section 83.231(1)

INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION

This section makes it an offence to convey false information or commit an act likely to cause reasonable fear of terrorist activity.

SECTION WORDING

83.231 (1) Every one commits an offence who, without lawful excuse and with intent to cause any person to fear death, bodily harm, substantial damage to property or serious interference with the lawful use or operation of property, (a) conveys or causes or procures to be conveyed information that, in all the circumstances, is likely to cause a reasonable apprehension that terrorist activity is occurring or will occur, without believing the information to be true; or (b) commits an act that, in all the circumstances, is likely to cause a reasonable apprehension that terrorist activity is occurring or will occur, without believing that such activity is occurring or will occur.

EXPLANATION

Section 83.231(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada outlines the offence of falsely conveying information about potential terrorist activities or committing acts that cause a reasonable apprehension of such activities. This section seeks to prevent the spread of fear and panic in society by criminalizing any actions or statements that constitute a threat to public safety. The provision is broad in scope and covers a wide range of activities or statements that could be interpreted as conveying information about or promoting terrorist activities. It includes the deliberate spread of false information or conspiracy theories about terrorist activities or the use of threatening language or behavior that is likely to cause fear or apprehension among the public. Individuals who commit these offences without a lawful excuse will face punishment under the Criminal Code. The intent to cause fear is a crucial element of the offence, and the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused knew or ought to have known that their actions or statements were likely to cause a reasonable apprehension of terrorist activity. The penalty for breaching this section of the Criminal Code is severe, and the accused may be charged with a maximum sentence of five years in prison. The section also emphasizes the importance of public safety and upholding the Canadian justice system's rule of law. It sets a clear message that terrorism-related activities or threats will not be tolerated in Canada and encourages the public to be vigilant and report any suspicious activities or statements that could pose a threat to public safety.

COMMENTARY

Section 83.231(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada is part of Canada's anti-terrorism legislation, a measure designed to ensure that any acts of terrorism are vigorously prosecuted under Canadian law. The section criminalizes two specific acts related to conveying information and committing acts that could be interpreted as terroristic by either law enforcement or the public. The first is conveying information that is likely to cause apprehension of terrorist activity, even if the person conveying the information does not believe it to be true. The second is committing an act that is likely to cause apprehension that terrorist activity is occurring or will occur, without belief in either the act or those performing it. Section 83.231(1) serves both as a preventive measure by providing an avenue for authorities to respond to potential acts of terror before they take place, and as a deterrent that discourages individuals from participating in illicit activities that could be interpreted as terrorist in nature. This section addresses not the actual commission of an act of terror, but the activities leading up to such an event, making it more challenging for potential terrorists to plan and execute their plans in secrecy. The objective of this section is straightforward: to make it illegal to engage in activities that create an environment of fear or danger within Canadian society. The Canadian government has taken a holistic approach to preventing and deterring terrorism, placing an emphasis on identifying and preventing terrorists before they act. This section focuses on limiting the ability of individuals to disseminate information that could be interpreted as indicating an imminent terrorist act. Furthermore, it seeks to curb behaviour that could be seen as supportive of terrorism, no matter how benign or unthreatening it may seem to those engaging in the activity. The provision's meaning can be difficult to interpret, as the conduct it condemns can be ambiguous. This presents a risk of overreach by authorities in interpreting certain acts as terroristic or inciting fear. Nevertheless, it is essential to recognize that introducing such laws would undoubtedly instil fear among potential terrorists and impede them from executing their plans spontaneously, leading to an overall safer Canada. There are a few key caveats to this section's application. First and foremost, the prosecutor must demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt that the accused had intent to cause fear or damage, and that the fear or damage could occur in Canadian society. Moreover, the information conveyed, or acts committed, must be likely to cause a reasonable apprehension of terrorist activity-this means that the fear must be widespread or significant enough to merit criminal charges. Finally, the section explicitly excludes lawful activity that may be associated with religious expression, the advocacy of political ideas, or the pursuit of social justice. In summary, Section 83.231(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada serves as a preventive and deterrent measure that prevents individuals from participating in illicit activities that could be interpreted as terrorism-related or inciting fear among society. At the same time, utmost care must be taken to ensure that this section's interpretation is not overly broad in its application, which would limit the public's right to engage in lawful activities associated with political beliefs, religion, or social justice. Its implementation must be carefully guided by the principles of legality, proportionality, necessity, and accountability.

STRATEGY

Section 83.231(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada is an offense that pertains to conveying or causing to convey false information about terrorist activity with the intention to instill fear in a person's mind or create substantial damage to property or interfere with the lawful use or operation of property. In dealing with this section of the Criminal Code, it is critical to assess the implications of the offense as it pertains to community safety, public institutions, and national security. Strategic considerations when dealing with section 83.231(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada requires a multidimensional and comprehensive approach to mitigate potential risks and ensure public safety and security. One critical strategy is to enhance intelligence-led policing through a collaborative approach with local law enforcement agencies and intelligence organizations. This approach will help to understand and identify the potential perpetrators, their networks, and their motivations. It will also help in identifying trends and patterns of terrorist activities and quickly respond to any threats that may arise. Another critical strategy is to enhance community involvement and engagement in counter-terrorism efforts. This involves building awareness among the public about the dangers of terrorist activities and encouraging them to report any suspicious information to law enforcement agencies or other relevant institutions. This approach will help to identify potential threats early enough and prevent them from escalating into larger and more dangerous outcomes. The use of technology is also a crucial strategy in dealing with section 83.231(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada. This includes the use of surveillance cameras, facial recognition technology, and other advanced technologies that can help in identifying potential suspects and their networks. These technologies can also track the movement of suspected terrorists and prevent them from carrying out their attacks. Prosecution and punishment of individuals who breach section 83.231(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada is another critical strategy. This will send a strong message to potential offenders that terrorist activities are not tolerated in Canada and that law enforcement agencies are fully committed to ensuring public safety. Furthermore, the use of specialized training programs for law enforcement officers involved in counter-terrorism efforts is another critical strategy. These training programs will equip officers with the necessary skills, knowledge, and tools required to detect and prevent terrorist activities. In conclusion, dealing with section 83.231(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada requires a multidimensional and comprehensive approach that involves the use of intelligence-led policing, community engagement, technology, prosecution, and specialized training of law enforcement officers. These strategies will enhance public safety, security, and prevent terrorist activities from occurring in Canada.