A private member's bill set for debate Thursday in Ottawa would make it a crime to cover your face with a mask or other means during a riot.

The bill by Conservative MP Blake Richards was introduced in the House of Commons last month and is set to be debated for the first time. It seeks to amend the Criminal Code to make it an offence to wear a mask, or otherwise disguise or conceal one’s identity during riots or unlawful assemblies.

“When trouble starts, people intent on criminal activity depend on being able to 'mask up' to conceal their faces with bandanas, balaclavas or other means to avoid being identified and being held accountable for their actions,” Richards said in a statement last month when the bill was tabled. “Wearing a mask in these circumstances is an aggravating factor for their behaviour that should be reflected in the law."