Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I'd like to bring Professor Stribopoulos back in on two quick points.
Professor Stribopoulos, at one point Mr. Webb referred to the situation of when someone is “just standing and wearing a mask” after a riot or an unlawful assembly has been declared, that criminalizes them under this provision. Do you have any problems with the notion that simply by your being in the middle of a riot or an unlawful assembly, this provision would catch you? That's the first question.
Secondly, let me quote something from another police officer and ask you what you think about this. This is Chief Constable Graham of Victoria:
The challenge with this offence is that it demands an almost unattainable standard for effective, proactive policing. It requires the crown to prove the intention to commit one or more specific indictable offences. Although that would allow for the arrest of a masked person who participates in a riot once it has started,
--so he's already conceding that section 351 is adequate--
it does very little to prevent the riot from occurring in the first place. In contrast, Bill C-309, by creating a specific offence for wearing a mask while taking part in a riot or unlawful assembly, could allow for a pre-emptive arrest under the “about to commit” sections of the Criminal Code when an agitator “masks up”, as we call it. This would help provide proactive arrest authority to remove these instigators before things get out of control.
Do you understand that language as allowing for pre-emptive arrests triggered by this proposed amendment?