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Wear a Mask During a Protest In Canada: 10 Years In Jail

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the bad-news-for-canucks-fans dept.

Canada 342

Phrogman writes "The Conservative government of Steven Harper in Canada has proposed a new bill that would impose a jail term of 10 years for anyone wearing a mask while 'participating in a riot or unlawful assembly.' The conservative backbencher who proposed the bill makes it clear that he intended it to allow police to arrest anyone wearing a mask 'before protests spiral out of control.' Since this is the same government that arrested hundreds of protesters during the G8/G20 summit using a law that didn't actually exist, it raises the question as to how they will define 'unlawful.' The 10-year penalty is more than double the penalty awarded to a person who murdered someone in a fit of 'road-rage' recently."

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342 comments

roadrage demonstrations. (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#39969925)

the solution is obvious!

and uh how do you know what's an unlawful assembly beforehand and does a beard count as a mask?

Re:roadrage demonstrations. (5, Funny)

durrr (1316311) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970065)

Bring a motorcycle and a helmet(it's not a mask, it's a safety feature demanded by law) and drive around inside goverment buildings, trying to run over the lawmakers behind this atrocity.

Re:roadrage demonstrations. (2)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970395)

Naturally, these same rules won't be applied to the gubbamint [google.com] .
Anyone wearing a mask is up to no good.

Re:roadrage demonstrations. (3, Funny)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970497)

Funny, I thought requiring government workers to wear masks at work would add a touch of honesty to them. Let's face it, the difference between the government and the James Gang was, the James Gang had horses.

And a helluva guitarist.

Re:roadrage demonstrations. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39970583)

Face recognition is a b****
Motorbike number plates are far nicer to deal with. Thanks.

Re:roadrage demonstrations. (4, Funny)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970697)

No need for a motorcycle, this is Canada. Put on a goalie mask and say you just got back from the pond, eh.

Re:roadrage demonstrations. (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39970261)

It's an unlawful protest if you don't have a permit. Hint: if the group organizing the protest start with Occupy, odds are they don't have a permit and the protest is unlawful.

I obviously think this proposed law is ridiculous, but I do have to say, as a NYC resident who works down the street from Zuccotti Park, the refusal of the OWS retards to get a permit really pisses me off. It wastes taxpayer money, inconveniences people working or traveling in the area, and marginalizes the effect of the protest. And honestly, I think they do it solely with the intention of getting shut down so the can say "Fuck the police, they're violating our constitutional rights" despite the fact that the Supreme Court has long held that the right to peaceably assemble is limited by reasonable time and space constraints, and permit requirements are completely lawful.

Re:roadrage demonstrations. (2)

KhabaLox (1906148) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970517)

the refusal of the OWS retards to get a permit really pisses me off. It wastes taxpayer money, inconveniences people working or traveling in the area, and marginalizes the effect of the protest.

How would them having a permit save the taxpayer money, inconvenience you less, or increase the effectiveness of their protest?

Re:roadrage demonstrations. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39970693)

When a protest is planned and permitted, the appropriate police force is brought in ahead of time, barriers are erected, and the protesting group is cordoned into an appropriate area. When a large group of people just shows up, hundreds of police officers swarm the area, streets get shut down, checkpoints get set up, and all hell breaks loose.

Re:roadrage demonstrations. (3, Insightful)

Roujo (2577771) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970301)

From Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] :

Under Part II of the Canadian Criminal Code (Offences Against Public Order), Unlawful Assemblies and Riots is when the assembly of three or more persons who cause fear and on reasonable grounds disturb peace in the neighborhood.

From what I know, at some point during a protest, police may declare a protest illegal if they believe that it will lead to a disturbance of the peace, for example to a riot. It happens on a pretty regular basis lately here in Montréal, and I've heard that once they declare it as such they go around and tell everyone to disperse and leave, informing them of the fact. Now, if they do so in a way that people have a reasonable chance to understand it and GTFO if they'd rather not get arrested, I can't say - I wasn't at any such protest.

Re:roadrage demonstrations. (3, Funny)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970555)

Under Part II of the Canadian Criminal Code (Offences Against Public Order), Unlawful Assemblies and Riots is when the assembly of three or more persons who cause fear and on reasonable grounds disturb peace in the neighborhood.

Sounds like Congress in session to me. So when do we get to send in the cops on them?

Re:roadrage demonstrations. (1)

durrr (1316311) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970367)

We could simply stage an unlawful protest at a masquerade the politicians attend to, being lawful cititizens we would of course not bring masks ourself.
Also, every year during halloween.

Re:roadrage demonstrations. (4, Funny)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970751)

Nah, we'll just start protesting in the winter.

