I'll let the legal scholars dive further into this, but just had to comment.
Really. Do we want vigilante justice?
Remember, the law already acquitted Mr. Chen of any wrong-doing in protecting his restaurant. In other words, our legal system (much maligned by the Conservatives) DID ITS JOB. It worked.
So why the Harper "show-boating"? Well, hoping to find votes in Toronto for one.
But, there is another, more hidden agenda at work here. It's not about law and order. It's a hidden wish that more Canadians would take justice into their own hands. Forget reducing crime (their methods fail at that), this is a wish by the Conservatives to have an armed electorate - very much like the US electorate.
They will also - keep in mind - keep up their fight for reduced firearm regulations. They keep partying with the NRA crowd. They want (and love) the "Wild West" mentality. "Hanging sheriffs" will be next - Harper's already began musing publicly about bringing back the death penalty.
Many support Chen's handling of the theft at this store. Still, given different circumstances, and different actors, this drama may have played out MUCH uglier. Public lives are in danger. Imagine, a purse theft at a ball game. Imagine a gang of players with bats chasing down the villian. Imagine a little kid getting in the way of the swinging bats (or fists)?
Are members of the public trained to handle such situations? Should we hope that members of the public jump up and do battle with masked bank robbers?
I cringe at the day when we see Prairie bumper stickers with "protected by Smith & Wesson", and find that they really mean something. It's bad enough that every self-proclaimed gun-lovin' redneck feels they have to have one, or the "trespassers will be shot" signs along with the de rigueur "Pitt Bull On Duty" signage.