The capital city of the straight-laced police state that is Canada, recently made a significant change to it’s Criminal Code that now means it is ‘illegal’ to wear a mask at a protest or demonstration. Bill C-309, passed last Wednesday, effectively criminalises anyone who covers their face during a protest (except for the police and those representing the state of course, who can still hide behind their fancy dress costumes and act with impunity) and anyone caught daring to exercise their right to anonymity, could face up to ten years behind bars.
The draconian legislation has sparked outrage amongst civil liberties advocates who say it tramples constitutional freedoms and prevents freedom of expression, and they plan on challenging it in the courts for these very reasons. Micheal Vonn, policy director of the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, described it as “outrageous” and argued that there’s all kinds of legitimate reasons to mask your face during a protest.
The President of the Canadian Police Association however, Tom Stamatakis, has said that he cannot see a legitimate reason protesters would want to hide their identity, robotically reiterating that the police are not out to break up peaceful demonstrations but to provide “law and order” – right, so nothing to do with ignorantly protecting and serving corrupt corporate interests in return for a paycheque whilst hiding behind a uniform then?
Whether this oppressive Bill is successfully challenged by the critics, matters not to those who don’t feel the subservient need to beg the system for permission to do something they already know they have the inalienable right to do in the first place. Matters like this call for peaceful non compliance and anyone who is familiar with the movie V for Vendetta – the very thing that inspired collective mask wearing at demonstrations in the first place, should know this. What exactly are the police and courts going to do if every protestor completely disregards this political poppycock – repeatedly arrest and jail thousands of otherwise law abiding citizens for wearing a mask? Of course not.
More importantly and somewhat encouragingly, what the introduction of this Bill shows, is that those at the top are unquestioningly unnerved and so are desperately hurrying to do everything in their power to stack the odds of control back in their favour. Protesters turning up together wearing masks (just as the police do) not only provides anonymity but also displays to those in control, the snowballing solidarity between we, the people, which is why it’s so important the trend continues.