March 26, 2015 4:57 am

Watchdog group accuses CSIS of spying on Northern Gateway protests

A sign for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service building is shown in Ottawa, Tuesday, May 14, 2013.

Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

OTTAWA – A civil liberties group says newly disclosed Canadian Security Intelligence Service records on protest surveillance bolster its formal complaint that spies went too far in eyeing environmental activists.

The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association has asked the Security Intelligence Review Committee to consider the documents – which reveal CSIS deliberations on the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline – as it investigates the spying allegations.

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The association filed a complaint with the review committee in February 2014 after media reports suggested that CSIS and other government agencies consider opposition to the petroleum industry a threat to national security.

The complaint also cited reports that CSIS had shared information with the National Energy Board about “radicalized environmentalist” groups seeking to participate in the board’s hearings on Enbridge’s Northern Gateway project, which would see Alberta crude flow to westward to Kitimat, B.C.

The groups included Leadnow, ForestEthics Advocacy Association, the Council of Canadians, the Dogwood Initiative, EcoSociety, the Sierra Club of British Columbia, and the aboriginal rights movement Idle No More.

The civil liberties association said it expected the investigation to address why CSIS monitors the groups, the length of time it has been doing so, and the authority or law allowing such surveillance.

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