The Instigator
TruthfulSophist
Con (against)
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The Contender
arturo
Pro (for)
Winning
2 Points

We should abolish the crime of treason in Canada

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/3/2010 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,680 times Debate No: 13898
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (1)

 

TruthfulSophist

Con

Hello everyone and as there has been some controversy over the crime of treason, I have chosen this side to reaffirm the stance that the law against the crime of treason is not only good, but is also necessary for every nation to thrive, especially Canada. I base my case on the premise that the government, as an authority, needs to ensure that their power is sound and that national security is recognized as a uniquely important crime. I define the crime of treason right out of the code: Section 46 of the Criminal Code of Canada has two degrees of treason, called "high treason" and "treason." However, both of these belong to the historical category of high treason, as opposed to petty treason which does not exist in Canadian law. Section 46 reads as follows:
"High treason
(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.
Treason
(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."
It is also illegal for a Canadian citizen to do any of the above outside Canada.
The penalty for high treason is life imprisonment. The penalty for treason is imprisonment up to a maximum of life, or up to 14 years for conduct under subsection (2)(b) or (e) in peacetime.

With this definition in mind, I wish to elaborate on the first of my points: 1.) Strength of the Crime.

1.) What is the function of the crime of treason? The problem it is trying to solve is really, the magnitude of harm that this crime does. Without this crime, the legal field is failing in its duty to enact a law that shows the harm of the crime. When a person willfully preforms treason, he does not simply kill a person, or infringe on privacy. What he does is kill a leader and release national secrets. This act places the nations in dire stress and chaos and allows foreign nations to take advantage of the situation. Let's look at an example: A man in 2012 goes and assassinates the Queen of England. This assassination plunges the nation into chaos, with social distress, economic downturn, etc. It also demeans the authority of the government. Does not this extraordinary crime surpass the crime of a single person affecting another person? The Queen's life, reputation and authority allow a nation to progress in stability and her death therein, affect it very badly. This person did not only kill a person; he severely injured society. Thus, the law to properly punish this crime must be equally unique wherein a special law is enacted to allow the prosecution to acknowledge the magnitude of the crime and deal out reciprocation dutifully. The crime of treason must never be abolished.

This side stands affirmed.
arturo

Pro

Hello everyone, to my knowledge I recognize that the only time law of treason was actually used in North America was in the U.S. in the mid 20th century. My opponent has failed to argue for the immediate necessity for the crime of treason in Canada and I will be taking the angle - that the crime of treason is no longer relevant to Canadian society - to oppose the resolution set before us today.

I would like to make a note of two things first of all before I begin
1) My opponent has given a convoluted and closed definition for the debate. Certainly I realize that the case before us whether not treason ought to be abolished in CANADA but I don't understand why 80% of my opponents point is to define treason in every single matter possible.

2) My opponent has given us a particular argument for treason. Nor has he shown any relevant examples of treason today. My opponent produced the hypothetical of the Queen of England assassination in 2012 and deduced an obscure conclusion from this. To ensure an honest and interesting debate, I will do my best to take what I can from this point and rebuttal it in full.

And so to begin, for my part of the debate I will examine the definition my opponent has put forth. I will then be introducing 2 points of my own:
1) I PLEDGE ALLEGIENCE TO (examining the decline in national patriotism and the growth in allegiences to other communal bodies - ie religion - which are in direct conflict with nations)
2) SILENT NO MORE (examining the benefits of treason in modern cases)

To close off, I will examine what my opponent has said and we will see whether or not this still supports his case.

And so to begin - to examine what my opponent has said in regards to the crime of treason.

It is difficult to discern what has been said in his one and only argument. His only example is in regards to the killing of the Queen. However, I would like to point out that the Queen of England has very little political influence and hold over the Canadian government & society. Certainly to take treasonous action against the Queen would have an impact on not only Canada but the whole world - however, this is of no special nature to the governing body at all. The Queen's life, reputation & authority has no relation in the progress of our nation. My opponent has done very little to illustrate this and I will point out that the only way the Queen of England has any impact on Canadian society at all is through the representation of a Governor General. I would like to ultimately summarize that what my opponent has said is mute, irrelevant and has not made a substantial case for the crime of treason.

