Canada’s Environmental Activists “Threat To National Security”: Harper Government

RCMP and CSIS treat peaceful protest actions and questioning the Harper Government as ‘forms of attack’, label activists involved “national security threats”, documents reveal.

by: Obert Madondo | February 22, 2013

RCMP Officers Monitor Peaceful Occupy Activity on Parliament Hill, Sept 2012

RCMP Officers Monitor Peaceful Occupy Activity on Parliament Hill, Sept 2012

The Harper Government is intensifying its attacks on environmental and other activist movements in Canada, according to documents released under freedom of information laws, the Guardian (UK) reports. For the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), Canada’s national police force and chief spy agency, respectively, monitoring environmental activists and labeling them a “threat to national security”, has become the “new normal”.

“Security and police agencies have been increasingly conflating terrorism and extremism with peaceful citizens exercising their democratic rights to organise petitions, protest and question government policies,” the Guardian reports.

The Guardian interviewed Jeffrey Monaghan of the Surveillance Studies Center at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, who obtained the previously unreleased government documents.

“It’s the new normal now for Canada’s security agencies to watch the activities of environmental organisations,” Monaghan said.

Now more than ever before, these agencies closely monitor peaceful protesters and label them “national security threats”. They treat peaceful protest actions as ‘forms of attack’ on the state.

Strangely, the agencies seem to echo the warped view of the Harper Government as it continues to transform Canada into a petro-state.

In a January 2012 Open Letter, Minister of Natural Resources Joe Oliver, labeled environmental movements “radical groups” funded by “foreign special interest groups to undermine Canada’s national economic interest.”

Last year, Monaghan and Kevin Walby released a study, published in the journal Policing and Society, which argued that the government was making up terror identities through the so-called Multi Issue Extremism (MIE), Canada’s new classification of so-called domestic terror threats.

But what will CSIS and other police and security agencies do if activist actions become too peaceful to enable the invention of “terror identities”? Look to the the  FBI for the way forward?  Earlier, Rolling Stone carried an elaborate piece about five Occupy Cleveland activists “who had grown disenchanted with the Occupy movement, which they considered too conservative” and decided to “make a radical statement of their own – to send a message to corporate America, its corrupt government and that invisible grid underlying it all, the System.”

So, the “Cleveland Five” hatched a plan to blow up a bridge. The trouble is: “Nothing was destined to blow up that night, as it turns out, because the entire plot was actually an elaborate federal sting operation. The case against the Cleveland Five, in fact, exposes not just a deeply misguided element of the Occupy movement, but also a shadowy side of the federal government.”

The Canadian Progressive recommends:

Obert Madondo is an Ottawa-based progressive blogger, and the founder and editor of The Canadian Progressive. Follow him on