Mounties target environmentalists in secret memo

Royal Canadian Mounted Police, also commonly known as Mounties. Creative Commons: bitMiner, 2004

Royal Canadian Mounted Police, commonly known as the Mounties. Creative Commons: bitMiner, 2004

A leaked report overrun with “highly charged language” hints that environmentalists could face further surveillance under Canada’s new anti-terrorism legislation.

Reflecting “the government’s hostility toward environmental activists, the thinly veiled intelligence assessment reveals that the RCMP, Canada’s national police force, is building a case against such activism, arguing that the “anti-petroleum movement” threatens national security under the proposed Bill C-51.

With support from the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS), this legislation would allow the federal government to collect information on any “activity that undermines the security of Canada,” including any deemed threats to the country’s economic or financial stability.  According to this report, “activist groups, indigenous groups, environmentalists and others who are publicly critical of government policy” are considered “multi-issue extremist” threats to the federal government.

Freda Huson, spokesperson of the Unist’ot’en clan said:

“Even though we’re being peaceful, they’re trying to call us extremists. It’s probably their way to try and legitimize forcibly removing us from our home.”

Paul Champ, a civil liberties lawyer, is fearful of the implications this bill may have on wider communities. He said:

“With respect to Bill C-51, I and other groups have real concerns it is going to target not just terrorists who are involved in criminal activity, but people who are protesting against different Canadian government policies.”

The report cites documents produced by oil lobbyists, and makes claims that fossil fuels are only “reportedly” linked to greenhouse gas emissions in spite of the overwhelming scientific evidence backed by the international community.

In stark contrast to the Harper administration’s approach, neighbouring US President Barack Obama cited the threats of climate change as a national security issue during his State of the Union address, noting that vulnerable communities risk suffering from the worst of its impacts.

Alberta tar sands, which lie at the heart of the government-backed oil industry, are currently Canada’s fastest growing source of rising greenhouse gas emissions.

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