It's not a mask, it's a balaclava. It's not a burning police car, I'm just cold.

my first thought: they're going to arrest police? (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970371)

Police "participate" in riots via trying to shut them down, and commonly wear masks. So are the police going to be arrested?

hello law of unintended consequences.

Re:my first thought: they're going to arrest polic (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39970663)

I wish, but police are above the law. Case in point, they often don't display their matricule during a protest or a riot, so you have no means of reporting which officer was doing something bad.

Re:my first thought: they're going to arrest polic (4, Interesting)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970733)

What if it's flu season and you are wearing a surgical mask?
What if you are a painter and you are wearing a fume mask and come outside to see what the ruckus is about?
What if you simply hold your hand over your face in such a way as to occlude a view of your features?
What if you are an Islamic female and you are wearing a burka (sp?)
What if you are an undercover officer and you're wearing a mask, but the RCMP doesn't know you're there?

So many ways this law could go sideways...
-nB

Re:my first thought: they're going to arrest polic (2)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970913)

>>>Police "participate" in riots via trying to shut them down, and commonly wear masks. So are the police going to be arrested?

I was thinking the same. Outlawing masks will make it easier to Occupy and other protestors to identify agent provacateurs that are actually police employees. So YES pass the law..... outlawing masks is bad for the government and good for the common people.

Why (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39969965)

Why ? Last riot in Victoriaville, QC was been fun :P

Politician's logic (4, Funny)

zAPPzAPP (1207370) | more than 2 years ago | (#39969967)

Longer jailtime allows the police to arrest you harder.

Below 10 years, the arrestiness would just not be enough.

Re:Politician's logic (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39970487)

Canada was co-opted by a fascist coup led most recently by the harper dirtbag. The entire harper cabal is pure evil. haper's bully-boy left-hand shitbag is also an evil fat smelly blowhard pig.

Corrections (5, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#39969977)

So far as I understand it, it's not a government bill, it's a bill that a government backbencher is going to introduce. I'm not even sure it's made it to the order paper, but it likely won't survive through first reading anyways.

Re:Corrections (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39970183)

actually it has been introduced, they are trying to modify it from the proposed 5 years to 10 years and it is being sent back to the house of commons

Re:Corrections (0)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970211)

Right. Too soon to get upset. It's just a bill. It will likely never pass, just as Ron Paul's Audit the Fed bill never passed.

Oh wait.
It did pass.
Nevermind.

Re:Corrections (3, Informative)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970847)

In general in Westminster Parliaments the failure rate of private member bills is very high. First of all, you have to convince the Government to put them on the order paper. That pretty much kills the larger part of them right away. Then it has to make it through three readings, through committees, where almost all the rest die. Looking at this one, the government supports it, but I still wouldn't hold my breath. Even when everyone says "Yeah, that sounds alright", they still have a high failure rate.

Not that I'm necessarily against the general notion, though the fines are absurdly high and would likely get nailed on a Charter challenge, but it's a long ways away from law.

Re:Corrections (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39970223)

Yup, like when a backbencher proposed a law defining life as beginning at conception, or possibly even at ovulation, so taking oral contraceptives is legally murder. Nobody at all backed it but it was still a "proposed Harper law." Very dishonest reporting.

Re:Corrections (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970881)

The Government sits on top of a sometimes restless coalition. Harper has to throw bones to the social conservatives. That's what the hub-bub about the renewed abortion debate is. But do you think, with the NDP in a statistical dead heat with the Tories, that there's any way Harper is going to allow this sort of debate to go too far? He's looking at a left-wing party starting to gain popularity even in some traditional Tory ridings. No, he'll let them make some noise, and then will snuff it out as quietly as he can.

Re:Corrections (2)

aynoknman (1071612) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970967)

Yup, like when a backbencher proposed a law defining life as beginning at conception, or possibly even at ovulation, so taking oral contraceptives is legally murder. Nobody at all backed it but it was still a "proposed Harper law." Very dishonest reporting.

If you're referring to the recent private member's bill, you are misreporting it yourself. The bill asked for a parliamentary committee to examine the issue of when human life begins.

Currently, there's no abortion law at all in Canada. If you kill a baby in the womb, even if it's viable -- even up to nine months, it's not murder. If you're a doctor you'll face losing your license. If you're not, you'll face charges of practising medicine without a license. Nevertheless, you haven't broken any law regarding abortion. It was this anomaly that (on the face of it) the private members bill was trying to address.

Canadians can't come to a consensus on what the abortion law should be, so we're currently living (or dying) with no law at all on the subject. Any proposal to come to a consensus is screamed down or characterised just the way you did, as a back door means to introduce draconian laws.

