New Law: Protesters Face 10 Years In Prison for Wearing Masks in Canada

June 20th, 2013
Updated 06/20/2013 at 3:43 am

A new Canadian bill turned law continues the international fight against protesters and the resistance movement by making it a crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison to wear a mask or any form of identity concealment during non-authorized gatherings.

The law indicates that wearing a mask or concealing ones identity during any unlawful assembly, as described by Canadian law to be three or more people gathering to disturb the piece, the individual in question is committing a very serious crime.  This new law is a companion to the preexisting “disguise with Intent” law, which was established to target those who go to a protest with intent to loot or riot and at the same time conceal their identity. This new law has a penalty of up to 10 years in prison, while the disguise with intent law only carries 5.

And with growing opposition against government worldwide (and for good reason as detailed by Anthony Gucciardi yesterday in a piece revealing 5 reasons we should distrust the government), this will likely lead to mass arrests. After Member of Parliament (MP) Blake Richards introduced the bill (bill C-30,9) for its first reading in the House of Commons in October of 2011, C-30,9 was effectively enacted as law on June 19, 2013.

When asked for comment, MP Richards said that his new law is to stop ‘lawful protests from becoming violent riots’. Many critics are concerned that it is not only a unnecessary addition to the criminal code due to the preexisting disguise with intent law, but that it will hinder many from utilizing their freedom of expression and the protection of their right to privacy. And although the new legislation passed in the House of Commons and is now enacted as law, it was not a unanimous vote.

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA), says that they fear that their cries are going unheard in respect to people wearing masks, citing that many wear masks out of fear of reprisal from either co-workers or perhaps even family members. They also brought up the argument that even if one person is wearing a mask and commits a crime, it does not immediately make everyone wearing a mask criminals as well.

MP Richards said that he is proud that his law has created a ‘solution’ to curbing riot-based violence, and that although there are many misunderstandings about this law he is sure that there will ‘always be critics’.

MP Charmaine Borg, however, did not agree. She stated on record in April that the bill was a major threat to anonymity. She said:

“[This bill] takes away an individual’s right to demonstrate anonymously. An individual is not necessarily going to commit a crime just because he or she is wearing a mask at a riot. It is reasonable to think that the person just wants to remain anonymous and protect his or her identity.”

The statements coincides with the CCLA concerns over police using the bill as a tool to break up an assembly for the mere fact that only one or two protesters in the group were wearing masks. The response from Richards and the supporters of C-309 argue that his bill will actually help protesters and protect the right to protest, as it will apparently prevent illegitimate protesters from infiltrating a lawful event and turning it into an unlawful or riotous one.

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Category: Injustice, Privacy

About the Author ()

Gordon Rupe is a contributing writer to Storyleak as well as a father and concerned American citizen. As a Colorado resident and avid reader of a large variety of works including science fiction, Gordon's work on Storyleak highlights our shrinking privacy and disappearing civil rights.

Comments (29)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    100% tyranny

  2. Government is doing all possible to corral humanity into a cage. Tyranny IS REAL, IT IS HERE.

  3. Ted Restric says:

    There is no law against make up or prosthetic enhancements – just masks. I just read today that a company is selling IR blinding – facial recognition glasses that foil video attempts. So go F yourself Richards, were sick of your so called "free speech zones" —- that ain't freedom and the people are soon gonna say enough is enough and will be all out of bubble gum (famous quote from a movie – they live) if you get my drift.

  4. Does it apply to the police too? The majority of the people wearing masks at these gatherings are the police. Will they start showing us their faces so we can see who they are?

  5. Will the police remove their masks too? Or does this law only apply to ordinary citizens. Surely it must apply to both police and citizens otherwise its tyranny (meaning oppressive treatment by government to its people)

  6. What are the applicable mask-crime laws in the United States, and if any exist, is there a state-by-state difference or a nationwide application? I wonder if it has anything to do with being able to point people out in a lineup or to provide public shaming through mug shots and such…

  7. Its really a good decision made by the government and wearing a mask will be considered as a crime. The main motive is to provide safety to the people and to avoid from any unwanted issue.

  8. Read more says:

    Their mask should be remove and need to identify actual police man indeed the most important thing is to take correct decision by staying in law.

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  10. Concerned says:

    do face wraps count? like shemags scarfs or bandanas?

  11. Wow, this is revolting! Ishould be able to become anonymous on the street if I wanted to!

  12. dana says:

    Simply outrageous!

  13. phd proposal says:

    They fear that their cries are going unheard in tribute to persons wearing guises, citing that numerous attrition hides external of fear of retribution from either co-helps or perhaps flush category components. They likewise brought up the altercation that level if specimen person is wearing a facade further consigns a infraction.

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  17. Kate says:

    This sounds a little bit crazy.

  18. Seriously, this really is revolting! Ishould manage to turn out to be unknown on the avenue basically wished to!

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  21. Shaun says:

    Anything that conceals your identity as deemed by law enforcement. Even your beard can do the job!

  22. It is nice to read your post and i really like your content
    please keep posting such kind of informative stuff.

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    Eventually, laws have the primary purpose of protecting the citizens. So as long as anyone is not guilty of a certain deed, there can be ways of proving the opposite. Consultants like the ones that became visible lately, from can always offer specialized advice to whoever is interested in asking for it.

  24. Carree Soohoo says:

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  25. Tsiliakou M. says:

    This is really weird law amendment.

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