Now on to my two points
================================
1) I PLEDGE ALLIEGENCE TO
================================

What this point is really trying to get at is where our allegiences TODAY lie. Do we have that same national fervor that exists decades ago or is it slowly fading away in a world of increasing globalization and fading between national cultures. Especially in a society as multicultural as Canada, it's difficult to see a strong Canadian patriotism. Canada prides itself on its citizens having their own particular cultural fervor as opposed to the melting pot of the USA. What does this mean for treason?

Well, in the interesting case of modern times (and the current war in Afghanistan), many Canadian citizens are Muslim citizens. They have a full right to be as mandated by Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms. However, there is a potential cross between the two. One the one hand, these citizens are Canadian, on the other hand, their religious allegiances are to Islam. If Canada and the Middle East were to go into direct conflict, would it be just to commit treason against an Islamic individual whose religious allegience is granted by the very government trying to put the individual on trial?

If the Canadian government gives religious rights to these individuals but decides to take them away at her will in order to pursue a cause that ultimately benefits the Canadian government & not the individual then this is a poor outlook on justice.

Thus, this point fleshes out the current weakness of the crime of treason. In modern times, there is little evidence for a strong patriotic allegience to Canada (much less to the Queen of ENGLAND). However, our own Charter of Rights & Freedoms grants us our ability to practice and pledge our own allegience to our religion. If these two come at a cross, who is really the one committing the treason (or betrayal)?

================================
2) SILENT NO MORE
================================
There are several modern cases where treason is a force for good in the world. The purpose of this point is to illustrate how "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" can be used as a force for truth & justice at the expense of betrayal and treason.

When Wikileaks published the Afghan war video of a U.S. Apache Helicopter shooting innocent civilians - it not only exposed the modus operandi of how the US operated in the Middle East but also exposed the truth about what happened to those reporters.

Is this a treasonous example? By my opponents definition, the whistleblower revealed to the enemy (and the rest of the world) sensitive military information - thus it is in accordance with the definition.

Should the whistleblower be tried for the crime? What is the purpose of trial - to serve justice. However, had it not been for the whistleblower who revealed to us these videos, the families who suffered for the deaths of these reporters would not have been able to serve justice on those responsible - namely the US government. Whistleblowing as an example of treason really puts the crime of treason at odds with serving justice. If the purpose of our courts is to be just, then for the individuals who do use treason as a force for good (whistleblowing truth rather than allowing our States to propagandize the war to be in our favor and under our control) then why try them for it? Thus, for this point, because treason can be used as a force for good - to show truth & to serve real justice - treason shouldn't be considered a crime.

================================
SUMMARY
================================

For this round, I have substantially rebutted my opponent's one and only point. I have also brought forth two arguments that undermine the validity of the crime of treason (which in turn support the motion to abolish it as a form of law).

These two arguments involved the observation of a growing globalization in the world and an apparent multiculturalism in Canada. I thus concluded that if a culture were at odds with Canada (a culture permitted to exist by the Canadian Charter of Rights & Freedoms) then who is committing the treason - is it not Canada who is betraying the citizens right to allegience to their religion/culture?

I've also brought forth a case (Wikileaks Afghan War video of a US Apache helicopter shooting down innocent reporters - whose families couldn't take the US Gov. to court due to lack of evidence prior to this release) where treason (via whistle-blowing) is a force for good & therefore shouldn't be considered a crime.

It is with these points in mind that I proudly propose to abolish the crime of treason in Canada.

Vote Pro!
Debate Round No. 1
TruthfulSophist

Con

First of all, before I start with my arguments and rebuttals, i would like to clarify a few things.

