Canada’s spy service collected some details about peaceable anti-petroleum teams, however solely by the way within the strategy of investigating reputable threats to tasks equivalent to oil pipelines, says a long-secret federal watchdog report.

The newly disclosed report from the Safety Intelligence Overview Committee acknowledges issues a few “chilling impact,” stemming from a perception that the Canadian Safety Intelligence Service was spying on environmental organizations.


Advocacy and environmental teams Leadnow, the Dogwood Initiative and the Council of Canadians are talked about within the hundreds of pages of CSIS operational reviews examined by the overview committee.

However after analyzing proof and testimony, the committee concluded the fears of CSIS surveillance had been unjustified.

The closely censored overview committee report, accomplished final yr and saved underneath wraps, is simply now being made public due to the British Columbia Civil Liberties Affiliation’s problem of the findings within the Federal Courtroom of Canada.

READ MORE: Courtroom rejects secrecy bid in court docket case over alleged spying on anti-pipeline activists

Watch beneath: Some movies from International Information’ protection of opposition to pipelines.

In its February 2014 grievance to the CSIS watchdog, the affiliation alleged the spy service had overstepped its authorized authority by monitoring environmentalists against Enbridge’s now-defunct Northern Gateway pipeline proposal.

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It additionally accused CSIS of sharing this info with the Nationwide Vitality Board and petroleum trade firms, deterring folks from expressing their opinions and associating with environmental teams.

The overview committee’s dismissal of the grievance has been identified since September 2017, however a confidentiality order by the committee prevented the civil liberties affiliation from releasing the report. Because the affiliation fights to overturn the dismissal, redacted variations of the detailed findings and associated paperwork are being added to the general public court docket file.

The affiliation, which grew to become involved about CSIS actions by media reviews, informed the committee of a chilling impact for civil society teams from the spy service’s information-gathering in addition to feedback by then-national assets minister Joe Oliver denouncing “environmental and different radical teams.”

A CSIS witness testified the spy service “isn’t within the enterprise of investigating environmentalists as a result of they’re advocating for an environmental trigger, interval.”

Nonetheless, one other CSIS witness spoke of the necessity for “area consciousness” to establish “potential triggers and flashpoints” — partially to make sure the service is conscious of what’s occurring ought to a menace come up, the report says.

In the end, the overview committee concluded CSIS’s info assortment fell inside its mandate, and that the service didn’t examine actions involving lawful advocacy, protest or dissent. The report signifies that any info on peaceable teams was gathered “in an ancillary method, within the context of different lawful investigations.”

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The report additionally says there was no “direct hyperlink” between CSIS and the chilling impact teams talked about in testimony earlier than the committee.

The civil liberties affiliation considers a number of the findings contradictory, pointing to the 441 CSIS operational reviews deemed related to the committee’s inquiry, totalling over 2,200 pages.

As an example, one of many largely censored CSIS information, now disclosed by the court docket, says the reporting was additional to “the Service’s efforts in assessing the menace surroundings and the potential for threat-related violence stemming from (redacted) protests/demonstrations.”

One other refers back to the Dogwood Initiative as a “non-profit, Canadian environmental group that was established in 1999 ‘to assist communities and First Nations achieve extra management of the land and assets round them to allow them to be managed in a method that doesn’t rob future generations for short-term company achieve.”’

The passages earlier than and after the outline are blacked out.

“It’s our view that these paperwork show that CSIS was protecting tabs on these teams, even when they weren’t formal targets,” mentioned Paul Champ, a lawyer for the civil liberties affiliation.

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“However we preserve it’s illegal to maintain info on these teams in CSIS databanks when they’re solely responsible of exercising their democratic rights.”

The committee report says CSIS ought to overview its holdings to make sure it’s protecting solely info that’s strictly crucial, as spelled out within the regulation governing the spy service.

The report cites “clear proof” CSIS took half in conferences with Pure Assets Canada and the non-public sector, together with the petroleum trade, on the spy service’s headquarters, however says these briefings concerned “nationwide safety issues.”

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Watch beneath: Protection of protests and rallies held throughout Canada for and towards the Trans Mountain pipeline

The committee additionally concludes CSIS didn’t share info in regards to the environmental teams in query with the Nationwide Vitality Board or non-governmental members of the petroleum enterprise.

Even so, the notion of CSIS discussing safety points with the oil trade can “give rise to reputable concern,” the committee report provides. “This must be addressed.”

The committee urges CSIS to widen the circle of its public safety discussions to incorporate environmental and different civil society teams.



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