In Defense of the Mask

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Are they afraid with the Power of the Mask? Or are they afraid with the Power of the People?

I refer to “Wearing a mask at a riot is now a crime: Maximum 10-year prison term for conviction of new offence” by Meagan Fitzpatrick, CBC News, June 19th with regard to Canada’s new law banning the wearing of masks during a riot or unlawful assembly.


Indeed, wearing a mask during those situations stated above is wrong, yet what is wrong in wearing a mask in a political rally, public assembly or people’s demonstration?

According to the reports:

“A bill that bans the wearing of masks during a riot or unlawful assembly and carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence with a conviction of the offence became law today.

“Bill C-309, a private member’s bill introduced by Conservative MP Blake Richards in 2011, passed third reading in the Senate on May 23 and was proclaimed law during a royal assent ceremony in the Senate this afternoon.

“Richards, MP for Wild Rose, Alta., said the bill is meant to give police an added tool to prevent lawful protests from becoming violent riots, and that it will help police identify people who engage in vandalism or other illegal acts. The bill is something that police, municipal authorities and businesses hit hard by riots in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and other cities in recent years, were asking for, according to Richards.”

According to the statement released by Richards:

“The provisions of my bill are effective immediately, which means police officers across Canada now have access to these tools to protect the public from masked rioters…”


I condemn to the utmost the macheavellian method used in enacting this sinister law which unmistakably will lead to the stifling of the people’s civil rights and undoubtedly shall lead to the grave violation of the citizen’s constitutional rights!   

On behalf of humanity and all freedom-loving people of the world, let me issue my objections to this ‘law’.

I am opposed to this law on two grounds, namely the procedural and substantive aspect.

On the procedural aspect, let me state that I am against this law by virtue of the incontestable fact that it is a redundancy. The present Criminal Code existing has already includes a section about “wearing disguises while committing a crime.”

Given the said premise, now the pertinent question to this section is: what is the purpose that will be served by this new law which is already filled up or satisfied or covered up by the earlier law?

Hence, there is no shadow of doubt that this new law is utterly unnecessary and an extreme exercise in stupid superfluity.

I am also opposed to this law because originally the proposed penalty is only up to five years, “but the House of Commons justice committee amended it and doubled the penalty to up to 10 years in prison for committing the offence.”


Did the so-called House of Commons justice committee conducted wide consultations and extensive public hearings to notify the general population with regard to this law and the committee’s act of raising or doubling the penalty for violation thereof?

It is my vehement and firm view that the absence of an extensive public hearing to notify and educate the public will render this law a suspect in its objective and distrustful to its true aim.

There is no shadow of doubt that the process in passing this legislation is arbitrary, capricious and anti-democratic. The Legislature has committed a fatal and glaring error in public policy and that is by-passing the people in advancing this measure.

Michael Byers, a political scientist at the University of British Columbia and a board member of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, said that:

“Any law that infringes upon civil liberties needs to be held to a test of absolute necessity, and I don’t think that test has been met in this instance…”

Though, Mr. Byers has testified at the Commons justice committee I have strong doubts whether the members of the committee has put into consideration Mr. Byers’ viewpoints.

I concur with the said political scientist that “freedom of expression was not properly factored into the design of the bill and that its measures could deter acts of political expression.”

On this ground alone, it is my consider view that the said law is utterly unconstitutional, null and void! Indeed, this is void ab initio! 

On the substantive aspect, which in my view is the most important ground, let me state that I am against this rubbish law by virtue of the fact that its aim is not the promotion of the public good but the suppression of the people’s rights to their privacy and political expression.

There is indeed a dangerous tendency to the said law. It could be a subject of abuse by the law-enforcer. 

I concur with James Stribopoulos, an associate professor at York University’s Osgoode Hall law school, who told the MPs on the House justice committee “that it could result in police preemptively arresting lawful protesters who happen to be wearing masks.”

In such a case, what would be the recourse of a legitimate protester?  

Further, the new measure, undeniably “creates a new Criminal Code offence that makes it illegal to wear a mask or otherwise conceal your identity during a riot or unlawful assembly. Exceptions can be made if someone can prove they have a “lawful excuse” for covering their face such as religious or medical reasons.”

There is no iota of doubt that this stupid law, far from noble is a venomous attack to silence dissent and to discourage popular assembly.

The so-called “royal assent” will not cure the irremediable defects of the law! That law is illegal, immoral and utterly against the very interest of the public!

Hence, on this utterly important ground, I also consider the said law in contravention of the Constitution!

Further, I overwhelmingly agree with civil liberties advocates’ argument that “the measures could create a chilling effect on free speech and that peaceful protesters can unintentionally find themselves involved in an unlawful assembly.”

Lastly, how could said law and civil liberties be reconciled? Or to put it in another manner: how the said draconian law will be reconciled with the constitutional rights of the citizens?

It is a well-entrenched rule of universal constitutional law, sanctioned and recognized by international convention that if a law or a rule or a statute or a measure is in contradiction or in direct violation of the constitution, said law or rule or statute or measure shall be declared invalid and ineffective, by virtue of its being unconstitutional!   

Finally, the law is also illegal for being biased and discriminatory. Why?

The stupid law is compelling demonstrators, activists, protesters, etc. not to wear any masks; then why the hell those policemen are wearing gas mask?

The rubbish law is prohibiting demonstrators, activists, protesters from concealing their identities; then how about those bastard policemen who are not wearing their respective identification cards?


I call upon the Canadian people to question before the highest court of the law the legality, propriety and constitutionality of this measure!


