RCMP and CSIS accused of spying on pipeline opponents
The B.C. Civil Liberties Association has filed complaints against the RCMP and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, saying the law enforcement agencies may have illegally spied on opponents of pipelines and then shared the intelligence information with the petroleum industry.
The group has asked the Security Intelligence Review Committee and the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP to investigate the situation.
“What we’re hoping here is to find out more about what’s happened,” Josh Paterson, executive director of the BCCLA, said Thursday at a news conference in Vancouver.
Attending the conference were representatives of two environmental groups, ForestEthics Advocacy and Dogwood Initiative, and the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs.
The groups say they’ve discovered the spying activities potentially included illegal searches, and that CSIS broke the law by gathering information on peaceful and democratic activities of Canadians.
Mr. Paterson alleges the spying activities include illegal searches of private information, and he says some of the details were shared with oil and energy companies and the National Energy Board.
Mr. Paterson says it’s illegal for police and spy agencies to gather information on the activist groups, as none of them pose any threat to public safety or energy board hearings.
“It’s a question of fundamental human rights,” said Mr. Paterson in a news release. “There are plenty of undemocratic countries where governments spy on people that they don’t agree with. That’s not supposed to happen in Canada.”
Ben West, campaign director of ForestEthics Advocacy said speaking out about environmental issues is part of the democratic process.
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, said he was “shocked and disgusted” by the activity.
The allegations stem from an access to information request filed by online publication the Vancouver Observer last November.
Some of the information gathered by the agencies included reports about activists meeting in a Kelowna, B.C., church basement. Mr. Paterson says the documents suggest Mounties mostly gathered information through open sources such as websites, but it’s unclear what CSIS’s involvement was.
Posted on February 6, 2014, in Oil & Gas, State Security Forces and tagged B.C. Civil Liberties Association, Canadian Security Intelligence Service, csis, RCMP, surveillance, surveillance of pipeline opponents. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.