. You don’t actually have to *do* any violence to fall under the provisions of this law.

        So it requires him to arrest the guy wearing a black mask as he picks up a brick. Fair enough, I’m alright with that.

        But it also requires him to arrest the guy wearing a Cheney mask if anyone (such as one of Cheney’s people) decides it looks scary. Or requires him to arrest a bunch of folks wearing Guy Fawkes masks if the Scientologists inside the building they’re gathering at get bothered.

        That’s the real problem with this legislation.

        • Not a problem for me as long as the judge has leeway with sentencing (most should be probation unless actually caught with the proverbial brick in hand).
          They aren’t there wearing masks because it’s Halloween; if the law is in place and they know they can be charged for wearing the masks, then they have no one to blame but themselves. Peaceful protesters don’t need to hide their faces. If they are ashamed of what they are doing, then maybe they shouldn’t be doing it.
          (And yes, I have engaged in protests before. My face was fully exposed to whomever wanted to see it.)

          • Might I suggest you look into what Scientology has tended to do to those people who stand against it?

            Self-preservation has nothing to do with shame.

  2. DOES THIS HOLD TRUE FOR ALL THE MASKED “POLICE”
    YOU KNOW THE ONES WITH THE WEAPONS AND BODY ARMOUR?
    yet again we ARE GUILTY TILL PROVEN INNOCENT
    GO KANADA GO – POLICE STATE 4 LIFE

  3. Privy council manipulating the House of Commons once again, everyone who believes a unknown MP from “WILDROSE” thought this bill up by his own widdle self click the thumbs up.

    Those who think that the Cons are so desperate to keep the name “WILDROSE” in the media that they cooked up this bill for partisan purposes. click the thumbs down.