A 10-year maximum jail term would apply in the case of a “riot,” but in the case of an “unlawful assembly” the maximum penalty would be five years in jail, said Robert Goguen, parliamentary secretary for Justice. Goguen said in an interview that with the amendment, the bill now recognizes “one incident is far more serious than the other.” The bill does not define riot, nor is it defined in the Criminal Code, but Goguen said that it is defined in case law — in other words, by past decisions of courts.
- Goguen said the amendment was necessary because s. 351 of the Criminal Code already makes it an offence to intend to commit a crime with one’s face “masked,” “coloured” or “disguised” and provides for a maximum 10-year jail term.
- More significant, perhaps, the existing prohibition in the Criminal Code is a “specific intent” offence that is more difficult to prove, while the bill creates a “general intent” offence which would be easier to prove in court, and a better tool for police, said Goguen. “The whole idea of this bill is to give them additional arrest powers.”
- He dismissed Opposition concerns that the bill goes overboard: “This is not a police state.” (..) He said that if the police make a mistake, Crown attorneys will exercise proper discretion, and if the Crown is “off-base, there’s the courts.”
- “A criminal infraction should always be aimed at the guilty, at people who commit crimes, not at innocent people who want to go and express themselves,” said Boivin. “Otherwise just throw the damn Charter of Rights down the drain.”
- “This is nothing more than overkill,” Liberal MP Judy Sgro told the committee.
- The one-page private member’s bill sponsored by Conservative Blake Richards (Wild Rose) passed clause-by-clause reading and now heads back to the House of Commons for third reading.
Canada IS a police state.