RCMP

Breaking: BC Liberal Political Donation Scandal Investigated by RCMP

BC Liberal political donation scandal investigated by RCMP

Elections BC will refer its ongoing investigation into potentially illegal political donations made to the BC Liberals to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, British Columbia’s Chief Electoral Officer, Keith Archer announced Friday.

This investigation has been referred to ensure that it will in no way impede Elections BC’s administration of the provincial general election scheduled for May 9,” an Elections BC bulletin states.

This referral will also ensure that there is no perception that Elections BC’s ability to administer the general election in a fair, neutral and impartial manner is in any way compromised. Tweet: “The scope & timing of this matter make RCMP the most appropriate to continue this investigation.” http://bit.ly/2ngOkx1 #bcpoli #BCelxn17The potential scope and timing of this matter make the RCMP the most appropriate agency to continue this investigation.”

What's More Worrying? Bill C-51 or the Fact That So Many People Don't Know What's In It?

Far more disturbing than what’s in Bill C-51 is the fact that most Canadians don’t seem to care about it. I don’t know if they’re scared, or uninformed, or think Earth will soon be knocked off its axis by a rogue planet sending us all hurtling into the sun so nothing matters anyway. In any case, here are a few reminders.

Free speech is important. Once you allow speech you don’t like to be criminalized, you’re allowing the government to create a list of illegal ideas. That list will expand no matter which party is in power. Once a state outlaws a few kinds of speech, it gets all jacked up and has to keep that buzz going and before you know it they’ve snorted up a whole pile of them and have you cornered at a party talking your ear off about politics.

DeSmogCAST 12: Canada's Anti-Terrorism Bill, Who it Targets and How it Helps Kinder Morgan

Bill C-51, anti-terrorism, RCMP, Kinder Morgan

This weekend thousands of Canadians marched against the Conservative government's proposed anti-terrorism bill C-51. In this episode of DeSmogCAST we take a close look at the proposed legislation and discuss how it relates to the recently-leaked RCMP intelligence report that names pipeline opponents and First Nations “violent anti-petroleum extremists.” Keith Stewart, climate and energy campaigner with Greenpeace Canada, discusses the significance of the internal intelligence report and Greenpeace's role in its release.

We also take a look at Kinder Morgan's secretive behaviour in the Trans Mountain pipeline review and how anti-terrorism laws meant to protect 'critical infrastructure' like pipelines may benefit oil, gas and pipeline companies unwilling to disclose information to the public.

DeSmogBlog contributor Farron Cousins hosts this episode and is joined by Greenpeace's Keith Stewart, DeSmog Canada's Emma Gilchrist, and yours truly.

Let’s Not Sacrifice Freedom Out Of Fear

burnaby mountain, zack embree, C-51, RCMP, David Suzuki

This is a guest post by David Suzuki

A scientist, or any knowledgeable person, will tell you climate change is a serious threat for Canada and the world. But the RCMP has a different take. A secret report by the national police force, obtained by Greenpeace, both minimizes the threat of global warming and conjures a spectre of threats posed by people who rightly call for sanity in dealing with problems caused by burning fossil fuels.

CSIS “Can Neither Confirm Nor Deny” Spying on Me (Or You For That Matter)

When I asked the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) whether it has files on me or DeSmog Canada, I got a response that's been used as a non-answer by government spokespeople and celebrity publicists for 40-plus years: We can “neither confirm nor deny” the records exist.

The intelligence body doesn't have to disclose such information because it's exempt from Canada’s Access to Information legislation since it relates to “the detecting, preventing or suppressing subversive or hostile activities.”

Hmph. Some part of me was expecting them to simply say “no.” While non-denial denial responses like this are pretty par for the course when dealing with intelligence services — the phrase was first conjured up during a clandestine CIA submarine operation in the 1970s — it's disconcerting in light of the federal government’s proposed anti-terrorism bill C-51, which would increase the powers of CSIS and its role in government-sponsored spying.

As others have pointed out, bill C-51 will allow dangerously strong measures to be taken against even perceived terror threats or individuals that pose a threat to Canada’s critical infrastructure, such as pipelines, or the nation’s financial security.

LEAKED: Internal RCMP Document Names “Violent Anti-Petroleum Extremists” Threat to Government and Industry

An internal Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) document (provided in full below) warns “violent anti-petroleum extremists” driven by an “anti-petroleum ideology” pose a criminal threat to Canada’s oil and gas industry. The document, reported on today by the Globe and Mail, reveals growing concern within the RCMP about opponents of pipelines or fracking and “violent aboriginal extremists,” suggesting they have the ability to incite criminal activity across the country.