Artur, instead of attacking the argument itself, attacked the example. Especially as it was used to illustrate how a leader's death can affect the followers. Obviously, I was not linking the Queen of England's death to Canada.
A convoluted and closed definition? As we are arguing about the crime of treason in Canada, I hardly think that a direct quote from the Canadian Code about the crime of treason is a big leap to make, as it is the very crime we are talking about. This debate is not closed whatsoever and I do not know why my opponent decided to spend a few lines attacking the definition.
Artur attacked me about not making the crime necessary and immediate. As I did not say that the crime must stay on sake of it being immediate, I believe that artur's basis is not really directly against mine, as it would necessarily mean he did not have to disagree with me on how treason is a bad thing and we need a crime to rectify it.

With these three points in mind, I am going to first, rebuild my points, delve into two other points, then rebut the opposition's two points.

1.) My point about the crime of treason and that from a legal perspective, the law must be there to adequately punish treason. I gave an example of how a leader's death, Queen of England, can affect the citizenry, England. I gave examples of how it could, going into economic downturn and social chaos. Obviously, I was not referring to the Queen's affect on Canada. My opponent attacked this example and supposedly, because the example is destroyed, the conclusion is flawed.
"It is difficult to discern what has been said in his one and only argument. His only example is in regards to the killing of the Queen. However, I would like to point out that the Queen of England has very little political influence and hold over the Canadian government & society. Certainly to take treasonous action against the Queen would have an impact on not only Canada but the whole world - however, this is of no special nature to the governing body at all. The Queen's life, reputation & authority has no relation in the progress of our nation. My opponent has done very little to illustrate this and I will point out that the only way the Queen of England has any impact on Canadian society at all is through the representation of a Governor General. I would like to ultimately summarize that what my opponent has said is mute, irrelevant and has not made a substantial case for the crime of treason."
As we can all see in this rebuttal, he has spent his whole point on his misconstruing the example and its applicability to Canada. Then let me give another example to illustrate this point that hopefully the opposition cannot misconstrue: Some kills the Prime Minister. As due to this death, just like as in previous examples of assassinations in the United States, the society is severely disturbed by it. Due to this, the very security of the nation is at stake. With this instability, the economy is hurt with people saving money. Just as in my first example, we can see that the leader's assassination affects more than just himself and the assassin. The law must fit the crime, and my opponent has not argued why this argument, not the example, is wrong. Thus, it still stands.

I would like to go into two points: The Immediacy of Treason and National Ties

a.) This point talks about how treason is an immediate danger and how it affects Canada detrimentally. As we all know, Canada is involved in a conflict in Afghanistan. With the advent of WikiLeaks and it's treasonous actions against
Canada, there is a problem of treasonous activity. Furthermore, where these leaks or breaches of security happen, they compromise the safety of the government. For example, with the leak about the comment against Iran, the international stage has been harmed. Even with this small leak about a Saudi Arabian comment to the U.S., Iran is now legitimizing its paranoia with the comment and in turn, boosting wartime preparation. Obviously, this compromises the safety of the world and of Canada, with rogue states having more precedent in which to attack our nation. As I based the case of "what is best for the government", treason is no small matter. As we now know treason is an immediate threat, the government cannot suddenly abolish a pertinent law.

Arturo talked about the conflict of identities; and it is exactly for that reason that treason should be considered a crime. With a multi-cultural society, there is less emphasis put on being a Canadian; on loyalty towards our government. Thus, treason also acts as a safety net; as a governmental support of national identity, on focusing on what binds us together as opposed to what separates us. If there is a conflict of national loyalties (or between religion; I will address this fallacious example in my rebuttal) then obviously, as the government of Canada, we want loyalty to ourselves and NOT towards another governing body. Why? I think it pretty simple. Less loyalty and less obedience towards us, means less authority over everyone. That is not good for our power and security as a government. Thus, treason is a way to unify and secure an importance of national identity.

