Criminal groups: the bill to ban the “patches” defeated in the Commons

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OTTAWA | The House of commons has dealt a fatal blow Wednesday to the bill that was intended to prevent, in particular, the Hells Angels wear their “patches”.

Bill C-349, presented by the Bloc québécois in last April, was defeated 18 votes to 261 for the second reading. Apart from the members of the Bloc, only a handful of parliamentarians have supported, including many conservatives of Quebec.

Under the draft law, it would have been illegal for any member of a criminal group to wear an emblem “in order to demonstrate his membership in such an organization”. The application of the act would be based on a list of criminal entities established by the authorities, such as the one that already lists of terrorist organizations.

“We expected it, but it really is disappointing, said after the vote the member Rhéal Fortin, the initiator of the draft law. We do not understand why the other parties voted against it. I have heard no argument to the intelligent.”

Officially, the liberals have raised in the spring of suspicions based on the canadian Charter of rights and freedoms, notably as regards the freedom of expression. The new democrats have expressed reservations with regard to the management of a list of criminal groups and the conservatives, themselves, have emphasised the difficulty of legislating on all types of emblems possible.

According to the elected of Rivière-du-Nord, the events that occurred this summer in the Expo agricole de Saint-Hyacinthe, where the Hells Angels had a booth with promotional items, would have had to awaken the consciousness of the elect.

“The minimum would have been to discuss it in committee, and they didn’t want to. Even the minister of Justice, Jody Wilson-Raybould, has refused to meet me. After that, they don’t come to tell us that they are concerned citizens,” fulminé Mr. Fortin.

According to him, some mps have been afraid to tackle the organized crime and subjecting themselves to possible reprisals.

This is not the first time that the Block is taking on the criminal groups. In the 1990s, during the war of the bikers in Quebec, the party had adopted a law amending the criminal Code to include measures antigangs.

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