I also call upon them to continue to fight and exercise their right: go out and demonstrate, with or without the masks. THAT IS YOUR RIGHT!!! Defy this illegal and stupid law!

To the Canadian government

Fear not that the people are wearing masks, rather fear and be scarred at the collective power of the people, because they can overthrow you all, with or without the masks.

Do I have to remind you that, in the final analysis: it is the power of the people that will undeniably determine everything!

Hence: You have been warned! Watch out and beware!     






5 Replies to “In Defense of the Mask”

  1. I’m okay with this law… especially in my home city of Vancouver. I also think that most Vancouverites would be in favor of this law as well. You see, many British Columbians and Vancouverites would support such a law because we have witnessed the ugliness and hooliganism brought by a couple of Stanley Cup riots. That’s right… Vancouverites don’t really give a rat’s ass about many political issues but if the Canucks lose in the Stanley Cup finals you can bet that there will be rioting and looting in downtown Vancouver. It happened in 1994 (when the Canucks lost against the Rangers) as well as a couple of years ago when the Canucks lost against the Bruins. In both instances downtown Vancouver fell into chaos. Many properties were destroyed and many people were hurt. The next day brought about a deep sense of shame amongst many Vancouverites and British Columbians that thousands of people gave the police leads on people whom they caught using their phone cameras and other digital devices. This resulted in hundreds of arrests and the perpetrators were made accountable. Should the Canucks play and loose in the Stanley Cup Finals again there is a likelihood that hooligans would be wearing masks this time so that things would be difficult for them to get caught. So it would be either the city of Vancouver would ban public assembly or public celebrations during the NHL playoffs (which I doubt would be supported by many Canadians and Canadian businesses) or just ban wearing masks during uncontrolled assemblies.

    By the way, Montreal had a riot too in 1993 after the Habs won against the Kings in the Stanley Cup Finals. In 2008 those Montreal fans again went nuts and destroyed 16 police cruisers in a riot after celebrating the Habs win against the Bruins in a playoff series. In 1955 Montreal Canadiens fans tore up the neighborhood around the Forum after Rocket Richard got suspended for fighting in a hockey game.

    There was also mayhem that occurred after a Guns N Roses concert in Montreal back in 1992 and in Vancouver 10 years later when another Guns N Roses concert was suddenly cancelled.

    Sure there were other non-NHL related riots in the past too but in recent years most of the riots that were large scale were about stupid hockey games and rock concerts. A law banning masks at huge public gatherings, especially gatherings that are spontaneous, would hopefully deter would-be hooligans and looters from carrying out their destructive behavior. In our digital age where pictures and videos can be conveniently taken, hellraisers would be caught easier and be made accountable. Wearing masks would make it very difficult to make those people pay and it would only empower the troublemakers.

    Now with regards to the redundancy of the bill, the author of the bill argues that his bill will actually help protect the legitimate right to protest because it will help prevent illegitimate protesters from infiltrating a peaceful event and causing trouble. He also said police told him the existing Criminal Code provision about disguises is more geared toward armed robbery offences and is difficult to apply in protest situations. So I support this bill and I would gladly encourage my MP to cross party lines to support this bill. (Unfortunately my MP belongs to an uber-liberal leftist party, the NDP.)

  2. Aside from what Hector said about riots in Canada, I never really liked V for Vendetta. Although it has some nice lines, V himself is an anarchist and an asshole. In fact, his costume is like that of communists in China. And Guy Fawkes, the guy is a terrorist in real life, I don’t think he should even be idolized. It’s like Che Guevara; young people today idolize him without understanding.

    Besides, remember what psychology says; people hide behind masks to hide their true intent and nature.

    1. Here’s what I commented for another article from early this year:

      What most people don’t know is that Guy Fawkes wanted to overthrow Britain’s Anglican monarchy so he could help the Vatican return to it.

      Simply put, Guy Fawkes was overthrowing a totalitarian dictatorship so he could install his own totalitarian dictatorship.

  3. A risk with this new law is its potential to be used as a stepping stone towards restricting anonymous dissent in Canada. One can’t trust lawmakers not to look for ways to squash unpleasant speech. Having this in the books would lead legislators to consider other limits on anonymity. How do you guarantee that future legislators won’t equate anonymous Internet commentors on an anti-government site with masked people in an unlawful assembly? If the latter is considered illegal, then wouldn’t it follow that the former should be, too?

  4. Granting that both the anonymous internet source and the masked man at illegal public gatherings can both be tough to be made accountable for their actions… the thing is… dissenting opinions and even ugly sentiments posted on the internet by anonymous sources don’t often directly lead to destruction of lives and property. One can anonymously unleash vitriol on the internet and that’s that… not a whole lot of people would really care and get affected. But if masked hooligans start inciting a riot… a lot of people would care about making those hooligans accountable for the destruction of life and property they caused. Just like how many Vancouverites and many British Columbians cared when they overwhelmingly supported a shame campaign against hooligans who destroyed our city a couple of years ago. (Many folks posted pictures and videos of rioters and looters in Facebook and other social media and they gave many leads to the RCMP and the Vancouver Police.) Knowing the power of social media and how easier it is now to capture one’s act on videos and cameras, troublemakers could find it easier to protect their identities by wearing masks. Many Canadians support the notion of freedom of speech but many Canadians also believe in responsibility. Many of us care about our cities and our country more than we do care about radicalism and political dissent that fosters anarchy and destruction of life and property. Heck… we in Canada even care more about poutine, beer, and hockey than most political issues. Can’t get any more Canadian than that, eh? 🙂

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