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)

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

Canal Beach in Port Alberni open for swimming

Beach had been closed in July after high bacteria readings were detected in the water

North Island College offers resources for students learning online

College will hold a ‘virtual orientation’ this week

QUIZ: How much do you know about British Columbia?

On this B.C. Day long weekend, put your knowledge of our province to the test

Port Alberni company earns $10,000 grant from Canadian Chamber of Commerce

Company produces specialized equipment for large-scale mining, logging machinery

Bread of Life receives $10,000 donation from Western Forest Products

The donation will go towards COVID-19 community response

VIDEO: Otter pups learn to swim at B.C. wildlife rescue facility

Watch Critter Care’s Nathan Wagstaffe help seven young otters go for their first dip

Cooler days help crews fighting fire on mountainside southwest of Nanaimo

Firefighters making progress, but it’s ‘slow-going,’ says B.C. Wildfire Service

Crews work overnight to try to put out wildfire on Pender Island

Fire department and B.C. Wildfire Service crews extinguishing fire in ‘extremely difficult terrain’

Michael Buble among 13 British Columbians to receive Order of B.C.

Ceremony will be delayed to 2021 due to COVID-19

U.S. border communities feel loss of Canadian tourists, shoppers and friends

Restrictions on non-essential travel across the Canada-U.S. border have been in place since March 2`

Rollout of COVID-19 Alert app faces criticism over accessibility

App requires users to have Apple or Android phones made in the last five years, and a relatively new operating system

Alleged impaired driver sparks small wildfire near Lytton after crash: B.C. RCMP

Good Samaritans prevented the blaze from getting out of control

Most Read