“The government is compiling a comprehensive listing of all known demonstrations…” says an e-mail to all federal departments obtained by Postmedia News.
Photo Credit: Council of Canadians

Calls for government to stop spying on protesters


The civil rights of Canadians are being violated by surveillance of legitimate and even mundane demonstrations and gatherings, charge opposition members of Parliament. Civil groups too have expressed concern about reports the department of public safety has been asked to keep a list of all known demonstrations, and that even prayer ceremonies, fundraisers are being watched.

Protest is a democratic right

“We hope we live in a democracy,” says Brent Patterson, political director of the Council of Canadians, a non-profit dedicated to social action. “A democracy really isn’t just about voting every four or five years. It’s about public participation, it’s about expressing concerns, it’s about being able to comment on government policies. That involves public forums…protests…rallies, all of which is part of a well-functioning democracy.

“So we’re absolutely concerned that the government of Stephen Harper feels some need to monitor this, to have surveillance of these activities, in essence to criminalize something that is essential to a democratic society,” says Patterson.

Instead of spying on Canadians, the government should listen to their concerns and act on them, says Brent Patterson.

Government not addressing concerns, says activist

Peaceful protests can suddenly turn violent, said a parliamentary secretary to the public safety minister in defence of the monitoring activities. Patterson says it is not legitimate for the government to paint all gatherings with the same brush. He adds that if there is violence it is because the government has not listened to or addressed the real concerns of people.

Information shared with industry

Patterson also worries about reports that a special unit of the national police, the RCMP, was mandated to gather information on protests by aboriginal groups, and that the National Energy Board coordinated the gathering of intelligence on opponents of fracking and of oil sands projects in western Canada. Patterson finds it outrageous that the RCMP appears to be sharing information it gathers with industry.

“We would be asking the government to have a look at why the national police force would be sharing information about citizens exercising their democratic rights to corporations who are plundering the earth really, including water, and taking us to the brink of climate catastrophe.”

Posted in Politics, Society

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette »

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1. RCInet.ca’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. RCInet.ca reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3. RCInet.ca’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.