This is a really messy question. Specifically the question came up in regards to the Harper government’s Climate Change policies, or lack thereof. Is an action that damages the country and the citizens of the country, treason?
Technically no. If you check the definition of treason in the Criminal Code of Canada, the definition of treason is far more narrow than that. When you read
OFFENCES AGAINST PUBLIC ORDER
Treason and other Offences against the Queen’s Authority and Person
46. (1) Every one commits high treason who, in Canada,
(a) kills or attempts to kill Her Majesty, or does her any bodily harm tending to death or destruction, maims or wounds her, or imprisons or restrains her;
(b) levies war against Canada or does any act preparatory thereto; or
(c) assists an enemy at war with Canada, or any armed forces against whom Canadian Forces are engaged in hostilities, whether or not a state of war exists between Canada and the country whose forces they are.
(2) Every one commits treason who, in Canada,
(a) uses force or violence for the purpose of overthrowing the government of Canada or a province;
(b) without lawful authority, communicates or makes available to an agent of a state other than Canada, military or scientific information or any sketch, plan, model, article, note or document of a military or scientific character that he knows or ought to know may be used by that state for a purpose prejudicial to the safety or defence of Canada;
(c) conspires with any person to commit high treason or to do anything mentioned in paragraph (a);
(d) forms an intention to do anything that is high treason or that is mentioned in paragraph (a) and manifests that intention by an overt act; or
(e) conspires with any person to do anything mentioned in paragraph (b) or forms an intention to do anything mentioned in paragraph (b) and manifests that intention by an overt act.
(3) Notwithstanding subsection (1) or (2), a Canadian citizen or a person who owes allegiance to Her Majesty in right of Canada,
(a) commits high treason if, while in or out of Canada, he does anything mentioned in subsection (1); or
(b) commits treason if, while in or out of Canada, he does anything mentioned in subsection (2).
(4) Where it is treason to conspire with any person, the act of conspiring is an overt act of treason.
R.S., c. C-34, s. 46; 1974-75-76, c. 105, s. 2.
47. (1) Every one who commits high treason is guilty of an indictable offence and shall be sentenced to imprisonment for life.
(2) Every one who commits treason is guilty of an indictable offence and liable
(a) to be sentenced to imprisonment for life if he is guilty of an offence under paragraph 46(2)(a), (c) or (d);
(b) to be sentenced to imprisonment for life if he is guilty of an offence under paragraph 46(2)(b) or (e) committed while a state of war exists between Canada and another country; or
(c) to be sentenced to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years if he is guilty of an offence under paragraph 46(2)(b) or (e) committed while no state of war exists between Canada and another country.
(3) No person shall be convicted of high treason or treason on the evidence of only one witness, unless the evidence of that witness is corroborated in a material particular by evidence that implicates the accused.
(4) For the purposes of Part XXIII, the sentence of imprisonment for life prescribed by subsection (1) is a minimum punishment.
R.S., c. C-34, s. 47; 1974-75-76, c. 105, s. 2.
48. (1) No proceedings for an offence of treason as defined by paragraph 46(2)(a) shall be commenced more than three years after the time when the offence is alleged to have been committed.
(2) No proceedings shall be commenced under section 47 in respect of an overt act of treason expressed or declared by open and considered speech unless
(a) an information setting out the overt act and the words by which it was expressed or declared is laid under oath before a justice within six days after the time when the words are alleged to have been spoken; and
(b) a warrant for the arrest of the accused is issued within ten days after the time when the information is laid.
R.S., c. C-34, s. 48; 1974-75-76, c. 105, s. 29.
The definition of Treason is a very narrow one. It is legal for the Prime Minister to cause tremendous damage to the country according to the criminal code.
Is this right?
I personally do not believe so. Consider the supposed Climate Change debate. A close investigation will reveal that it is not a debate. Instead it is an attempt by Fossil Fuel companies to sue confusion in the electorate, because if actions are taken to combat Climate Change, their profits will suffer. Any Prime Minister who damages the country, by working with the Fossil Fuel corporations against the citizens of the country, is guilty of Treason in my opinion.
I do not expect this to be a popular viewpoint. Both of the major opposition parties also depend upon corporate donations, and thus tend to be soft on Climate Change as well.
Sunday February 7, 2010