Re:Corrections (3, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970269)

but it likely won't survive through first reading anyways

I said that about the patriot act here in the US. So...

Re:Corrections (4, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970513)

Well, the mistake there was that you expected the US Congress to give it at least 1 reading before passing it.

Re:Corrections (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39970321)

The Harper government has announced that they support this bill which all but assures it passage.

Re:Corrections (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39970595)

It is well pass first reading. It passed second reading on Feb 15 and is now in front of committee. It was amended at second reading to increase the punishment from 5 to 10 years. It is thought the committee will report in a few weeks. This could be law by June.

Normally private members bills don't get passed into law but this government is using them to pass what normally would be a government bill.

Re:Corrections (1)

StillNeedMoreCoffee (123989) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970625)

I have to say it is true that the US and Canada (like Great Britain) are divided by a common language.

Re:Corrections (5, Informative)

flar2 (938689) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970951)

The Government has stated they will support the bill.

This Conservative Government has a strategy of having backbenchers introduce potentially controversial bills.

What if I... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39969981)

Wore a mask AND drove?

To even suggest.. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39970001)

To even suggest this as a law shows they are unfit to oversee the interests of Canadians. The government forgets their role is to be accountable to the interests of the people, not rule over them.

Re:To even suggest.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39970671)

So Canada isn't a monarchy? I really never understood their following and undying love for thy precious queen and then stating they have a parliament and what not.

fourth (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39970029)

fourth

fine... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39970031)

.. I'll just paint my face.

No Question At All (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39970081)

(Posting AC because I'm at work.)

....it raises the question as to how they will define 'unlawful.'

No it doesn't. It doesn't raise any question at all. The answer is obvious - anyone gathering for anything that Harper disapproves of will be considered unlawful. Period.

The sad thing is I really am not joking...

Re:No Question At All (2, Informative)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970341)

A riot is generally not something you easily mistake for an orderly protest.
And illegal assembly is defined by law.

The summary substitutes "protest" for the bills actual wording. (Its slash dot after all).

TFA says:

[existing Canadian law] Section 351 already makes it illegal for anyone to wear a disguise to commit an indictable offence,

Is a peaceful protest and indictable offense in Canada? Does Harper's opinion change the definition of an indictable offence?

Is smashing storefronts, and burning police cars based on the outcome of a hockey game a peaceful protest?

Isn't the whole point of a peaceful protest to stand up as a citizen for or against some idea? Doesn't hiding behind a mask make that moot?
Isn't Canada a long way from Syria, both geographically and socially?

Re:No Question At All (5, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970685)

A riot is generally not something you easily mistake for an orderly protest.

Imagine this scenario, if you will: A large group of citizens are walking across a bridge holding signs, singing songs, and chanting. When they get to the end of the bridge, an empty bottle comes flying out of the crowd. Police attack the crowd, ostensibly to protect themselves from the bottle. Chaos ensues, many protesters are beaten and arrested, some are trampled while the crowd is trying to flee.

Was that an orderly protest or a riot? Include in your analysis consideration of the fact that the person who threw the bottle may be somebody in the employ of the police force.

Re:No Question At All (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39970901)

Canadian politician here, I'll field this one.

No, you are a stupid head.

Re:No Question At All (1)

davegravy (1019182) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970947)

Mod parent up

Re:No Question At All (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39970933)

When it become illegal isn't determined by the event specifically. There is a bunch of permits and requirements that need to be met for the protest to be legal in Canada. Further a single person can often ruin it for the whole group by being unruly or a police officer paid to incite a riot. I bet most protests are illegal without the public realizing it.

Anti-conservative (3, Insightful)

uniquename72 (1169497) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970131)

Nice to see that the U.S. isn't the only country with a "conservative" party that's not at all conservative.

Re:Anti-conservative (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39970227)

Nice to see that the 'no true scotsman fallacy' is alive and well. Conservatives have always been for increased police states and government intervention in your life. That anyone has believed them when they claimed they are for 'small government' is hilarious.

Re:Anti-conservative (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39970273)

Oh, they're conservative all right. They're trying to conserve all the power to themselves.

Keep an eye open. There will soon be a declaration of martial law in at least Canada and the United States. The governments will decide that the people cannot really take care of themselves or make valid decisions when it comes to elections so there won't be any further elections. That's when you'll really see the round up of people who not only protest but simply question the status quo. The only question is who will be in power when it happens, the left or the right. Actually, it doesn't matter. Once they get to the point of declaring martial law to control the population, they're essentially the same.

Sending the wrong message. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39970141)

Might as well come armed. You'll get less time for killing a police officer.