REBUTTAL
Artur gave me a plethora of information to deal with in his arguments, and most (sad enough) rhetoric around the same point. Thus, I am going to skim off all the excess fat and go straight to rebut his main points.

In his first point, Artur enlightened us about the lack of national loyalty in today's age. We, again as the central government, want national loyalty, a trust in our ability to conduct the society's affairs. Without loyalty, there is a lack of security and unity in Canada. Artur has brought this problem, not answering the question of what is more important, the government or personal beliefs. Using a hypothetical, Artur then brought forth a "potential" conflict of interests, citing the Charter of Rights, guaranteeing the right to religion. Then he talked about Islam. First of all, Islam is not a political ideology, and a conflict in the Middle East that galvanized this person to support the Middle East would show loyalty to the Arab world. Besides that, his example again just brings up the question, not answering it. This side will answer it; for the charter to guarantee those rights to an individual, the country must first be there to give it. Now, if treason was allowed, I have proven in my points that it would severely hinder or even destroy that nation. Without the nation, there is no freedom. Again, he has not proven his position, merely raised an issue without firm analysis into WHY it supports his side. Hence, I think it is safe to say that the government would think that loyalty to itself it better than loyalty to some nationalist movement. That point falls.

In his second point, which I believe is much more substantial than his first, Artur talks about the moral decision of a person or group, like WikiLeaks, to spread information about the government. He believes that the truth (and he makes a jump at justice) is more important than betrayal and treason. One problem: he believes that these whistleblowers are really there to serve justice. There are better avenues in which to propagate this, and second, this was not a fair attack. They released all the documents to media outlets as opposed to, for example, engaging in prosecuting the government. If Artur really believes in justice, then at least permit a fair jury to find them guilty and not a media-biased perspective of what really happened. Second, the international backlash against these countries hurts their image and their authority (as explained in my second point with Iran). Really, the opp has to explain WHY this is bad for Canada's government.

As he has not, vote for the winner.
arturo

Pro

Thanks everyone, I hope you've been enjoying the debate so far.

I would like to first rebut what my opponent originally said, then I will look at his new arguments and rebut those, finally, I will post a new argument to support my side.

Firstly, in regards to the rebuilding of his first and only point in Round 1: "As we can all see in this rebuttal, he has spent his whole point on his misconstruing the example and its applicability to Canada. ". This is completely untrue. The rebuttal of the Queen as an example is COMPLETELY RELEVANT because PART OF YOUR DEFINITION uses the Queen as a primary condition of treason, "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;". Her Majesty is not just some abstract political figure but a direct reference to the Queen. This is why I think that your definition was bloated, convulated and completely unnecessary to be referenced in its strict legal terms. My opponent concedes this point in the following statement, "The Queen's life, reputation & authority has no relation in the progress of our nation. ". That is one part of your definition already conceded to my portion of the debate.

I'd also like to point out that treason is not murder as my partner defined. His examples primarily revolve around the assassination of a high-ranking official, "Some kills the Prime Minister.". This is NOT treason - therefore, these arguments do not apply. As my opponent said, "The law must fit the crime, and my opponent has not argued why this argument, not the example, is wrong." - however, the crime is NOT treason, it is MURDER - and if the individual is convincted of murder then the appropriate punishment for MURDER applies.

I will now go into rebutting my opponents two new points:

- The Immediacy of Treason
My opponent talked about Wikileaks (like myself). He said that they released many documents recently which compromised the security of the government.
1) Because my opponent is being very Canada-centric, I believe it is appropriate to demand how these document releases are applicable to Canada. These are U.S. documents which affect U.S. national security. What does this have to do with Canada? If it has nothing to do with Canada (and my opponent clearly did not provide us with any information that it does - he referred to the compromise of US security only) then there is no immediate threat of international threat - no immediate threat of treason and therefore no NEED for treason. In short, no problem no need.

