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Right Honorable Stephen Harper

80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON K1A oA2
Dear The Right Honorable Stephen Harper,

Nora Dorsman
70 Oceanview Rd
V0N 2E0, PO Box 702
Lions Bay, BC,

I am a Grade Nine student at Rockridge Secondary School in West Vancouver, BC. Over
the last couple of months we have been focusing on the symbolism of terrorism and the
perceived power of wearing a mask. That brings me to my next point, In July 2013, the
Government of Canada instated a law making it a crime to bear any sort of mask in a riot
or illegal protest. I am sure your Government has spent a decent amount of time
weighing the pros and cons of making this an actual law. I think that you all take time
and effort in coming upon your decisions. I and I am sure a lot of other people agree
that this law (Bill C-309) needs a bit more attention. I do not agree with this law.
First of all, I looked at what wearing a mask symbolizes. It gives the bearer the power of
anonymity, security and portrays an idea rather than a face. This gives the person
wearing the mask a sense of power. I completely understand the reasons you have
made this illegal because of safety precautions. But I think people of this nation should
have the power of political expression and having their ideas presented to the
government. For example, lets take an individual from Alberta, an ordinary bloke who
has this amazing idea of what can be improved in todays government. How is he going
to present this idea? He does not have the power to walk into the Parliament Building
and/or join in on a political discussion. He does not want to run for a position in the
government. The best way for him to spread his idea would be to engage in a protest.
He wants to remain anonymous in the case of photos being taken or because he does
not want to be seen as the face of this protest. With Bill C-309 being a law he does not
have the power to express the idea. I think that masks should be allowed because it can
be a symbol of an idea and provides the wearer with anonymity because they may not
want to be known.
When a mask is involved in a riot/protest people often associate it with terrorism. Lets
take 9/11 in perspective, which was an honest example of terrorism. Some people feel
the need to perform outside boundaries for their idea to be heard like the group, AlQaeda. They were prepared to die. Another example of a terrorist act is the Boston
Marathon Bombing, a tragic happening that occurred on April 15, 2013, not too long
ago. These men had something to prove and they were willing to kill for that point to be
proven. In class we watched a movie that goes by the name of, V for Vendetta. A
masked man thinks the government is not allowing the United Kingdom enough

freedom, secretly so does the rest of the population. Nobody has the guts to step up
until V (the masked man) does. He wears the infamous Guy Fawkes mask. The mask
becomes symbol of the revolution V has started. At the end of this film, the whole
country is wearing the mask in protest. I understand that this is only a film and it not a
valuable argument but I suggest you take it into thought. Last of all, the Gunpowder
Plot, Guy Fawkes planned to blow up the House of Lords as he did not agree with the
way King James I was running the country. King James was a Puritan meaning he wasnt
as accepting to the Catholics, which was the religion Guy Fawkes belonged too. In my
eyes this was not an act of terrorism because Guy Fawkes wanted his religion to be
addressed and treated fairly. This plot is where the Guy Fawkes mask originated from,
making everyone view this mask at as a terrorist symbol.
Lastly, I think that the punishment for committing this crime is completely
unreasonable. I mean 10 years for wearing a mask at a riot/protest. I think everyone can
agree that that is absurd. All of the recent terrorist acts such as 9/11, Boston Bombing
and Sandy Hook Elementary have one thing in common; The terrorists have all died.
They have all accepted the fact that in order for their plan to follow through they need
to die. I dont think this punishment is going to do anything about decreasing the
amount of riots/protests because the worst punishment is in fact, death. People are
willing to risk absolutely everything to have their idea known.
I think that you and all those in parliament should spend some extra time to reconsider
the passing of this law. Keeping in mind how we should express our ideas to the
Canadian Government without having to risk the law. Is Bill C-309 is really going to help
decrease the amount of riots/protests? A person who wants to commit a terrorist act
will do so anyways.
Nora Dorsman

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