Sorry you guys up there in Canuk Land are so screwed. Maybe you'll learn your lesson about electing conservatives. Of course, you did just watch what happened down here...

Re:Sending the wrong message. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39970315)

We did not elect them, there was elections fraud.

Re:Sending the wrong message. (2)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970573)

and more people didn't bother to vote at all, because they didn't think it would change anything, than actually voted for the cons.

Don't you love a first-past-the-pole multi-party system? ugh.

Re:Sending the wrong message. (2)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970651)

We did not elect them, there was elections fraud.

I see we taught you well.

Sorry about that.

They are not stupid.. (5, Interesting)

pablo_max (626328) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970147)

The people in power did not rise to power because they are stupid or have no understanding of how humans behave. They came to power because they are clever, ruthless and know how humans behave in most situations.
When you see those in powers start making harsher and harsher laws which protect themselves against the population they are ruling, chances are they already see that the people are starting to become angry and soon will start demand changes and action. Of course, no changes will be forthcoming and as such the people will take to the street.
It is critical for the ruling class to lay the groundwork now to deal with the initial rablerousers so as to strike fear into the common man, thus preventing him from also taking action.
It is not only the Arab countries governments who are oppressing and controlling their populations. They were just the first to awaken and take action.

Re:They are not stupid.. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39970357)

The people in power did not rise to power because they are stupid or have no understanding of how humans behave. They came to power because they are clever, ruthless and know how humans behave in most situations.

No. They came to power because they engaged in a widespread campaign to misdirect voters who were planning on voting against them. They literally stole the election. Bare minimum, they should not have the majority they enjoy (and abuse) today which, in Canadian politics, means they could have the most seats but actually be the official opposition (assuming the other parties could agree to stand united against them, which they almost did until Harper prorogued government (one of the several times he did it to dodge events that were going to bring about the downfall of his government)).

Then again, maybe you're right if you meant "ruthless" in the sense of "lacking any and all morals and willing to lie, cheat, and steal to win"...

Re:They are not stupid.. (1)

StillNeedMoreCoffee (123989) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970743)

"They were just the first to awaken and take action" not sure if your saying the people in the street or the Governments in place are taking action.

Unfortunately marketing works. What most of these bozo's understand in how to sell (focus groups, psychological profiling of populations... ala Karl Rove) and know how to say what will sell and keep hidden what their true intentions are and what their agenda's are until they are elected. Well there can be effective reactions to that as we are seeing in the States in Wisconsin where the governor is about to be recalled by the electorate after his true face was revealed.

Go Walker! (somewhere else than Wisconsin)

Re:They are not stupid.. (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970941)

It didn't work that well. It's not like Harper has a commanding majority, the Tories squeaked past, and now that it looks like the Liberals are dead men walking and centrist and left-leaning voters have decided to throw their weight behind the NDP, the Tories are going to have a lot tougher time. It's still early days, but at some point Harper is going to have to put the lid back on the social conservatives and the extreme law and order types. He's letting them loose right now because it's still early days, but after he crosses the halfway mark, you're going to see these guys thrown back in their cage, because it's precisely these kinds of loudmouthed hard right types that could lose the majority for him, and he certainly didn't put all this work into reuniting the right just to have some pro-life blowhards delivering votes into the NDP's hands.

A Minor Correction (5, Interesting)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970149)

It wasn't actually Harper's pack of neocon thugs who arrested people "using a law that didn't exist". It was the Liberals under Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty who did that. Don't worry, though, there were lots and lots of police at all levels laying beatings on people. There were the RCMP (federal) the Ontario Provincial Police (provincial) and the Toronto Police (city), all mixing together for a lovely little club fest. From the way the cops behaved, you'd have thought the protesters were wearing baby seal costumes.

what about gas masks? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39970159)

How does this interact with face coverings that are worn for reasons other than preserving anonymity? Gas masks to protect you from tear gas? Surgical masks to protect people around you from your flu? Burkas? Big shaggy beards?

Also, I assume that riot cops who cover or remove their name badges so they can beat people up with impunity will also get ten years if caught? Or is it only people pro-democracy types who aren't allowed to protect their identities?

from the bad-news-for-student-protesters dept (1)

Roujo (2577771) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970171)

I think this move probably has something to do with the current situation here in Québec, where student protests have led to the formation of less-than-pacific groups of masked protesters roaming the protests and causing havoc in Montréal. I can see the motive behind such legislation - make suspect identification easier if they bolt after throwing a brick through a storefront - but wow, that's a pretty strong penalty for what is a essential victimless crime, if it can even be called a crime in the first place.