2) Increased wartime preparation - My opponent has provided no evidence for this. Issues concerning Iran's nuclear arms program have been going on for years now [1] long before the release of the Wikileaks articles as my opponent shows.

- National Ties
The fact that there is a conflict of identities (this means that he conceded the point that Canada both supports multi-culturalism and thus ideologies behind the culture and national allegiance - which as I mentioned can be in direct conflict with each other) - justifies treason. "With a multi-cultural society, there is less emphasis put on being a Canadian; on loyalty towards our government." - The fact that Canada is a multi-cultural society is a defining characteristic of what Canada is. My opponent did not rebut the fact that Canada supports multi-culturalism within the social fabric of society. He instead says that we should stop being multi-cultural and be completely nationalistic under the euphemism and rhetoric of "national identity".

Rebuild - Lack of national loyalty
"Without loyalty, there is a lack of security and unity in Canada. Artur has brought this problem, not answering the question of what is more important, the government or personal beliefs.". I think this is an odd way to phrase what I have said. It's not just personal beliefs - but beliefs supported in Canada's charter of rights and freedoms: "(d) freedom of association." [2]. This has nothing to do with personal beliefs. This has to do with the fact that by supporting the crime of treason against government, they are contradicting themselves by allowing individuals to associate with whoever they want. My opponent said that I didn't say why treason is wrong, I thought it was very clear, so I will restate - Why shouldn't we put these individuals to trial who refuse to commit treason against their allegiances? Because it contradicts our very Charter of Rights & Freedoms - the foundation to Canadian Law.

- Treason through justice
"He believes that the truth (and he makes a jump at justice) is more important than betrayal and treason. One problem: he believes that these whistleblowers are really there to serve justice. There are better avenues in which to propagate this, and second, this was not a fair attack." My opponent has made the most ridiculous attack to a point that he believes "is much more substantial than his first". First, he says that there are better avenues to propagate this, he mentions the court of law.

But I will specifically reference Wikileaks and say that one of the most important releases, the Afghan War video that was made was one of the most integral pieces of evidence to serving justice for the families that suffered the death of their family members [3]. These individuals were falsely attacked, the people they were being attacked by were a democratic government. To release this video is treason (because it reveals tactical information of the location of Apache helicopters) but it was a key piece in delivering justice for these families. These families were rejected by court for lack of evidence. Two years later, the evidence (through whisteblowing) is given to them by the community - not the government - by people we would convict not by people we elect.

He also said that it wasn't a "fair attack". I don't understand what this means at all - my opponent did not back this point up at all. How should it possibly be a fair attack if there is no fair way of dealing with the issue. The courts refused justice through these individuals - it seems like this was the only alternative. Treason was justified in this case & it did serve truth and justice.

And of course it gives a bad image for these countries but is the serving of justice to these countries for barbarically murdering these reporters not worth it just for the image that is hurt by whisteblowing? Absolutely not. Governments are to serve and protect not to take power and abuse it. Treason defies government abuse and I'll go into that briefly next.

Treason Defies Government Abuse
As was shown in the Wikileaks example - treason can be used for the good. The purpose of law is for the good. A law that disallows something disallows it because it causes harm to society and individuals of society. If a prevention law can be demonstrated to cause good - it shouldn't be illegal to do it. If the government is abusing individuals, if democracy is refusing to acknowledge the issue and if your courts aren't serving you justice. If the people in power refuse to tell the truth - then treason is the only way. My partner just said betrayal, to go against government - this is treason. When should we go against government? When it goes against us, the people. The crime of treason is a "safety net" but for who? My opponent says the government, and I agree, but is it a safety net for the people? Absolutely not - especially when the people are refused the right to go against their government which they elect.

// SUMMARY
I have rebutted the opponents points, rebuilt my points & presented a new argument. In turn, I've effectively demonstrated why the crime of treason should be abolished.

