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Archived - Criminalizing the Advocacy or Promotion of Terrorism Offences in General

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Under the current criminal law, it is a crime to counsel or actively encourage others to commit a specific terrorism offence. However, the current law would not necessarily apply to someone who instructs others to "carry out attacks on Canada" because no specific terrorism offence is singled out.

The proposed legislation would help stop those who promote terrorism by creating a new Criminal Code offence that would criminalize the promotion of terrorism, including attacks on Canadians.

The proposed offence would fill a current gap in Canadian criminal law by making it a crime for a person to knowingly promote or advocate others to carry out a terrorism offence.

The penalty for the new offence would be a maximum of five years in prison. This penalty is comparable to the maximum sentence for the offence of advocating or promoting genocide against an identifiable group, which is the most serious of the three hate propaganda offences in the Criminal Code.

The proposed offence prohibits the intentional advocacy or promotion of terrorism, knowing or reckless as to whether it would result in terrorism. It is defined to safeguard the constitutionally protected right of freedom of expression.

The proposed new offence is similar to one recently enacted by Australia, that prohibits advocating a terrorist act or the commission of a terrorism offence-all while being reckless as to whether another person will engage in this kind of activity. In Australia's law, "advocacy" includes the promotion of terrorist activity. The maximum punishment is five years imprisonment.

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January 2015
Department of Justice Canada


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