CSIS surveillance of pipeline protesters faces federal review
B.C. Civil Liberties Association alleges spy agency broke the law with its surveillance
CBC News, Aug 12, 2015
A federal committee is holding a hearing today into a complaint that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service illegally spied on peaceful anti-pipeline protesters in B.C., but the public may never know what went on behind closed doors.
The security intelligence review committee hearing will not be open to the public.
The complaint was filed by the B.C. Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) last year after media reports suggested that CSIS and other government agencies consider opposition to the petroleum industry a threat to national security.
BCCLA executive director Josh Paterson said CSIS documents have already revealed the agency had informants watching the All Native Basketball Tournament in Prince Rupert and church activists in Kelowna. He has questions about who else was targeted by the spy agency and why.
“How do they know who we were spying on, whose emails they were reading, whose phone calls they were listening to, whose meetings they were putting plants in to report back. And we hope to get to the bottom of it.”
The BCCLA complaint alleges that CSIS “broke the law by gathering information on the peaceful and democratic activities of Canadians, which it is banned by law from doing.”
The BCCLA also alleges that along with the RCMP, CSIS “illegally monitored and spied on the peaceful and democratic activities of community groups and First Nations opposed to the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline project. These groups include ForestEthics Advocacy, Dogwood Initiative, LeadNow.ca, the Idle No More movement, and others.”
Mary MacDonald, who helped organize anti-Enbridge protests in Prince George, said she refuses to be intimidated by the surveillance agency’s actions
“I have certainly thought about the possibility at times that I’m being spied on. But I’m not doing anything wrong, I’m being a concerned citizen, I’m speaking out, I’ve never broken the law, so I’m going to continue to do that.”
CBC News reached out to the security intelligence review committee for comment on the hearing but did not get a response.
In the past, CSIS has denied allegations that it acted illegally.
“While I cannot comment on specific complaints, what I can say is that CSIS investigates — and advises government on — threats to national security, and that does not include peaceful protest and dissent,” said CSIS spokeswoman Tahera Mufti in a statement issued in February 2014.
Posted on August 12, 2015, in Oil & Gas, State Security Forces and tagged anti-pipeline resistance, B.C. Civil Liberties Association, BCCLA, Canadian Security Intelligence Service, csis, Enbridge, surveillance. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.