For this, I urge you to VOTE PRO

// CITATION
[1] http://news.bbc.co.uk...
[2] http://laws.justice.gc.ca...
[3] http://www.collateralmurder...
Debate Round No. 2
TruthfulSophist

Con

As I have 2000 characters to write with, I will, in this last round, really clarify and crystallize the debate into major problems and show why CON clearly wins.

In my arguments, I have talked a lot about the reaction of the government and how the crime's abolition will lead to increased instability. Arturo sidesteps the question again and again and then, at the last minute, suddenly defines his position as that treason can be morally good for the citizens as it ensures that it can make sure the government is kept in line. As per the definition of treason and the "we" as the Canadian government, each argument must be traced back towards that treason is bad for Canada. My arguments continually deal with the reality that instability to the government (ie. treason detrimentally affects governmental authority by going against it) and how the special crime of treason deals with it well. My opponent believes that the crime of treason should be abolished and further argues that treason is good. To back up his examples, he cites WikiLeaks as a force of good. I cited how it hurts world affairs, the United States image, and now, new statements that compromise Canadian image. He attacked my lack of evidence (as I clearly could have done against him) but I assumed we were going on common knowledge. And no, when I said military preparation, I obviously was referring to increased military preparation in direct correlation to the President's statement. But none of that is important. What is important is realizing what each sides burdens were. My burden was to prove why treason is bad and the crime is needed. My opponent said treason was good and thus, the crime was not needed. He completely ignores my arguments regarding instability and attacks the examples not the spirit of the argument and then to support himself, cites one obscure example when treason can be seen as good. "Why shouldn't we put these individuals to trial who refuse to commit treason against their allegiances? Because it contradicts our very Charter of Rights & Freedoms - the foundation to Canadian Law." This rebuilding does not even solve the issue. He sidesteps my rebuttal which goes to the fabric; that without the survival of Canada, which he has still not proven that treason does not destroy it and he has directly denied, there can be no guarantee of anything. That our nation is the most important and that treason is a direct harm towards that. That is the crux of the debate.VOTE
arturo

Pro

Hello everyone once again. My opponent and I have agreed, in this final round, to make a brief summary and crystallization of the debate. My role will be to identify the major themes occurring throughout the debate and make the case for why PRO has ultimately won the debate.

My opponent has continuously repeated that I have not established a strong enough burden for my side of the case and have been ignoring the spirit of his arguments. I contest that I have done the exact opposite. In this debate, on the PRO side, I have deliberately chosen a unique approach. Firstly, I identified the modern trend towards globalization within countries and how our allegiances have changed. In these times, we've now established allegiances to things like religion & culture higher than our domestic national patriotism. When these come in conflict, treason becomes nullified and void in its lawful sense. A government that supports multi-culturalism as Canada does cannot also support a nationalistic crime such as treason - this is complete hypocrisy. Lastly, I've also made the case for why treason can do good and why for these cases especially, it cannot be treated as a crime. Wikileaks has aided justice immensely by releasing private war videos that provide evidence of the U.S. governments attacks on innocent civilians. In cases like these, we cannot ignore the reality of how treason can serve as an aid in justice, not an impediment of it.

On the contrary, my opponent has done little to prove the burden on his side. His cases mostly revolved around hypothetical situations which I've slowly deconstructed to be irrelevant. Even worse, his hypothetical revolved around the MURDER of high-ranking officials rather than treason against them (further weakening the case).

What this debate ultimately boils down to is what treating treason as a crime does to our nation. I have shown that it does no change to the current state of treasonous action in our society (lack of immediacy of the crime), that it divides what is currently a multi-cultural society (goes against the Charter of Rights & Freedoms) and that it ultimately impedes on the potentiality of treason as a force for justice in our society.

For this, I urge you to vote PRO.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by marker 6 years ago
marker
I'll read this + vote when I have the chance.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by arturo 6 years ago
arturo
TruthfulSophistarturoTied
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Total points awarded:02