Accessibility/Mobile Features
Skip Navigation
Skip to Content
Editorial News
Opinion
Classified Sites

Brandon Sun - PRINT EDITION

Protesters will be watched

Members of the Idle No More and anti-pipeline movements object to being secretly watched by RCMP, CSIS and other government departments, saying it’s a violation of their privacy rights.

In the case of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the groups wrongly claim the national spy agency has no business monitoring the activities of ordinary civilians and peaceful protesters.

In fact, CSIS has a lawful duty to monitor any individual, Canadian or not, who poses a potential threat to the peace and security of the state.

The aboriginal and environment movements — the two are often the same — claim they have merely exercised their democratic rights. That’s largely, but not entirely, true.

The Idle No More movement, which sprung up almost spontaneously two years ago, has blocked rail lines and civic streets and roads. RCMP and municipal police forces responded with restraint, allowing each protest to play itself out. In the case of a blockade on a CN Rail line in Manitoba, RCMP were armed with a court order to remove the demonstrators, but they didn’t act, and the protest ended peacefully without any arrests.

The problem for groups such as CSIS, however, is the aboriginal protest movement is loosely organized, largely leaderless and supported by individuals with a wide range of possible motivations.

The first job of an intelligence agency is to understand the potential threat and even if it is a threat. That can’t be done without active surveillance, including meeting with members of the group, which CSIS has tried to do.

There have been several incidents of aboriginal violence in Canada, including the Oka crisis that required the deployment of the army to settle, and some native leaders have warned there could be more violence if conditions did not improve. Aboriginal groups have the power and ability today to cause considerable economic disruption, a fact that cannot be ignored.

Documents obtained under Access to Information legislation said CSIS was recommending a whole-of-government approach to dealing with aboriginal protests. The documents were redacted, but CSIS was basically saying every department of government needed to be involved if events spiralled out of control.

Canada’s former spymasters had a weak record for understanding the threat environment, as evidenced by their ridiculous focus on people such as Tommy Douglas and Winnipeg’s Nick Ternette.

CSIS, however, would not be doing its job if it didn’t make an effort to understand the aboriginal and environmental movements.

» Versions of these editorials ran recently in the Winnipeg Free Press.

Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition March 31, 2014

  • Rate this Rate This Star Icon
  • This article has not yet been rated.
  • We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high. If you thought it was well written, do the same. If it doesn’t meet your standards, mark it accordingly.

    You can also register and/or login to the site and join the conversation by leaving a comment.

    Rate it yourself by rolling over the stars and clicking when you reach your desired rating. We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high.

Sort by: Newest to Oldest | Oldest to Newest | Most Popular 0 Commentscomment icon

You can comment on most stories on brandonsun.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is register and/or login and you can join the conversation and give your feedback.

There are no comments at the moment. Be the first to post a comment below.

Post Your Commentcomment icon

Comment
  • You have characters left

The Brandon Sun does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. Comments are moderated before publication. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Members of the Idle No More and anti-pipeline movements object to being secretly watched by RCMP, CSIS and other government departments, saying it’s a violation of their privacy rights.

In the case of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the groups wrongly claim the national spy agency has no business monitoring the activities of ordinary civilians and peaceful protesters.

Please subscribe to view full article.

Already subscribed? Login to view full article.

Not yet a subscriber? Click here to sign up

Members of the Idle No More and anti-pipeline movements object to being secretly watched by RCMP, CSIS and other government departments, saying it’s a violation of their privacy rights.

In the case of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the groups wrongly claim the national spy agency has no business monitoring the activities of ordinary civilians and peaceful protesters.

Subscription required to view full article.

A subscription to the Brandon Sun Newspaper is required to view this article. Please update your user information if you are already a newspaper subscriber.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

Election 2014
Brandon Sun Business Directory
The First World War at 100
Why Not Minot?
Welcome to Winnipeg

Social Media