‘Advocating Terror’ to become a Crime

Written by Harold McNeill on January 29th, 2015. Posted in Editorials, Tim Hortons Morning Posts

Home Grown Terrorists

Photo Collage:  A few of Canada’s notorious terrorists: The Bacon Brothers (BC), Maurice Bouchard (PQ), Eric Dejaeger (Nunavat), Vito Rizzuto (r)(PQ), Alan Legere (NB), Clifford Olsen (died in prison)(BC), Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka (Karla served 12 years after a plea deal) (ON), Willy Pickton (BC) and Russell Williams (ON).

Note: Just in case a few may think I am a left wing apologist for terrorists, you would be wrong.  Terrorists, whether they be of the criminal type or of the religious type, are despicable scum who deserve to be removed from civil society wherever in the world they may seek to practice their murderous ways. What I do not think we should do is give them a platform on which to spread their vile messages, nor should we re-direct billions in scarce funds away from those things that could make a real difference in reducing crime in whatever form it may present itself.


The above criminals represent just a small sample of everyday Canadian men and women who have murdered, raped, tortured, molested or terrorized thousands of people in communities across Canada. After these ‘terrorists’ were identified, charged, convicted and locked up, others came on line to replace them. A number of these people are ‘lone wolf’ terrorists who targeted women and children, but the others, the gang types, created large criminal organizations and recruited others (often youth) into their enterprise so they could expand and consolidate their reach. They were and are the Mafia, Motorcycle Gangs, Triads, etc. and they exist in every Province and Territory across Canada.

All of the above terrorists were identified and charged using standard police techniques and they were prosecuted under laws contained in the Criminal Code of Canada. Those who organized in groups often maintained a code of silence that was difficult to penetrate and more than a few lone wolves maintained a veil a respectability that made it equally hard to bring them to justice. Even though these people, whether lone wolves or as part of a criminal enterprise were extremely dangerous, we intuitively understood that it is unlikely those who replace them will ever impact our lives as crime in Canada is relatively low and our police, with a few exceptions, do an excellent job of maintaining law and order. Our cities and towns are safe and Canada sits near the top as being among the most safe of nations on earth.

On the other hand, we seem to worry a lot about terrorists of the jihad type. Why? Perhaps because our government, government agencies and media constantly tell us they are more dangerous than anything that currently challenges our society; they skulk within our midst; they belong to a certain religious group, and they often dress in a similar same manner. Do any of the homegrown terrorists in the above collage (representing 99,999% of of all criminals) look anything like those portrayed on TV and in print media day after day after day after day for the past fourteen years (the other 0.001%) who are officially known as terrorists in the current worldwide use of the word.  No? I wonder why? Join this, the first of a three part series that will explore the Wars we Wage.

The Crime of Advocating Terror

Note: If you read this post, please consider this question.  If 99.999% of all crime in Canada is covered under the Criminal Code of Canada, is investigated by regular police and dealt with in regular courts, why has so much attention, so many new laws and so much money (probably half again as much as directed to all regular law enforcement) been directed to dealing with the .001% who could roughly be defined as a “Muslim or Islamic Terrorist or Jihadist”?

On January 29, 2015, the Times Colonist and other media outlets across Canada carried articles along the lines: “Advocating Terror to become a crime.” The Prime Minister told the press this new legislation will be introduced on January 30, 2015 (1) and is intended to target those who are thinking about becoming a terrorist. As I set about preparing other articles on the Wars we Wage, headlines such as these do not surprise me, but the fact media outlets never seem to check the background or challenge the government is disappointing.  I had hoped reporters were better than that.

Of course, the headline leads to an inference that people (let’s be frank, they mean Muslims) who counsel or incite others to commit a terrorist act can currently do so without fear of being charged, that a new ‘terror’ related law is needed. That is simply wrong and the government is being deceitful. Look at the existing Section 429 of the Criminal Code:

22 (1) Where a person counsels another person to be a party to an offence and that other person is afterwards a party to that offence, the person who counseled is a party to that offence, notwithstanding that the offence was committed in a way different from that which was counseled. 

(2) Every one who counsels another person to be a party to an offence is a party to every offence that the other commits in consequence of the counseling that the person who counseled knew or ought to have known was likely to be committed in consequence of the counseling.

While the word ‘incite’ is often used, Section 22(3) defines “counsel” to include “procure, solicit or incite,” as this broadens the offence to include a variety of other actions.

That section seems sufficiently clear and should be able to handle any eventuality that might crop up when one person or a group of people, actively encourages others to become involved in a terrorist act and later, in some manner, that person becomes involved. “But wait”, you might ask, “how do you stop someone from actually carrying out the act.” The alleged VIA rail attack and the Tim Hortons Bombers (Toronto 18) are cases in point. What has always been available is Section 465 of the Criminal Code, that is “Conspiracy to Commit“. The full text is presented in the footer (2).

