Stephen Harper's Conservatives are going after people who wear masks at political demonstrations.
The Harper government passed a law on Wednesday night to jail masked protestors if their demonstration turns into a "riot" or an "unlawful assembly."
The law is the work of Alberta Conservative Blake Richards who wanted to go after the goons who rioted in Vancouver after the Canucks lost the Stanley Cup earlier this year.
The Harper mask law makes it a criminal code offense punishable by up to 10 years in jail or five years in jail and a $5,000 fine for wearing a mask "without a lawful excuse" at a demonstration that turns ugly.
There are a few exemptions - ladies wearing hijabs at a demonstration, religious headgear but not many others.
Ten years in prison is as much as Karla Homolka got for three murders. Talk about Harper overkill. And five years in jail is what some guys get for rape.
Blake Richards says there's no way the cops would ever charge the Quebec students' affectionate ‘Anarchopanda' or the yellow ‘Banana Rebel' who took part in their demonstrations earlier this year.
Harper and his conservative crowd have been looking for a way to put wayward youth "in their place" in jail where they say they belong. Now they've got one. Watch them use it.
Richards doesn't include police wearing helmets and visors to hide their faces from the people they are beating with truncheons during "unlawful assembly" riots.
In Quebec we know all about how far the cops can go with their definition of "unlawful assembly."
In Toronto they found out cops there dredged up an ancient law so they could arrest more than 1,100 demonstrators at the G-20 demonstrations.
Richards has assured parliamentarians the new law will not go after giant pandas, or yellow bananas - rebel or not - nor after Bonhomme Carnaval, or seal masks on demonstrators for animals rights.
But what about a student demonstrator wearing a Stephen Harper mask? Exemption or off to the clink? Ask Steve.
But then up popped Conservative senator Jean-Guy Dagenais, Harper's Senate vigilante, who said ‘Anarchopanda' and ‘Banana Rebel' had no business at an ‘unlawful assembly.'
Dagenais said police would use their best judgement before declaring a demonstration ‘illegal."
Dagenais happens to be a former policeman.
Is it a coincidence that the vote on Bill C-309 against wearing masks at demonstrations came on Halloween night?
Somebody in Harper's office does have a sense of humor, and Harper still has a lot of empty double bunks to fill in his prisons.