The RCMP has been spying on a group of British Columbia First Nations whose vocal opposition to Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline has taken them to the company’s annual shareholders meeting in Toronto, according to documents obtained through an access-to-information request.
The documents show that a provincial RCMP unit has been closely tracking the potential for “acts of protest and civil disobedience” by the Yinka Dene Alliance, a coalition of northern B.C. First Nations who have been at the centre of resistance to Enbridge’s $5.5 billion pipeline proposal.
Their territory covers a quarter of the route of the pipeline, which would carry more than 500,000 barrels of oilsands crude from Alberta through pristine territory to Kitimat, B.C., for export by supertanker to Asia and other markets.
The revelations add ammunition to critics who have charged that the Harper government is waging a campaign to demonize legitimate opponents of resource developments like the Northern Gateway, by labelling them as radicals or including them in Canada’s “counter-terrorism” strategy.
Tim Groves is a freelance journalist and investigative researcher based in Toronto. Martin Lukacs is a writer and organizer in Montreal.
- CSIS and me: What First Nation activities are NOT considered a potential threat to Canada?:
While it has been known for some time that Canada spies on our Indigenous leaders and community members who defend our lands, I don’t think most of us were aware that any First Nation advocate was a target.
- Harper government conducts surveillance of First Nations instead of resolving violations of Indigenous peoples’ rights:
The Defenders of the Land (DotL), a network of Indigenous Communities, on Tuesday condemned reports that in 2007, the Harper government established a national and international police surveillance network to spy on Indigenous Peoples and their supporters for defending Indigenous Peoples’ self-determination and land rights.
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