Supreme Court Upholds Terrorism Definition in R. v. Khawaja case

December 17, 2012 | By: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) Mark Blumberg
Topics: What's New from the Charities Directorate of CRA, Canadian Charity Law

On December 14th, 2012, the Supreme Court of Canada delivered its ruling in the case of R. v. Khawaja, 2012 SCC 69.  Much of this case centered on whether the Criminal Code of Canada definition of “terrorist activity” was constitutional.  According to s. 83.01(1) of the Criminal Code, a “terrorist activity” is an act or omission committed in whole or in part “for a political, religious or ideological purpose, objective or cause”.  Some in the legal community had suggested that this definition of terrorism was unconstitutional.  Nevertheless, all seven Supreme Court justices who heard R. v. Khawaja held that the Criminal Code definition of terrorism was constitutional.

Writing for the seven justices, Chief Justice McLachlin noted that:
“Only individuals who go well beyond the legitimate expression of a political, religious or ideological thought, belief or opinion, and instead engage in one of the serious forms of violence — or threaten one of the serious forms of violence — listed in s. 83.01(1)(b)(ii) need fear liability under the terrorism provisions of the Criminal Code.”

The Supreme Court’s entire ruling can be found at:

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Charity Lawyer Mark Blumberg

Mark Blumberg is a partner at the law firm of Blumberg Segal LLP in Toronto and works almost exclusively in the areas of non-profit and charity law.
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