Now, will police officers ask for masks to be taken off? I don't think there are enough officers to actually enforce this with any efficiency, nor will it prevent people from putting a mask on just before committing an illegal act - and then running away. Sure sounds like more of a "let's reassure the general public that we're in control here" move than a policy that'll actually have a positive effect, IMO.

This comment is illegal in Canada (1)

SockPuppetOfTheWeek (1910282) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970189)

n/t

Police (1)

Githaron (2462596) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970197)

Does this mean the police will have to arrest themselves? The are obviously wearing gas masks if they are going to pop gas grenades.

No right to anonymity when committing a crime (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39970205)

I think it's about time there was a response to this Black Bloc crap. No one should have the right to anonymity preserved in the comission of a crime.

The purpose of protest is to be noticed. Too many people are using legetimate protest as a cover for hooliganism, and it's a shame.

While 10 years is a lot, it's the maximum. I'd be surprised if it wasn't just double the maximum for doing the same thing without a mask, which seems perfectly fair to me. I think the majority of cases will involve people in masks being arrested, identified and released without charge. Hopefully it will reverse the trend of anonymous violence embedded in legitimate protest.

Re:No right to anonymity when committing a crime (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970397)

This is a point that is going to be lost in the debate. The ability to wear masks doesn't really help legitimate protesting (at least not in places where you're not going to get lynched for standing up for your rights). With protests here, the ones wearing the masks are generally stupid entitled kids who just want an excuse to smash stuff and steal things, and law enforcement doing cointelpro, posing as protestors, starting violence, so that the protests can be put down with a vengeance.

That being said, if the government really wanted to stop that, they'd stop giving people a reason to protest, and would prevent their police from doing scummy things like that.

Re:No right to anonymity when committing a crime (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39970897)

Honestly, I'd rather wear a mask when peacefully protesting. I don't want to be profiled and harassed.

More stupid laws. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39970215)

I'm sure the Tories are having a blast using the student strike in Montreal as an excuse to push this law. It's also been said that this is a more severe sentance than raping someone. You could get 10 years in jail for wearing a mask, even if you are totally peaceful, but the scum who raped a woman would spend less time in jail.

I didn't understand why masks were allowed during demonstration until I read a little more about it. You can mask yourself during a protest for the same reason that you have the right to remain anonymous when you vote. I've heard one report recently of a person being attacked because he was wearing the red square this week. I don't know if this is true, but if you follow the current #ggi trend on Twitter, you can see how things can become very personnal. The right to remain anonymous is important and the police already have the right to arrest you once you commit an infraction, what they are trying to get out of this is a way to arrest people on the possibility that they could create a crime simply because they look a certain way. I look forward to being arrested simply because I wear black all the time and people in black tend to smash windows right?

Anyway, the mayor of Montreal is also looking into adding a bylaw to make it illegal to wear a mask during protests. Not everyone agrees, but at least he isn't proposing to jail offenders for 10 years.

Also, this is how some people are protesting these crazy potential laws: https://p.twimg.com/AsfxE-MCAAIYog8.jpg . Expect mascots to do 10 years in jail soon! :p

Re:More stupid laws. (1, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970975)

Let's not put to sacred a mantle on masked protesters. History shows that, by and large, it's the anarchists who put the masks on. The reason you put a mask on isn't to make a point, it's to evade later arrest after you lit a Starbucks on fire.

Unintended Consequences (2)

ThomasLB (1220384) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970233)

One of the problems with the "three strikes" laws is that a person already facing life without parole has little to lose by killing the policeman they send to arrest him.

This veers into the same territory. A person already facing ten years has little to lose by setting a fire or two or lobbing a rock through a window, and has a strong incentive to resist arrest.

Reducing Riot Police Responsibility (1)

davegravy (1019182) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970241)

To me, this law provides even more incentive for riot police to aggravate peaceful protesters towards violence. They have a number of ways of doing this, including infiltrating protest groups and inciting violence from within.

10 years, or any kind of jail or financial penalty seems excessive for being in the wrong place at the wrong time while wearing a mask (or religious face covering). The G20 in Toronto was entirely peaceful until a few rogue protesters ruined the party. Peaceful protesters were arrested en-mass but almost all were released without charges (since there were none that would stick). I hate to think how many would be spending 10 years in jail consuming my tax dollars if this law had been in place.

So if you're a peaceful protester in a protest which turns violent, you have at most 2 options:

1) forfeit your anonymity (take off your mask)
2) leave the protest (except that, as happened in the G20, many people were boxed by riot cops and unable to leave).

Re:Reducing Riot Police Responsibility (1)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970391)

And so we have yet another police state in the making.

