Warrior Societies threatened by anti-gang legislation


From: Manitoba Warriors Online manitoba@canadamail.com
To: newsgroups soc.culture.native, alt.native
Date: Sun, 20 Apr 1997 13:19:10

Canada is proposing legislation that will attempt to outlaw Native Warrior societies by labelling them organized crime organizations. They will define a Native Warrior society as organized crime, because it is more than five people who are organized against the government. This will also extend to protestors of any sort who demonstrate against pretty much anything, includung logging, land rights, etc.

The sweeping new legislation will give the police more powers to tap phones, restrict Native leaders' movements, and make it difficult for anyone to form groups that may be opposed to the governments of Canada's actions. The laws are being brought in to counter gang violence in Canada, but top lawyers have suggested that it is broad enough to cover Native protestors. Will post more info in the near future outlining the legislation, but a quick search for the justice department of Canada should have info in their new releases section.



QUEBEC--Police forces in Canada would get powerful new tools to crack down on organized crime under proposed changes to the Criminal Code unveiled yesterday by federal Justice Minister Allan Rock.

But civil-rights groups fear the new police powers could be used to reduce the civil liberties of organizations such as environmental and native groups involved in political protest.

Under the bill tabled yesterday in Parliament, police would get access to the income-tax information of anyone suspected of being part of a criminal organization--a move unprecedented for non-drug offences.

Police also would be given powers to request peace bonds to limit the freedom of movement of people suspected of leading criminal organizations. Breach of a peace bond's conditions would be an indictable offence.

As well, changes to the Criminal Code would make it easier for police to obtain search warrants and seize proceeds of organized crime, and would allow for greater electronic surveillance of suspects by eliminating the need for police to demonstrate that such surveillance is a "last resort" in investigations.

Mr. Rock stopped short of making it an offence simply to be a member of a criminal organization, as demanded by the Quebec government and municipal leaders, who want Ottawa to end the gang war in the Montreal and Quebec City region. He said the Charter of Rights and Freedoms does not allow for such drastic action.

However, he reduced the obstacle presented by the Charter by defining the term "criminal organization" and making it illegal for a person to be a member of such a group if he or she commits a crime for the benefit of the group. An offender would be sentenced both for the crime and for participating in organized-crime activity. The sentences would be served consecutively.

The changes would define a criminal organization as "any group, association or other body consisting of five or more persons, whether formally or informally organized, having as one of its primary activities the commission of an indictable offence...for which the maximum punishment is imprisonment for five years or more."

An accused found guilty of participating in a criminal organization would receive a maximum of 14 years in prison.

The proposals would provide tougher sentences for crimes when related to criminal organizations and would place greater restrictions on the parole eligibility of individuals involved in such crimes.

The bill also includes a maximum sentence of 14 years for possession of explosives for a criminal organization's activities. This measure is in response to the increasing number of bombings in the Quebec City area of bars owned by rival motorcycle gangs.

Mr. Rock said the bill is only the first in a series of steps the government is considering to counter the gang wars in Quebec and the threat of the rivalry spreading.

Alan Borovoy of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association underlined the dangers in creating powers aimed at fighting organized crime that could become available to police to be used against other groups in society that employed civil disobedience to promote legitimate causes.

The use of peace bonds, Mr. Borovoy said, could be used against people who had not been convicted of any gang-related offence. They could be subjected to restrictions on their associations on the basis of what the bill calls reasonable grounds to believe a person will commit a gang-related offence.

Back to SIS