CSIS collected info on peaceful groups, but only in pursuit of threats: watchdog

Security Intelligence Review Committee says fears unjustified after reviewing evidence, testimony

First Nations and anti-pipeline groups rally outside the TD bank in downtown Vancouver, Friday, March 10, 2017. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)

First Nations and anti-pipeline groups rally outside the TD bank in downtown Vancouver, Friday, March 10, 2017. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)

A federal watchdog says Canada’s spy service collected some information about peaceful anti-petroleum groups, but only incidentally in the process of investigating legitimate threats to projects such as oil pipelines.

The newly disclosed report from the Security Intelligence Review Committee acknowledges a “chilling effect” on environmental groups, stemming from a belief the Canadian Security Intelligence Service was spying on them.

But after reviewing confidential evidence and testimony, the committee concludes these fears were unjustified.

READ MORE: Feds want closed door hearing for pipeline spy allegations

The heavily censored review committee report, completed last year and kept under wraps, is only now being made public because of the BC Civil Liberties Association’s ongoing court challenge of the findings.

The civil liberties association complained to the CSIS watchdog in February 2014 after media reports suggested the spy service and other government agencies considered opposition to the petroleum industry a threat to national security.

The association’s complaint also cited reports that CSIS shared information with the National Energy Board about environmental groups seeking to participate in board hearings on Enbridge’s now-defunct Northern Gateway pipeline project.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A man receives his COVID-19 vaccine. (CP file photo)
COVID-19: Vaccination site in Parksville Community Centre to start March 15

Approximately 60,000 Parksville Qualicum Beach residents to be vaccinated

(File photo)
RCMP act quickly in response to report of gun-toting man in Parksville

43-year-old man taken into custody; students at nearby schools were asked to stay inside

(Google maps photo)
COVID-19: Case confirmed at École Oceanside Elementary School in Parksville

Dates of exposure were Thursday, Feb. 25 and Friday, Feb. 26

Nicolas Hay performs the Sepai kata he entered in Tbilisi Open Online Goju-Ryu Kata Tournament. (Michael Briones photo)
Parksville black belt tops online kata competition

Hay to teach karate at Qualicum Martial Arts dojo

Thrifty Foods at 280 Island Highway East in Parksville. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Thrifty Foods store in Parksville briefly closes after small fire

Minimal damage and no injuries reported; store expected to re-open after 5 p.m.

The area on Cordova Bay Road where ancestral human remains were discovered Feb. 22. (Submitted photo)
Human remains discovery a reminder of B.C. Indigenous culture dug up and displaced

‘These are the people who inspired and birthed the generations that we now have here’

Older rental apartments are prime candidates for renovations, and could result in lost affordable housing stock. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
B.C.’s renoviction overhaul a good start, but won’t preserve affordable stock, lawyer says

And still no protection for people who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

Activists from the Fairy Creek Blockades hold the injunction application notice which was submitted by logging company Teal Jones to the B.C. Supreme Court. The application, which asks to have blockaders removed from the sites that stop access to cut blocks, is set to be heard on March 4. (Photo contributed/Joshua Wright)
Activists hunker down to protect Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew from logging

Forest company Teal Cedar applies for injunction to remove seven-month-old blockades

The victim of the homicide on Cowichan Lake Road early Monday morning was 17 years old, and was stabbed in the incident. (File photo)
Duncan homicide victim was 17 years old

RCMP report that teenager was stabbed

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

The machines are akin to ATMs and allow drug users at risk of overdose to get hydromorphone pills dispensed to them after their palm has been scanned to identify its unique vein pattern. (CANADIAN PRESS)
Feds dole out $3.5M for ‘vending machines’ to dispense safer opioids in B.C.

The machines are located in four cities across Canada, including Vancouver and Victoria

Kelowna’s lakefront visitor centre is one of 130 around the province. Tourism businesses have been hardest hit by COVID-19 restrictions on travel. (Destination B.C.)
Tourism, small business getting COVID-19 help, B.C. minister says

$300M grant program has delivered $50 million so far

Most Read