It seems conservatives (PC in Canada and Republicans in USA) are always happy to create suffering with bad laws provided it helps the wealthy and connected.

Jail the MPs! (2, Insightful)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970245)

An unlawful assembly is a gathering that causes fear.

If that is true, it logically follows that the parliament assembly discussing this bill should be jailed en masse.

Somebody in parliament owns stock in EBbra (2)

robot256 (1635039) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970249)

Sounds like they just found a killer app in the Canadian market for the bra that doubles as a gas mask [bigcartel.com] .

No Right to Anonimity when Committing a Crime (4, Interesting)

Blasphemy (78348) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970259)

I think it's about time there was a response to this Black Bloc crap. No one should have the right to anonymity preserved in the comission of a crime.

The purpose of protest is to be noticed. Too many people are using legetimate protest as a cover for hooliganism, and it's a shame.

While 10 years is a lot, it's the maximum. I'd be surprised if it wasn't just double the maximum for doing the same thing without a mask, which seems perfectly fair to me. I think the majority of cases will involve people in masks being arrested, identified and released without charge. Hopefully it will reverse the trend of anonymous violence embedded in legitimate protest.

Re:No Right to Anonimity when Committing a Crime (1)

who_stole_my_kidneys (1956012) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970407)

FTA...

Section 351 already makes it illegal for anyone to wear a disguise to commit an indictable offence, which one expert told the committee made Richards's bill unnecessary. It just seems a little redundant, if your in a riot, committing crimes, and wearing a mask your already in a world of shit, why not just amend the already existing law?

Re:No Right to Anonimity when Committing a Crime (2)

Roujo (2577771) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970495)

Too many people are using legetimate protest as a cover for hooliganism, and it's a shame.

Yup, I agree. There's civil disobedience, and then there's "let's do illegal stuff and say it's activism". Breaking a storefront window tends to be the latter, IMO. I do hope that it'll go as you say, and that the 10-year penalty will only be awarded to people who did a lot worse than simply having a mask on.

Re:No Right to Anonimity when Committing a Crime (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39970557)

I think it's about time there was a response to this Black Bloc crap.

This. If all of the protesters had been peaceful, NO ONE would have considered this law. I know that OWS likes to say that their protesters are peaceful, and says the Black Bloc folks weren't with them. For an average person that's not actively doing research on the groups, the difference between one group that is very angry at the banks and wall street and another group that is violently anti-capitalist is pretty difficult to see, especially if they both seem to show up to all of the same events. We're all judged by the company we keep, even if it sometimes seems unfair.

Gotta agree that the penalty is a little over the top. Wear a mask, get taken in, pay a fine or help clean up after the protest while wearing an orange jumpsuit.

Re:No Right to Anonimity when Committing a Crime (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39970603)

You are right, you have no right to anonimity when commiting a crime, but you do have a right to anonimity when peacefully protesting. Police can already arrest people committing a crime. This law exist with the sole purpose of arresting people before they can commit a crime, regardless if it's their intention or not. It's exactly the same as profiling and arresting people on how they look. What's next, arresting people dressed in black?

There are legitimate reasons to mask your face in a protest, but like any tool, it can be used for good or for bad. Once you ban a tool because a minority are using it do to bad things, you lose the benefit of that tool. Let's ban torrents? Same thing. The issue is that most people don't understand the importance of being able to make a political stance and remainin anonymous. If people all wear armbands with the logo of the party they were going to vote in the next election, I'm willing to bet that you would have a few people fighting and insulting each others, just like you see some of the red and the green at war in Quebec.

Re:No Right to Anonimity when Committing a Crime (5, Insightful)

davegravy (1019182) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970717)

I'd rather have a few ruffians dressed in black getting away with smashing a few windows and police cars than lose an important right. It's NOT a worth-while trade-off.

The reason anonymous protest needs to be protected is the same reason anonymous voting needs to be protected. Imagine living in Nazi Germany knowing that the government had a record of you voting or protesting against the Nazi government. And don't tell me society will never again make the mistake of electing a Nazi-like government.

Re:No Right to Anonimity when Committing a Crime (2, Interesting)

static416 (1002522) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970749)

I think it's about time there was a response to this Black Bloc crap.

Two responses:
#1 - It's not like these people utterly destroyed downtown Toronto. There were some cop cars burnt and some windows broken, but that doesn't excuse putting 1100 people into makeshift concentration camps for days. And potentially putting someone in jail for 10 years for wearing a mask while performing vandalism is beyond excessive.

This isn't happening because people wearing masks are genuinely dangerous. This is happening because those in power and those that vote for them, don't like having their authority questioned.

