New documents released by the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association show Canada's intelligence agency gathered thousands of pages of information on protesters who were against the now-defunct Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline. The activists were fighting to stop the since canceled Northern Gateway Pipelines which would have moved bitumen from Alberta to British Columbia. "We also allege the spying activity was discouraging people from associating with environment groups and discouraging people form expressing their own opinions".
Calling it a "shocking violation" of freedom of expression, McDermott further questioned why witnesses in the hearing - including staff and volunteers from different groups - are "still under a legal gag order, forever forbidden from repeating what they said in the hearing?" "That kind of act ought not to attract the interest of our spy agencies".
By releasing the documents today, the association said its original complaint is validated.
The oversight committee ruled after the hearings that the intelligence agency had not committed any wrongdoing.
"It really places a chill on people's willingness to get involved in political life if they think the police or spy agencies are going to put them on lists, are going to be gathering information about their computer activities, their phone calls", Patterson says.
In a statement, Stand.earth's Sven Biggs called the case "another example of how the power of big oil subverts Canadian democracy". "Our tax dollars are being used to spy on Canadians to benefit the fossil fuel industry".
Dogwood BC is one of the groups named in the papers.
The Northern Gateway pipeline project was approved by the federal government in June 2014. The federal government officially rejected plans for the pipelines in November 2016.