Government using intelligence community to monitor First Nations protesters, researchers say


From Metro – June 14, 2011

by Jessica Smith

Feds monitoring ‘aboriginal hotspots’

Government using intelligence community to monitor First Nations protesters, researchers say
Documents recently uncovered by First Nations researchers show the
federal government, along with the RCMP and CSIS, has been monitoring
aboriginal “occupations and protests” since 2006.

“A number of us who are involved in First Nations policy issues have
been looking at the criminalization of First Nations activists by the
government, for being involved in protests or political actions,” said
Russell Diabo, who first published the information in his newsletter the
First Nation Strategic Bulletin.

The documents, obtained through an access to information request,
include two presentations made by officials with Indian and Northern
Affairs Canada, the RCMP and Criminal Intelligence Service Canada, on
monitoring “Aboriginal extremism.”

The documents show that as of summer 2006, members of the Privy Council
Office, CSIS, Public Safety Canada, Indian and Northern Affairs and
other federal departments were holding conference calls to share
information about aboriginal protests and occupations.

INAC also began a “Hotspot Reporting System” to spread information about
“existing and emerging risks” to work with intelligence reporting
systems run by CSIS’s Integrated Threat Assessment Centre, Public Safety
Canada and the RCMP.

It included summaries of events in First Nations, including peaceful
pro-tests, highway blockades and seemingly unrelated events such as an
underground oil spill.   

They are described as reports “regarding activities that threaten public
safety in relation to issues relating to Aboriginal peoples in Canada.”
In some, the information is attributed to media and “public safety

Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development (formerly INAC)
John Duncan did not respond to an interview request, but his staff sent
an email that acknowledged the existence of aboriginal “hotspots”

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About Damien Gillis

Damien Gillis is a Vancouver-based documentary filmmaker with a focus on environmental and social justice issues - especially relating to water, energy, and saving Canada's wild salmon - working with many environmental organizations in BC and around the world. He is the co-founder, along with Rafe Mair, of The Common Sense Canadian, and a board member of both the BC Environmental Network and the Haig-Brown Institute.