#2 - My buddy was physically at the site of the protest when the cop cars were set on fire, and I was a few blocks over. It's not like the police were overrun, they voluntarily withdrew despite outnumbering the protestors significantly. Following that they left those cop cars out there for hours and hours before anything happened to them. My buddy lives next door, and he called the cops and warned them that there were people milling around the cars and getting bolder. He called 3 times over the period of an hour, and every time they said they had other matters to attend to.

In our opinion the police deliberately left the cop cars exposed in an attempt to incite precisely the response they got. That way they could justify the massive crackdown that came immediately after.

That doesn't excuse burning cop cars or breaking windows. But proper police action could have stopped much of that. 10 year sentences, fake laws, and 1100 people in holding cells wasn't needed.

haha, what? (2)

JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970377)

The 10-year penalty is more than double the penalty awarded to a person who murdered someone in a fit of 'road-rage' recently

Because wearing a mask is twice as bad as murdering someone.
Lets hope no one is caught wearing a mask while they commit a murder.

Re:haha, what? (1)

wiedzmin (1269816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970429)

Lets hope no one is caught wearing a mask while they commit a murder.

As long as it's not done as a sign of protest, you will still get 5 years.

Not Surprised (1)

Dakiraun (1633747) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970383)

I do believe in a decade or so we'll be able to look up the word "Retarded" in the dictionary and see "Harper" listed as one of the synonyms.

This isn't the first time he and his government have done such a thing - last year it was the new crime bill, which awards more jail time for pot growers/dealers (a harmless drug, at that) than to a paedophile or rapist. Seriously:

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1126546--harsher-sentences-for-pot-growers-than-for-pedophiles-caught-pm-s-eye-documents [thestar.com]

Oh... and despite tossing out more and longer prison sentences, he's also shutting down prisons. Logic is not one of his strong points.

Not really surprising (5, Informative)

static416 (1002522) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970425)

Other fun things this government has instituted:
- Mandatory minimum sentences. Despite all the scientific evidence showing it doesn't work, and the original creators of similar US policies testifying that it's a mistake.
- Actually PLANNING to dramatically increase prison populations through increasingly draconian crime policies, despite all evidence showing that crime is decreasing.
- Requiring the approval of the PMO before any government-funded science is discussed publicly by the scientists that performed it. You know, just like the USSR.
- Making the long form census voluntary, thereby making a key source of government data largely unreliable.
- Destroying the long gun registry against the protests of all levels of law enforcement. Admittedly it went far over-budget in it's creation, but once it exists, why spend further money getting rid of it?
- Introducing a bill to publicly debate the possibility of re-criminalizing abortion.
- Attempted to pass legislation requiring ISPs to provide facilities for warrantless monitoring of all internet communication. Fortunately the outcry was a little too great, even for them.
- Continuing to move forward with a plan to buy F-35's, a plane we don't need to fight an enemy we don't have, and lying to the public about the cost. A cost which is continually increasing to the point that even the US is rethinking their procurement strategy for this aircraft.

Re:Not really surprising (1)

bussdriver (620565) | more than 2 years ago | (#39971037)

Well, I blame the Queen for the continued wrath of Harper.

What amazes me is how many people shut off their brains over "unlawful" and they just assume anybody they agree with is going to be lawful. As if the government or some officials do not mislabel or make up laws in order to use abuse their powers... That last summit comes to mind where they falsely arrested people.

In the USA, you have to apply for a permit to protest, be approved and PAY money to have a lawful peaceful assembly. Those morons do not mind and probably will not stop the US government when they figure out they can make Americans pay for permits for free speech and in a free speech designated zone... I bet they don't even know their right to speech is right next to their right to peaceful assembly in their constitution. Also, peaceful assembly has no time limit just as speech has no "zone" limit.

Alternatives? (1)

wiedzmin (1269816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970511)

Is make-up considered a mask? Can I wear a fake mustache and contacts? Huge sunglasses? What about motorcycle helmets? If I ride my motorcycle there - it's an enforced safety measure, right?

Summary Wrong Again (5, Insightful)

neonv (803374) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970545)

According to the article,

a proposed law that would make it a crime for people rioting or at an unlawful protest to conceal their identities

The important difference is that it is legal to wear a mask while protesting, but illegal to riot with a mask. That's an important distinction. Also note that it's already illegal in Canada to wear a disguise while committing a crime (Section 351), so this is a clarification of the criminal code, not a change.

The controversy is in whether police will misuse this to arrest legal protesters and release them later.

Re:Summary Wrong Again (1)

davegravy (1019182) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970915)

The important difference is that it is legal to wear a mask while protesting, but illegal to riot with a mask. That's an important distinction.

