Spies welcomed energy industry info about alleged threats, documents show

CSIS Sign

Newly disclosed documents show that  Canada's spy service routinely welcomed reports from the energy industry about perceived threats, and kept such information in its files in case it might prove useful later.

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service is supposed to retain only information that is ``strictly necessary'' to do its job, and it's now facing questions about whether it collected and hung on to material about groups or people who posed no real threat.

Details of the C-SIS practices are emerging in a case mounted by the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association in the Federal Court of Canada.

In a 2014 complaint to the C-SIS watchdog, the Security Intelligence Review Committee, the association alleged the spy service overstepped its legal authority by monitoring environmentalists opposed to Enbridge's now-abandoned Northern Gateway pipeline proposal.

It also accused C-SIS of sharing information about the opponents with the National Energy Board and petroleum industry companies, effectively deterring people from voicing their opinions and associating with environmental groups.

The review committee dismissed the civil liberties association's complaint in 2017, prompting the association to ask the Federal Court to revisit the outcome.