Yet representatives from Canada’s broad environmental movement say the document is another example of the Harper government’s efforts to criminalize legitimate civil dissent such as peaceful climate activism and pipeline opposition.

The document, a Critical Infrastructure Intelligence Assessment report from early 2014 originally obtained by Greenpeace, provides “intelligence and/or information” that “may be used to assist in the protection of Canada’s [critical infrastructure],” such as pipelines and other oil and gas infrastructure. In recent years, discussion of Canada’s critical infrastructure (CI) has shifted from a focus on digital and electricity networks to energy-related infrastructure.

The RCMP intelligence report suggests growing opposition movements against pipelines should be seen and treated as criminal security threats although groups mentioned in the report are quick to point out the document fits into a much larger strategy, led by the Harper government, to beat back pipeline or oilsands opponents.

This is absolutely the criminalization of peaceful protest,” Keith Stewart from Greenpeace Canada, one of the groups named in the document, said.

Pipelines and the Erosion of the National Energy Board’s Credibility

burnaby mountain, protest, kinder morgan

This is a guest post by Karen Campbell, Ecojustice staff lawyer.

The dramatic events unfolding on Burnaby Mountain — where more than 100 protestors have been arrested and charged with civil contempt — has turned a white-hot spotlight on Kinder Morgan’s proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and the National Energy Board (NEB). And both parties are looking a little worse for wear.

Between injunctions and arrests, the furor over Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project has suddenly surpassed that other pipeline, Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline, in terms of controversy. You will recall that despite vociferous opposition from most First Nations and northern B.C. communities, the federal government approved Northern Gateway in June 2014. That approval is now the subject of dozens of legal challenges, including three applications filed by Ecojustice lawyers on behalf of our clients.

We are just one-third of the way through the Kinder Morgan project review, and frustration with the NEB’s stripped-down process — a product of federal environmental law rollbacks tucked into the 2012 budget bill — is steadily mounting, and may have serious implications for other projects, namely TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline.

The Wars At Home: What State Surveillance of an Indigenous Rights Campaigner Tells Us About Real Risk in Canada

This is a guest post by Shiri Pasternak.

Recent revelations that the RCMP spied on Indigenous environmental rights activist Clayton Thomas-Muller should not be dismissed as routine monitoring. They reveal a long-term, national energy strategy that is coming increasingly into conflict with Indigenous rights and assertions of Indigenous jurisdiction over lands and resources.

A “Critical Infrastructure Suspicious Incident” report was triggered by Thomas-Muller’s trip in 2010 to the Unist’ot’en camp of Wet’suwet’en land defenders, where a protect camp was being built on the coordinates of a proposed Pacific Trails pipeline.

CSIS Involvement in Enbridge Hearings Makes National News

When I sat down Tuesday night to put some thoughts on paper about allegations of spying on Canadian environmental and pro-democracy groups, I never imagined those musings would end up being read by tens of thousands of people and spawn news coverage across the country.

But that’s exactly what happened. In my original piece, I lamented that the story wasn’t being covered by traditional news outlets — but within a couple of days the Globe and Mail, Metro, Sun News, the Victoria Times Colonist and CBC had picked up on the story. The National Energy Board, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), several politicians and Alberta’s energy minister all commented on the spying allegations.

On Monday morning, I did three CBC Radio interviews — here's a clip of me discussing the spying allegations on Daybreak North.

I’ve spent much of the past week brushing up on the ins and outs of surveillance, speaking to lawyers, reporters and trusted friends about the implications of the Vancouver Observer’s report.

Here are answers to the three most pressing questions raised by this news.

#MIKMAQBLOCKADE: RCMP Respond to First Nations Fracking Protest with Arrests, Snipers

#miqmakblockade

The RCMP responded to a First Nation’s protest against shale gas fracking in New Brunswick with arrests and pepper spray this morning. Reports from the clash show images of a highly-militarized police response to the blockade along Route 134 near Rexton, N.B. in front of a compound belonging to SWN Resources, a Houston-based company that recently performed seismic testing, a precursor to fracking, in the area.

The Elsipogtog Mi’kmaq First Nation has been protesting the development of the region’s shale gas resources for months. In June, the RCMP responded to the lighting of a sacred fire with arrests. Today, a reported 75 officers responded to the peaceful blockade to enforce an injunction, sending 10 officers in military fatigues with sniper rifles. Watch a video of the morning's events on this feed.

Elsipogtog councilor Robert Levi reported that “dozens” of people have been targeted with pepper spray. “The chief was manhandled a little bit and all hell broke loose,” he said.

Chief Arren Sock, pictured below, was apparently in custody, but according to Postmedia News, RCMP Const. Julie Rogers-Marsh could not confirm if any arrests have been made. *Update: Postmedia News is reporting that at least 40 arrests have been made.

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