When it's up to the cops' discretion whether you are rioting or protesting, not really. That's giving them way too much power.

What about the swat teams (1)

StillNeedMoreCoffee (123989) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970553)

I would assume that all the swat teams would receive equal treatment, with their face masks. I'm sure the prison population will welcome their visits with relish.

Now I would also say that many politicians would be considered arrestable if they showed up to a demonstration on face value.

Southern Neighbor (1)

techoi (1435019) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970691)

Damn, Canada. Been watching your retarded neighbor south of you too long and now wanting to get further into the business of stupid governance? Impressive attempt.

dahhhh (1)

perles (1855088) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970761)

Does make up counts? And about wearing nothing like the Femme girls, does it make it better?

Time for reenacting "V for Vendetta" end scene ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39970783)

Let's say 10,000 people gather in a silent protest against this law.

Or maybe 30,000 people. Or maybe 100,000 people.

And every single one of them is wearing a mask.

The police simply cannot arrest all these people.

When the government passes such laws, the government deserves no respect
and must be resisted by all possible means.

The government exists to serve the people, not to suppress them.

Making a statement? Identify yourself. (1)

Corson (746347) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970803)

If one has something to say (i.e., in a protest) then they should identify themselves. This is consistent with the election system in North America: you want to see/know the person you vote for, who will represent you; then you should not hide.

Another deceitful title... RIOT != PROTEST (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39970919)

You can have masked protests all you want in Canada. It's perfectly legal. The point of the law is simple: if your peaceful protest turns into a riot, remove the mask or you'll be arrested on the spot. As a Montrealer who's had enough of these student protests, I welcome this law even though I generally despise the Conservative Government. For once they did good.

How about a small fine? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39970985)

Instead of a 10 year sentence, which is given to murderers and drug dealers where I'm writing this, a small fine would be more proportional. Proportionality is obviously an unknown concept for some legislators. (HULK) IDIOTS! (/HULK)

What a retarded comparison. (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970997)

The road-rage incidence was a conviction under "causing death by criminal negligence" which has a maximum penalty of life in prison and a minimum of 0 (unless a gun is involved).

So does this idiot summary writer really think that a maximum of 10 years in prison is greater than a maximum of life in prison?

And yes people convicted for wearing a mask are also not going to get the maximum.

If they passed that here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39970999)

I would procure one of those Guy Fawkes/V masks and commence wearing it whenever I'm out in public. If it does pass in Canada, I encourage y'all Canucks to do so before Congress copies you.

What kind of commitment is that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39971015)

Punishment aside: If you need to wear a mask to a peaceful, lawful protest, then I would question your commitment to the cause and/or your intent.

Demented priorities.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39971047)

What a load. Most child rapists get less than 5 years serving on average 18 months in the actual jail....for raping children....

Clearly protesters with masks are more of a concern than the safety and well being of our children... :(

There is a simple solution (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39971055)

It is called voting.

Rioting and protesting because your views aren't represented and government is kind of pointless when you have 38% voter participation among your general age group.

all masks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39971081)

what about a burqa?

Some nuance (0)

jiteo (964572) | more than 2 years ago | (#39971103)

I live in Montreal. The Liberal Party, the current ruling party in our provincial government, decided to raise tuition fees for university students. So for about three months now, a good chunk of university students have been on strike against the fee hikes.

While there have been a few peaceful demonstrations, including a huge one downtown on March 22nd, there have also been many less peaceful demonstrations. For example, a few days ago at a Liberal Party conference in Victoriaville, a demonstration devolved into violence. Tear gas, rubber bullets, the lot. A few protesters were hurt, and a policeman was outright beaten by multiple so called protesters.

Unrelated to protests and violence, but just to show you how bad it's become, yesterday, during morning rush hour, smoke bombs were set off in our metro, paralyzing it completely. No service on any line. That was the latest in a series of similar incidents, including previous smoke bombs in the metro and the blocking of bridges.

All that to say that it's an ugly situation, made even more ugly because it's being exploited by people who have nothing to do with the student cause. Anarchists, criminals, call them whatever you want, show up at protests and start trouble. Usually they are masked. You have the right to express an opinion publicly, but you do not necessarily have a right to do so anonymously, especially if you're not really trying to express an opinion, but rather are trying to break a few windows, burn a few cars, and throw rocks at a few policemen.

I know that it's a slippery slope, and that he who gives up a little liberty for a little security deserves neither, but we've shown that large peaceful protests can happen, and that at this point, it's no longer about freedom of anything, it's about preventing crime. And I remind you that John Gabriel's Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory works in real life as well. So take away the anonymity, and you might just end up with fewer total fuckwads.

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