RCMP Escalates War On Canadian Environmentalists, Activists
“It’s the new normal now for Canada’s security agencies to watch the activities of environmental organisations” – Jeff Monaghan
A newly-released Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) report wants Canadians to believe that “environmental extremists” pose a “clear and present criminal threat” to Canada’s national security and the tar sands-dominated energy sector.
Not only that. The report portrays environmental activism as a far more lethal threat than established terrorist entities such as Al Qaida.
“Environmental ideologically motivated individuals including some who are aligned with a radical, criminal extremist ideology pose a clear and present criminal threat to Canada’s energy sector,” says the 22-page report, written by the RCMP’s critical infrastructure intelligence team. “The Canadian law enforcement and security intelligence community have noted a growing radicalized faction of environmentalists who advocate the use of criminal activity to promote the protection of the natural environment.”
The report, obtained by Carleton University criminologist Jeff Monaghan through an Access to Information request, adds:
It is highly probable that environmentalists will continue to mount direct actions targeting Canada’s energy sector, specifically the petroleum sub-sector and the fossil and nuclear fueled electricity generating facilities, with the objectives of: influencing government energy policy, interfering within the energy regulatory process and forcing the energy industry to cease its operations that harm the environment.
The Vancouver Observer says organizations under the RCMP’s radar include “Idle No More, ForestEthics, Sierra Club, EcoSociety, LeadNow, Dogwood Initiative, Council of Canadians and the People’s Summit.” Other charities and progressive think-tanks critical to government policy have lately come under what critics call politically-motivated auditing by the Canada Revenue Agency.
Very few will believe that the RCMP report is really about “environmental extremists.” Instead, it’s easy to believe that the report targets anyone who opposes the Harper government’s radical free-market policies and undisguised determination to sabotage climate action. It’s about silencing dissent.
In recent years, environmental groups, progressive organizations and First Nations have mounted tremendous opposition to the unbridled expansion of the Alberta tar sands, which are a major producer of greenhouse gases. They have strongly opposed increasing foreign ownership of Canada’s lucrative energy sector. Last week, Canadians were outraged to learn that Prime minister Stephen Harper had quietly ratified the sellout Canada-China FIPA trade deal. FIPA or Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement, effectively locks Canada for 31 years into a trade agreement that allows state-controlled Chinese corporations to sue the Canadian government for millions of dollars should they decided that our public and environmental protections interfere with their pursuit of Canadian resources and wealth.
But the the opposition is more pronounced in the ongoing rejection of the Enbridge’s Northern Gateway and Line 9 pipelines, TransCanada‘s Keystone XL pipeline and Kinder Morgan’s Transmountain pipeline.
At its core, the internal opposition to the expansion of Canada’s extractive economy calls for a change to our relationship with nature. That call was echoed by award-winning Canadian journalist, activist and best-selling author, Naomi Klein, in her new book, “This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate.” In the book, published this week, Klein is out to prove how our current economic model of capitalism is prosecuting a war against life on earth.
The RCMP report also suggests the politicization of Canada’s policing and security agencies. The report mirrors an earlier one, which confirmed that the RCMP and Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) now treat peaceful protest actions and questioning of the Harper government’s policies as “forms of attack.” As reported by The Guardian (UK), that report labeled activists “national security threats.”
“Monitoring of environmental activists in Canada by the country’s police and security agencies has become the ‘new normal’, according to a researcher who has analysed security documents released under freedom of information laws,” reported The Guardian. “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 RCMP report strangely echoes ideological position of the Conservatives. In a January 2012 Open Letter, then Minister of Natural Resources Joe Oliver, labeled environmental movements “radical groups” funded by “foreign special interest groups to undermine Canada’s national economic interest.”
Ultimately, the RCMP report echoes the security and policing agencies’ growing appetite for more surveillance powers.