News Views: Unmasked

Concealment of Identity Act tabled by Alberta Conservative MP Blake Richards and endorsed by the government on Sunday.

The federal government has supported a private member’s bill that would make it a crime to wear a disguise while taking part in a riot.

Bill C-309 – the Concealment of Identity Act –  was tabled by Alberta Conservative MP Blake Richards and endorsed by the government on Sunday.

It would amend two sections of the Criminal Code covering penalties for taking part in a riot or violent protest, criminalizing the use of masks.

You could get up to five years in prison for wearing one of Stephen Harper while torching cars or looting stores.

The bill is meant to give police another tool to break up uncivil gatherings, as seen recently with students unhappy in Quebec over rising tuition fees, and disgruntled fans of the Vancouver Canucks after they lost Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup final.

But what constitutes a mask? One like Cory Schneider wears, or those worn by doctors? Scarves and hoodies? Groucho Marx glasses? What about the gas masks police officers wear? If someone covers their face with grease paint, does that count as concealing one’s identity?

Regardless, the proposal does not threaten the right to peaceful protest, as some might suggest.

Rather it ensures it.

There is no need to conceal one’s identity during a peaceful demonstration. No need to bring a change of clothes either, although we’ve seen images of protesters doing so after a bunch of windows were just smashed.

If this bill helps bring people involved in such criminal activity to justice, or prevents it, then so be it.

Save the masks for Halloween.

 

– Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News

Maple Ridge News