CSIS Accused of Improper Spying on Northern Gateway Protesters

Enbridge protest - Ter - 2013 - 1

Environmental groups say newly-disclosed documents prove that Canada's spy service overstepped its legal authority by monitoring environmentalists opposed to Enbridge's now-abandoned Northern Gateway pipeline proposal.

Dogwood BC's Alexandra Woodsworth  says the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (C-SIS) routinely spied on Canadians and shared information with the energy industry.

"The Canadian Government deploying its intelligence agency to spy on ordinary people -- these were grandparents meeting in church basements, they were friends and neighbours gathering around kitchen tables to prepare to raise their voices about very basic concerns they had about what this pipeline might mean to their community, to their coast and to the climate," she said.

But Meghan Mcdermott, with the BC Civil Liberties Association, says the documents are heavily blacked out and her group is demanding more information be released.

"These are the records we're calling the Protest Papers -- we're seeking to have the redactions removed; we're also challenging the gag order that remains in place four years later;  these Protest Papers, previously secret, appear to validate our original complaints against C-SIS," she said

The pipeline project, which would have transported bitumen from Alberta to the Pacific through Kitimat, was scrapped by the Trudeau government. 

Details of the C-SIS practices are emerging in a case mounted by the association in the Federal Court of Canada. 

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[CFTK-TV PHOTO:   Northern Gateway Protest -- Terrace 2013 -- Allison Bench

In a February 2014 complaint to the Security Intelligence Review Committee, the association alleged the spy service shared information about the pipeline opponents with the National Energy Board and petroleum industry companies, effectively deterring people from voicing their opinions and associating with environmental groups.