Over my thirty years of policing, we periodically investigated crimes that fell under the purview of both sections and in most cases we were able to interrupt the crimes before they were carried out. In those cases we charged the individuals with ‘conspiracy’ and the penalties applied upon conviction were the same as if the individuals had carried out the planned offence (e.g. murder, robbery, kidnapping, etc).  For those who might have counselled others to commit a particular crime (e.g. ask or hired someone to kill another person), they were scooped up and charged as if they were a perpetrator. If you watch the news or read a paper, you may have read of such cases.

Why is it when it comes to ‘terrorism’ various governments collectively wring their hands and complain that police and other enforcement agencies lack the tools to deal with specific individuals, with those who aid and abet terrorists and those who encourage others to commit a terrorist act? What is the explanation?  The answer is bundled up in the word “fear”.  Nothing is easier to sell than fear and every government and government agency gains power when people are led to fear something that is extremely remote such as terror, ebolla, etc.

In the present situation, clearly the government (and government agencies) need to justify the billions being spent on the War on Terror, a war that has been waged for nearly fifteen years and could conceivably continue for decades into the future if no one begins to explore alternatives. As every government and government group also needs to be seen as doing a good job, they need to create the right conditions and there is no more simple method than by spreading fear of terror.  You might note that in recent years, our War on Terror has largely replaced an earlier “War on Crime”.

Terror has become a multi-trillion dollar business around the world, yet in Canada and the Commonwealth, the United States and the countries of Europe, terrorist acts remain a relatively minor problem compared to other pressing issues of the day and terrorism is a very long way down the list. Yet, terrorism always seems to come out near the top.

The downside of all this – the more money spent on terror, the less there is available to spend on other pressing problems of the day (e.g. poverty, inequality, health care (including mental health), low income housing, assisting other countries in need, cleaning up the environment, etc.). The list of things we could do with all the money spent on fighting a war against terror, would go a long way towards improving conditions around the world that would make terrorism far less of an issue.

As for the latest media reports, a government spokesperson states the new legislation is “stopping short of criminalizing the glorification of terrorism” I suppose a for instance would be posting something on line that supported terrorism or of some terrorist in the act of committing a crime (e.g. that insane ISIS character).  Well, of course they better stop short of making it a crime to glorify acts of terrorism for it they did every media outlet across Canada would be in violation every day.

How many times have we been force fed videos and photos of those deranged masked individuals preparing to behead an innocent citizen.  Single images like that help the government more than a thousand words.  The problem, those images also act as the lifeblood of terrorists as it gives them a worldwide platform on which to spew their vile hatred and there will always be a few individuals who will be drawn to that image and what it represents.

That the media is an active partner in spreading terror will be discussed in the next article for, without that ongoing help of the media there would be considerably less terror in the world today. That would be a good starting point for re-directing our scare resources to those things which could really help making the world a more safe and secure place.


(1) The National Post Bold Headline this morning (January 30) “TORONTO JANE’S JIHAD REVEALED ONE TWEET AT A TIMEis accompanied by a large map of the Middle East. The sub-title is “Researchers follow terrorist sympathizer’s movements from Canada to Syria to Iraq”  Now this was no ordinary piece of University Research, but simply an article published by a group called TRAC (Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium). No names or research detail is provided. Given the content, it seems the ‘research’ originated within some National Security Organization that was tracking various individuals and this seemed like a good one to pass to the press via some third party organization. Read the article, you will see what I mean.

The “research” is nothing more than an Editorial written by someone and then re-capped by Stewart Bell an author who occasionally submits to the NP.   If you take the time to read the full Post article, as well as other articles on page A4, you will also discern the reason this played out today, that being, “polls on terror show government has support”.   Today is the day the Conservatives are introducing more, bold new anti-terrorist legislation.

(2)   Conspiracy to Commit: I encourage you to take a few moments to read the full text and make your own determination as to whether you think a whole series of new laws is needed to deal with “terrorists”.

465. (1) Except where otherwise expressly provided by law, the following provisions apply in respect of conspiracy:

(a) every one who conspires with any one to commit murder or to cause another person to be murdered, whether in Canada or not, is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to a maximum term of imprisonment for life;
(b) every one who conspires with any one to prosecute a person for an alleged offence, knowing that he did not commit that offence, is guilty of an indictable offence and liable
(i) to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years, if the alleged offence is one for which, on conviction, that person would be liable to be sentenced to imprisonment for life or for a term not exceeding fourteen years, or
(ii) to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years, if the alleged offence is one for which, on conviction, that person would be liable to imprisonment for less than fourteen years;
(c) every one who conspires with any one to commit an indictable offence not provided for in paragraph (a) or (b) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to the same punishment as that to which an accused who is guilty of that offence would, on conviction, be liable; and
(d) every one who conspires with any one to commit an offence punishable on summary conviction is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

 (2) [Repealed, 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), s. 61]

Conspiracy to commit offences

(3) Every one who, while in Canada, conspires with any one to do anything referred to in subsection (1) in a place outside Canada that is an offence under the laws of that place shall be deemed to have conspired to do that thing in Canada.

(4) Every one who, while in a place outside Canada, conspires with any one to do anything referred to in subsection (1) in Canada shall be deemed to have conspired in Canada to do that thing.

