section 83.01(1.1)

INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION

The expression of a political, religious or ideological thought does not constitute terrorist activity unless it satisfies the criteria of that definition.

SECTION WORDING

83.01(1.1) For greater certainty, the expression of a political, religious or ideological thought, belief or opinion does not come within paragraph (b) of the definition "terrorist activity" in subsection (1) unless it constitutes an act or omission that satisfies the criteria of that paragraph.

EXPLANATION

Section 83.01(1.1) of the Criminal Code of Canada is a provision that clarifies the definition of "terrorist activity" contained in subsection (1)(b). Specifically, it provides that the expression of a political, religious, or ideological thought, belief, or opinion does not fall under the definition of "terrorist activity" unless it meets the criteria set out in paragraph (b) of subsection (1). The purpose of this provision is to ensure that freedom of expression, a fundamental right protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, is not unduly restricted under the guise of counterterrorism measures. In other words, individuals cannot be charged with committing a terrorist activity simply for expressing their opinions, beliefs, or ideas, even if those ideas are controversial or offensive. However, it is important to note that the provision does not provide blanket protection for all forms of expression. If the expression in question meets the criteria set out in paragraph (b) of subsection (1), then it may be considered a terrorist activity. This includes acts or omissions that intentionally cause death or serious bodily harm to a person, endanger the lives or safety of the public, or cause substantial property damage. Overall, Section 83.01(1.1) serves as a necessary safeguard to protect free speech while also ensuring that the government has the necessary tools to combat genuine acts of terrorism.

COMMENTARY

Section 83.01(1.1) of the Criminal Code of Canada is an important provision that clarifies the definition of terrorist activity" in the Canadian legal system. Specifically, this provision confirms that the expression of political, religious, or ideological thoughts, beliefs, or opinions is not considered to be a terrorist activity unless it meets the criteria laid out in the definition of that term under subsection (1). This provision is significant because it underscores the fundamental importance of freedom of expression and the right to hold and express political or religious beliefs in a democratic society. These principles are enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which protects individuals from discrimination and ensures that they are free to express their views, beliefs, and opinions without fear of censorship or retribution. At the same time, the provision also acknowledges the fact that in some circumstances, the expression of political or religious beliefs can be used to justify or incite acts of violence or other forms of criminal activity. As such, it is important to understand the criteria that must be met for such expressions to meet the definition of terrorist activity" under Canadian law. Under subsection (1) of section 83.01 of the Criminal Code, an activity will be considered to be a terrorist activity if it involves an act or omission that is committed for a political, religious, or ideological purpose, and that is intended to intimidate the public, compel a government or international organization to do or refrain from doing something, or to disrupt the normal functioning of society. It is important to note that under this definition, not all acts of violence, intimidation, or disruption will necessarily be considered terrorist activities. For an activity to meet the definition of terrorism, it must be committed for a specific political, religious, or ideological purpose, and it must be intended to achieve a specific outcome, such as to create fear or disrupt the normal functioning of society. By providing greater clarity around the definition of terrorist activity," section 83.01(1.1) of the Criminal Code of Canada helps ensure that individuals and groups are not unfairly targeted or stigmatized for expressing their legitimate views and beliefs. At the same time, it also ensures that those who engage in criminal acts of violence or other forms of terrorism are held accountable for their actions under Canadian law.

STRATEGY

Section 83.01(1.1) of the Criminal Code of Canada provides greater clarity on the definition of "terrorist activity" and distinguishes it from the expression of political, religious, or ideological beliefs. While this section provides greater certainty for individuals and organizations, there are several strategic considerations that need to be taken into account by those dealing with this section of the Criminal Code. Below are some of the strategies that could be employed: 1. Legal Compliance: While expressing political, religious, or ideological beliefs may not come under the purview of this section of the Criminal Code, it is essential to ensure that the expression of these beliefs does not contravene any other Canadian laws. Organizations and individuals should be aware of the various provincial and federal restrictions on hate speech, discrimination and the spread of propaganda. 2. Public Perception: In dealing with this section of the Criminal Code, it is vital to understand that the public perception of the act or omission is critical in determining its impact and response. Public opinion can easily sway towards seeing lawful acts as terrorism, which can tarnish an individual or organization's reputation. Therefore, while the law may protect lawful acts, attention should be paid to how these acts are perceived by the public. 3. Media Management: When dealing with sensitive issues related to political, religious, or ideological beliefs, it is essential to manage the media and the public narrative effectively. Organizations should have a crisis communication plan in place to deal with any possible fallout from public perception of their actions. 4. Proactive Engagement: Proactive engagement with the public and stakeholders can help address any concerns over the expression of political, religious or ideological beliefs. Organizations should have a clear communication strategy that includes engaging with civil society, government agencies and community members to explain their beliefs and actions. 5. Strategic Alliances: Strategic alliances with other organizations and individuals who share similar political, religious or ideological beliefs can help amplify messaging and provide support in the face of any public backlash. These alliances can include NGOs, political parties, activist groups, and think tanks. 6. Mitigating Risks: It is essential to conduct a thorough risk assessment before expressing political, religious or ideological beliefs that may be seen as controversial. Risks such as public backlash, security threats, and adverse legal consequences should be assessed comprehensively and mitigated through strategies such as hiring legal counsel, security analysis and ensuring that proper measures are in place to deal with any potential harm. In conclusion, Section 83.01(1.1) of the Criminal Code of Canada provides clarity on the definition of terrorist activity concerning the expression of political, religious or ideological beliefs. Strategies that could be employed when dealing with this section include legal compliance, public perception management, media management, proactive engagement, strategic alliances, and risk mitigation. These strategies can help organizations and individuals express their beliefs and opinions while managing potential risks effectively.

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