People hold a demonstration against the Keystone XL pipeline project in Victoria, Canada.
Jeffrey Monaghan of the Surveillance Studies Center at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, stated in a recent report that security documents released in January showed Canada’s national police force (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) classify as a national security threat any Canadian who protests against the resource-based economy of the country, especially the fields of oil and gas production.
“It’s the new normal now for Canada’s security agencies to watch the activities of environmental organizations,” Monaghan said.
The security documents in the report were released under the freedom of information laws. The documents revealed that any protest against projects such as the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline project and the controversial gas fracking is defined as “a form of attack.”
In 2011, a man in Montreal, who wrote letters opposing shale gas fracking, was charged under Canada’s Anti-Terrorism Act.
In a Senate committee on national security and defense meeting on February 11, the Canadian government admitted that it was more worried about domestic terrorism and acknowledged that the great majority of its spying was conducted within Canada.
Monaghan added in his report that studies had shown that terrorism is a non-existent threat in Canada.
Critics say that by labeling activists as terrorists, the Canadian government is trying to overlook the demands of the protesters and strip them of their legal rights.