‘Advocating Terror’ to become a Crime

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

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

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  • Mike Fedorowich

    September 1, 2023 |

    I have gone through the above noted text and have found it quite informative.
    I am a former member with several law enforcement agencies from across Canada.
    I worked in the First Nations service under the authority of the RCMP with the over sight of the OPP. My law enforcement service was conducted under the authority of the Nishnawbe – Aski Police Service in North West Ontario the Louis Bull Police Sevice in Hobbema AB, the Kitasoo Xaixais Police Service in Northern in side passage on Swindle Island, the Lac Suel Police Service North West Ontario and the Vancouver Transit Authority Sky Train Police Service. I’m presently dealing with an RCMP member for falsifying a report against me for a road rage event. Court case is finished and the charge was dropped but I have an on going complaint with the member and have forwarded to the WATCH DOGS IN OTTAWA FOR the RCMP review and consideration. I believe the said officer is in violation of his oath of office and should be held accountable for falsifying his RTCC all the while dragging me through the court system here in Nanaimo. RCMP continue to stonewall the appeal but Ottawa and the crowns office are still looking into the matter. if your able and find the time or the interest in this very brief introduction, I would very much like to speak with you and would be grateful to hear any wisdom that may come across from your end. I served with First Nations Police Services for ten years in isolation and six years with Transit Police out of New West Minster. I do value and appreciate any time you could spare to chat for a bit on this particular subject matter. Respectfully with out anger but an open mind, Mike Fedorowich Nanaimo BC 250 667 0060

  • Harold McNeill

    February 28, 2022 |

    Hi Robert, I do remember some of those folks from my early years in Cold Lake (Hazel was my aunt and our family spent many fond times with Uncle Melvin, Aunt Hazel and Family. I knew Lawrence and Adrian. Having read a half dozen accounts it is clear their were many false narratives and, perhaps, a few truths along the way. I tried my best to provide an even account from what I read. Cheers, Harold. (email: Harold@mcneillifestories.com)

  • Robert Martineau

    February 25, 2022 |

    Its been a long time since any post here, but its worth a shot. My Grandfather was Hazel Wheelers brother Lawrence, and son to Maggie and Adrien. Maggie Martineau (nee Delaney) is my great grandmother. The books and articles to date are based on the white mans viewpoint and the real story as passed down by the Elders in my family is much more nefarious. Some of the white men were providing food for the Indians in exchange for sexual favors performed by the Squaws. Maggie was the product of one of those encounters. Although I am extremely proud of my family and family name, I am ashamed about this part of it.

  • Julue

    January 28, 2022 |

    Good morning Harold!
    Gosh darn it, you are such a good writer. I hope you have been writing a book about your life. It could be turned into a movie.
    Thanks for this edition to your blog.
    I pray that Canadians will keep their cool this weekend and next week in Ottawa. How do you see our PM handling it? He has to do something and quick!
    Xo Julie

  • Herb Craig

    December 14, 2021 |

    As always awesome job Harold. It seems whatever you do in life the end result is always the same professional, accurate, inclusive and entertaining. You have always been a class act and a great fellow policeman to work with. We had some awesome times together my friend. I will always hold you close as a true friend. Keep up the good work. Hope to see you this summer.
    Warm regards
    Herb Craig

  • Harold McNeill

    November 26, 2021 |

    Hi Dorthy, So glad you found those stories and, yes, they hold many fond memories. Thanks to social media and the blog, I’ve been able to get in touch with many friends from back in the day. Cheers, Harold

  • Harold McNeill

    November 26, 2021 |

    Well, well. Pleased to see your name pop up. I’m in regular contact via FB with many ‘kids’ from back in our HS days (Guy, Dawna, Shirley and others). Also, a lot of Cold Lake friends through FB. Cheers, Harold

  • Harold McNeill

    November 26, 2021 |

    Oh, that is many years back and glad you found the story. I don’t have any recall of others in my class other than the Murphy sisters on whose farm my Dad and Mom worked.

  • Harold McNeill

    November 26, 2021 |

    Pleased to hear from you Howie and trust all is going well. As with you, I have a couple of sad stories of times in my police career when I crossed paths with Ross Barrington Elworthy. Just haven’t had the time to write those stories.

  • Howie Siegel

    November 25, 2021 |

    My only fight at Pagliacci’s was a late Sunday night in 1980 (?) He ripped the towel machine off the bathroom wall which brought me running. He came after me, I grabbed a chair and cracked him on the head which split his skull and dropped him. I worried about the police finding him on the floor. I had just arrived from Lasqueti Island and wasn’t convinced the police were my friends. I dragged him out to Broad and Fort and left him on the sidewalk, called the cops. They picked him up and he never saw freedom again (as far as I know). I found out it was Ross Elworthy.