The BC Civil Liberites Association (BCCLA) has filed complaints against both the RCMP and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) which allege the agencies illegally spied on peaceful activities of opponents to the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline project.
In a release sent out this morning, the BCCLA say the agencies’ alleged actions “interfered with the freedom of expression, assembly and association protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms by gathering intelligence about citizens opposed to the Enbridge project through a range of sources.”
“It’s against the law and the constitution for police and spy agencies to spy on the lawful activities of people who are just speaking out and getting involved in their communities. That’s why we have filed these complaints,” said Josh Paterson, Executive Director of the BCCLA, in a release. “This is bigger than an environmental debate – it’s a question of fundamental human rights. 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, and when it does, it can frighten people away from expressing themselves and participating in democratic debate.”
On specific incident mentioned in the release involves a volunteer meeting in the basement of a Kelowna church where people from Dogwood Initiative and LeadNow.ca were gathering.
The incidents in BCCLA’s complaints were revealed following an access to information request filed by Matthew Millar of the Vancouver Observer, BCCLA says.
They say they do not know if surveillance was conducted through wiretaps or other means.