by Meagan Fitzpatrick / CBC News
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.