(5) Where a person is alleged to have conspired to do anything that is an offence by virtue of subsection (3) or (4), proceedings in respect of that offence may, whether or not that person is in Canada, be commenced in any territorial division in Canada, and the accused may be tried and punished in respect of that offence in the same manner as if the offence had been committed in that territorial division.

Appearance of accused at trial

(6) For greater certainty, the provisions of this Act relating to

(a) requirements that an accused appear at and be present during proceedings, and

(b) the exceptions to those requirements, apply to proceedings commenced in any territorial division pursuant to subsection (5).

Where previously tried outside Canada

(7) Where a person is alleged to have conspired to do anything that is an offence by virtue of subsection (3) or (4) and that person has been tried and dealt with outside Canada in respect of the offence in such a manner that, if the person had been tried and dealt with in Canada, he would be able to plead autrefois acquit, autrefois convict or pardon, the person shall be deemed to have been so tried and dealt with in Canada.


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Comments (3)

  • December 17, 2015 at 10:04 pm |

    I agree, the media has, can and does provide platforms for terrorists and criminals alike. These days terrorists use the media like marketing and recruiting tools. On the other hand, who can forget the role the media played in turning John Gotti, into a.k.a. the “Teflon Don” or the “Dapper Don” a celebrity.

    • Harold McNeill
      December 27, 2015 at 10:37 pm |

      Thanks for the comment Danny. I am hoping that with a new government in place our country can role back the terror laws and refocus our efforts in a manner that will produce greater benefit for people in Canada and around the world. Regards, Harold

Leave a comment



  • Harold McNeill

    August 16, 2019 |

    Many thanks for reviewing the article Elizabeth. There are so many areas of our society in which populism carries the day, although I think what is happening with the ICBC is that groups having a vested interest in private insurance would dearly love to dislodge ICBC from their preferred position. That being said, I think was a good move to have only portions of the insurance coverage in BC being held by ICBC and other portions being made available through private enterprise.

  • Elizabeth Mary McInnes, CAIB

    August 15, 2019 |

    It’s a breath of fresh air to see a resident of British Columbia look to review all the facts over believing what is reported in the news or just following along with the negative stigma of the masses. Your article truly showcases that with a little reform to ICBC’s provincial system – British Columbia could be a true leader for other provinces in Canada. Very well written article!

  • Harold McNeill

    August 13, 2019 |

    August 13, 2019. The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), a private enterprise group not unlike the Fraser Institute, is again on the campaign trail. They state ICBC rates are the highest in Canada, but, thankfully, Global BC inserted a section indicating the Insurance Bureau cherry-picked the highest number in BC and the lowest numbers in AB, ON and other Eastern Provinces. If you take a few minutes to check reliable sources you will find BC rates, are the lowest in Canada.

  • Andrew Dunn

    May 14, 2019 |

    Thank you so much for all your help thus far Harold, aka. Tractor guy! I could not have done without you!

  • Harold McNeill

    April 25, 2019 |

    I find it interesting to contemplate how a small community evolves in general isolation from the rest of the world. We have a similar situation in the northern communities in Canada to which access is limited. The inclusion of the world wide web and mass media has changed things, but these communities are still left pretty much to their own devices when it comes to personal interaction.

  • Harold McNeill

    March 19, 2019 |

    Hi Dave. Not that I am aware and I have a fairly comprehensive family tree for the McNeill side of the family. I will pull it up and scan. Cheers, Harold. Great chatting with you and I will give Ben a nudge.

  • Dave Cassels

    March 16, 2019 |

    Were you related to Guy McNeill who owned the Bruin Inn in St. Albert in the late 40’s or early 50’s? Guy was a close friend of my father-in-law who was the first President of the Royal Glenora Club. My phone number is 780 940 1175. Thank you.

  • Harold McNeill

    March 15, 2019 |

    So glad you found the story and enjoyed. Indeed, they were memorable times. I did a fair amount of searching but never managed to contact any of the Murffit kids. However, it was neat to make contact with the Colony and someone I knew from back in the day. I have enjoyed writing these stories from back in the 1940s and 50s and have made contact with a lot of friends from those early years. I will give you a call over the weekend. Cheers, Harold

  • Yvonne (Couture) Richardson

    March 7, 2019 |

    I enjoyed your story. I too, lived in Pibroch in 1951, as my parents owned the hotel there. I was a very close friend of Bonnie Murfitt at the time. I moved to Edmonton in 1952, however, and have not seen her since. I would like to be in touch with you to talk about your story. My email is listed above and my phone number is 780-475-3873.

  • Laureen Kosch/Patry

    March 5, 2019 |

    I grew up in Pibroch and would not trade those years for anything. “ Kids don’t know how to play anymore” Never was a truer statement made. During the summer we were out the door by 8am, home for lunch, and back when it got dark. For the most part our only toys were our bikes and maybe a baseball mitt. I will never forget the times when all the kids got together in “Finks field” for a game of scrub baseball. Everybody was welcome, kids from 8 to 18. I didn’t know it then but I guess I had a childhood most dream of. Drove thru town last summer. It all looked a lot smaller.