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

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  • Re:Corrections (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 11, 2012 @02:25PM (#39970321)

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

  • by icebike ( 68054 ) * on Friday May 11, 2012 @02:26PM (#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?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 11, 2012 @02:26PM (#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"...

  • by static416 ( 1002522 ) on Friday May 11, 2012 @02:29PM (#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:Corrections (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 11, 2012 @02:38PM (#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 (Score:4, Informative)

    by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Friday May 11, 2012 @02:51PM (#39970847) Journal

    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 (Score:5, Informative)

    by flar2 ( 938689 ) on Friday May 11, 2012 @02:58PM (#39970951)

    The Government has stated they will support the bill.

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

  • by seyyah ( 986027 ) on Friday May 11, 2012 @03:54PM (#39971835)

    Well, you'll have to settle for reading it there. Video of them here: Police Provocateurs stopped by union leader at anti-SPP protest [].

  • by AngryDeuce ( 2205124 ) on Friday May 11, 2012 @04:17PM (#39972239)

    At the very most, it should only be disruptive to the party you're protesting - not interfering with the lives, safety or movements of people who aren't involved.

    Once they're affected by the protest they're no longer uninvolved. Again, that's precisely the point of a protest. If it can be easily dismissed and ignored then it's not an effective protest.

    You may disagree with the message, but you're forced to deal with the protest, whether you like it or not. Mission Accomplished.

  • by Phrogman ( 80473 ) on Friday May 11, 2012 @05:18PM (#39973189) Homepage

    G8/G20 Summit: []

    McLean's article: []

    The Guardian: [] (Note that the video attached to this article is now unavailable because the Guardian "no longer has rights to it". Isn't that another lame example of DRM?). Note the law concerning coming within 5m of the fence mentioned at the bottom of the article never existed, and was a fabrication of the Toronto Police Dept.

    Police assaulting a reporter: []

    Parliamentary Committee Slams Police Brutality during the Summit: []

    Amnesty International: []

    Videos: []
      Notice that most of the people are really there to watch the spectacle and take pictures on their cellphones. Only a handful stand up at the police line and passively protest. The police presence here (almost 1Bn spent on security for this event - although a lot of that was misappropriated pork-barreling by politicians as well) is a bit overboard.

    Police as Agents Provocateur: []

    Just some quick grabs from the Interwebs.

  • Re:Problem! (Score:4, Informative)

    by zill ( 1690130 ) on Friday May 11, 2012 @08:04PM (#39974813)
    Protesting is not "an illegal act".

To write good code is a worthy challenge, and a source of civilized delight. -- stolen and paraphrased from William Safire