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Wear a Mask During a Protest In Canada: 10 Years In Jail 342

Posted by Soulskill
from the bad-news-for-canucks-fans dept.
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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Wear a Mask During a Protest In Canada: 10 Years In Jail

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 11, 2012 @01:16PM (#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...

  • by pablo_max (626328) on Friday May 11, 2012 @01:17PM (#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.

  • A Minor Correction (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hyades1 (1149581) <hyades1@hotmail.com> on Friday May 11, 2012 @01:17PM (#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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 11, 2012 @01:19PM (#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.

  • by Blasphemy (78348) on Friday May 11, 2012 @01:22PM (#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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 11, 2012 @01:22PM (#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.

  • by networkBoy (774728) on Friday May 11, 2012 @01:45PM (#39970733) Homepage Journal

    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

  • by static416 (1002522) on Friday May 11, 2012 @01:46PM (#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.

  • by plover (150551) * on Friday May 11, 2012 @02:32PM (#39971465) Homepage Journal

    I still want a Three Strikes and You're a Serial Tyrant law. If you introduced, voted in favor of, and/or signed into law a total of three bills that are each later overturned by the Supreme Court on the grounds of being unconstitutional, you are guilty of depriving the populous of their rights, and are guilty of being a tyrant. 10 years in federal prison, no statute of limitations, no executive pardons.

    Congress (or Parliament for those of you up in Canuckistan) would consist of a bunch of guys who would be a whole lot more concerned about the crap laws they pass. The MPAA lobbyists would never even see their bought-and-paid-for congressmen: they'd basically be turned away at the door by flunkies. Harper's bill would die by unanimous disapproval.

  • Re:Corrections (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Maow (620678) on Friday May 11, 2012 @05:54PM (#39974225) Journal

    The Government sits on top of a sometimes restless coalition.

    I wish I saw some signs of this restlessness. I mean where is the dissent within the back benches - nothing but silence.

    Harper has to throw bones to the social conservatives. That's what the hub-bub about the renewed abortion debate is.

    Agreed, although it seems just as likely that it was a distraction from all the scandals, specifically election fraud and F-35 double-book-keeping financial fraud.

    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?

    I think he doesn't care, he'll plan on 2 years of negative attack ads against the opposition leader (again, and it's already started against Bob Rae), combined with more refined voter suppression and yet more election fraud, and finally, if the bill allowing snooping through ISP records eventually goes through - Conservative hacks will be the ones spying on opposition party members to dig up (or make up) dirt to smear them with.

    TL;DR version: Harper doesn't plan on allowing free & fair elections, so has no fear of being defeated over this.

    No, he'll let them make some noise, and then will snuff it out as quietly as he can.

    I sincerely wish I could agree with you.

    My take is that Canada has suffered a silent coup and by the time Elections Canada & the RCMP get to the bottom of the current scandals another election will have passed and the list of criminal activities will keep 2 RCMPs busy for a decade.

  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Friday May 11, 2012 @07:35PM (#39975029) Homepage

    In the United States at least, there are recent well documented cases of this exact tactic:
    2008 Democratic Party Convention [denverpost.com]
    2004 Republican Party Convention [nytimes.com]
    Older uses of the same tactic are included in the reports [icdc.com] of the Church Committee.
    But yeah, that's all wild conspiracy theories.

    One of the basic rules of political protest: If you're at a peaceful demonstration, and somebody starts suggesting violence, (A) don't listen to him and certainly don't take his advice, (B) identify him as likely police, and (C) make sure protest organizers are alerted to what's going on.

God may be subtle, but he isn't plain mean. -- Albert Einstein

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