Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Conservatives consider amending law on treason

Canada's treason laws, if enforced, are quite satisfactory.

Section 46 of the Criminal Code has two degrees of treason, called "high treason" and "treason."

It is pretty clear that anyone who assists forces in active combat with Canadian Forces is liable for High Treason. No amendment of the Criminal Code is necessary -- what is needed is the political will to prosecute.

Section 46 of the Criminal Code reads as follows:

"High treason

(1) Every one commits high treason who, in Canada,
(a) kills or attempts to kill Her Majesty, or does her any bodily harm tending to death or destruction, maims or wounds her, or imprisons or restrains her;
(b) levies war against Canada or does any act preparatory thereto; or
(c) assists an enemy at war with Canada, or any armed forces against whom Canadian Forces are engaged in hostilities, whether or not a state of war exists between Canada and the country whose forces they are.

(2) Every one commits treason who, in Canada,
(a) uses force or violence for the purpose of overthrowing the government of Canada or a province;
(b) without lawful authority, communicates or makes available to an agent of a state other than Canada, military or scientific information or any sketch, plan, model, article, note or document of a military or scientific character that he knows or ought to know may be used by that state for a purpose prejudicial to the safety or defence of Canada;
(c) conspires with any person to commit high treason or to do anything mentioned in paragraph (a);
(d) forms an intention to do anything that is high treason or that is mentioned in paragraph (a) and manifests that intention by an overt act; or
(e) conspires with any person to do anything mentioned in paragraph (b) or forms an intention to do anything mentioned in paragraph (b) and manifests that intention by an overt act."

It is also illegal for a Canadian citizen to do any of the above outside Canada.

The penalty for high treason is life imprisonment. The penalty for treason is imprisonment up to a maximum of life, or up to 14 years for conduct under subsection (2)(b) or (e) in peacetime.

Proposals to strip those convicted of Treason of Canadian citizenship are problematic. Ignoring constitutional concerns (which can probably be addressed) removing citizenship could lead to the weird result that subsequent acts against Canadian Forces (by former citizens) are lawful.

The better response?

Prosecute for treason in those very very rare cases where appropriate:

Stephen Harper's governing Conservative Party will debate whether Canadians should be stripped of their citizenship should they take up arms against this country or its allies.

It's one of a multitude of proposed changes to the Conservative Party's official policies up for debate when Tories from across Canada converge in Ottawa for a June 9-11 convention.


Alison said...

Or its allies? WTF? That is just outrageous. I can smell a whiff of Omar Khadr in this amendment and it is just sickening. Who is to say who our allies are at any given time? At the rate we are going under SH, we soon may find ourselves without allies other that Israel. I am just waiting for the amendment that makes it treason to criticize dear leader.

Anonymous said...

There won't be any debate, debate is for all. We need a mole.

Dan F said...

Of course their proposal doesn't make sense. Its not about making sense, its about the soundbite, and being able to label opponents as "those treasonous bastards" and be able to accuse anyone who opposes them of treason. Its a purely political move. Any attempt to make sense of Conservative policies will make Andrew Coyne's head explode.

The Rat said...

"Our Allies" - I don't know, maybe other NATO countries? That would nicely pooch the next Khadr. Or maybe we just say no Canadian may make war independent of Canada unless explicitly allowed to. Germany, for example, strips citizenship from persons serving in foreign armies without consent.

It seems that Liberals posting here actually support the ability of Canadians to use violence against other countries and then retreat to the safety of Canada.

James C Morton said...

Well, Allies is pretty well defined already for treason. It's forces Canadians are in the field with. So for Afghanistan it would include allied NATO forces in the field. It does not include countries we merely have friendly relations with. The existing law is sufficient.

KURSK said...

I would love to see the face of wee Omar Khadr as he steps off the plane into the welcoming arms of the RCMP with a warrant for his arrest for high treason.

Put that little bastard in a dark cell for the rest of his life, and kick his terrorist loving and supporting family out of Canada

They love Pakistan so much, let them live there.

Anonymous said...

Omar Khadr will get his.

No doubt about it.

You don't think there are any Canadians with American citizenship?

Omar Khadr will get his, no doubt about it.