Mounties target environmentalists in secret memo

Intro

A leaked report produced by Canada’s national police force hints that environmentalists could face further surveillance under the Harper administration’s new anti-terrorism legislation. The RCMP argues that environmental activism, labelled the “anti-petroleum movement,” threatens national security under the proposed Bill C-51. With the support of the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS), this legislation would allow the federal government to collect information on any “activity that undermines the security of Canada,” including any deemed threats to the country’s economic or financial stability. The report cites documents produced by oil lobbyists, and makes claims that fossil fuels are only “reportedly” linked to greenhouse gas emissions in spite of the overwhelming scientific evidence backed by the international community. According to the RCMP report, “activist groups, indigenous groups, environmentalists and others who are publicly critical of government policy” are considered “multi-issue extremist” threats to the federal government. The “highly charged language” employed in this thinly veiled intelligence assessment “reflects the government’s hostility toward environmental activists.”

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  • Hashtags in use: #C51

Key Points

  • The federal government’s continuous attempt to suppress critical voices comes full circle with this latest bill. So far, the Harper administration shut down several libraries, muzzled weather forecasters from talking about climate change, and even blocked NAFTA’s environmental watchdog group from investigating the environmental impacts of tar sands tailings ponds. Bill C-51 is the latest federal tactic to silence anyone who gets in their way, including environmentalists, Indigenous activists and anyone who is “publicly critical of government policy.”
  • Canada is putting fossil fuels at the forefront of federal interests in spite of the heightened cost to society and the economy. The federal government is moving forward with tar sands expansion activities in spite of these projects being the country’s fastest source of rising greenhouse gas emissions. In the current climate of fluctuating oil prices, it has become clear that the Harper administration is willing to support a volatile commodity that’s growing bleaker by the day.
  • Climate change, not activism, is a threat to national security. In the United States, President Obama’s administration has favored a narrative recognizing the threats of climate change as a national security issue, especially to vulnerable communities who risk suffering from the worst of its impacts. It is because of the momentum generated by the international community that businesses, economists, and global leaders are finally recognizing that a changes are in order to prevent the onset of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.

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Key Quotes

  • “With respect to Bill C-51, I and other groups have real concerns it is going to target not just terrorists who are involved in criminal activity, but people who are protesting against different Canadian government policies.” – Paul Champ, Civil liberties lawyer
  • “Any time the government feels like they’re losing a battle for them to line their own pockets, they’re going to create new legislation in their favour to make us look like bad guys” – Freda Huson, spokesperson of the Unist’ot’en clan
  • “Even though we’re being peaceful, they’re trying to call us extremists. It’s probably their way to try and legitimize forcibly removing us from our home.” – Freda Huson, spokesperson of the Unist’ot’en clan
  • “These kind of reports, they are propaganda in and of themselves” – Gord Hill, Kwakwaka’wakw organizer
  • “I’ve heard some folks try to dodge the evidence by saying they’re not scientists; that we don’t have enough information to act. Well, I’m not a scientist, either. But you know what — I know a lot of really good scientists at NASA, and NOAA, and at our major universities. The best scientists in the world are all telling us that our activities are changing the climate, and if we do not act forcefully, we’ll continue to see rising oceans, longer, hotter heat waves, dangerous droughts and floods, and massive disruptions that can trigger greater migration, conflict, and hunger around the globe. The Pentagon says that climate change poses immediate risks to our national security. We should act like it.” – Barack Obama, President of the United States

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