This weeks column for 24Hrs ( a day late) : ” No cause to spy on grannies.”
Sorry for the belated post- you’ll have missed out on voting this week if you didn’t get an actual paper or read online- but I was out of town until late yesterday in Whistler.
This week, Brent and I debated this question: ” Should law enforcement conduct surveillance on environmental activists to prevent extremism?”
Last week, news reports that 71-year-old Lesslie Askin was the subject of a national security investigation — as a result of taking photos for a presentation to the National Energy Board — had many questioning the actions of the RCMP.
Concerned about the condition of the tanks and wanting to share this in her presentation in opposition to the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion project, she headed out to the company’s Burnaby’s terminal and took photos. She didn’t trespass, nor did she break any laws, but her vehicle was reported to the RCMP by Kinder Morgan security.
Ironically, the tanks Askin photographed didn’t even belong to Kinder Morgan — she had unwittingly snapped pictures of Shell’s tanks, yet the company still made the call. More than a week later, members of the RCMP E-division Integrated National Security Enforcement Team showed up at her home to ask a few questions, much to her shock and surprise.
Askin now says she is worried she’ll be in the database forever as having been investigated as a potential terror suspect.
This comes following documents published by the Toronto Star last week that revealed the government, including RCMP and CSIS, has been monitoring everything from peaceful protests to university lectures — since 2006. It’s not just threats to national security being monitored, it’s benign intellectual conversations and events.
Not surprising when you consider the many groups and individuals targeted for simply speaking out and voicing opposition to Enbridge. In fact, the BC Civil Liberties Association filed a complaint against both agencies for illegally monitoring and spying on the “peaceful, democratic activities of community groups and First Nations opposed to the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline project.”
Read Brent Stafford’s columnhere.
Seriously? Is monitoring and spying on regular citizens who also happen to oppose a project that could have serious consequences for our province, really worthy of RCMP and CSIS resources? With new anti-terror legislation, anyone who stands in opposition to a project could be considered a threat, by interpretation of the law. Organize a protest? You might want to look around for regulation haircuts…
READ the rest of this weeks column here, but voting and comments are now closed! http://vancouver.24hrs.ca/2014/09/21/no-cause-to-spy-on-grannies