Secret Spy Hearings Come to Vancouver

Secret spy hearings

We believe that the Canadian government’s security agencies have been spying on law abiding Canadians engaged in peaceful activities related to the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline project.

In 2014 the BCCLA fought back, filing legal complaints against the Canadian Security Intelligence Services (CSIS) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).  Now, the Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC), the body responsible for CSIS oversight, will be holding secret hearings in Vancouver from August 12-14, 2015.

Together with three of the organizations who were illegally spied on, the Sierra Club of BC, the Dogwood Initiative, and ForestEthics Advocacy, we are seeking accountability for this illegal activity, and an end to unconstitutional spying on Canadians. Stand with us.

Stop Illegal Spying

Take action and be counted by making this pledge of support.

It's time to hold our spy agencies accountable.

I call on the government to respect democratic participation, freedom of association, and the rule of law.

I have the right to participate in public debate without fear of being spied on or intimidated by my government. Respect my rights and stop spying on me!

*You will receive updates from BCCLA, Dogwood Initiative, ForestEthics Advocacy, and the Sierra Club of BC

Illegal and Undemocratic

We believe CSIS broke its own law – the 1985 Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act– violating the prohibition on collecting information on “lawful advocacy, protest or dissent” by Canadians. These actions are a violation of fundamental rights to free expression, peaceful assembly and free association–rights that lie at the core of free and democratic societies.

Alexandra_Swann_photoI was incredibly shocked and disturbed to find out about the surveillance… Finding out had a chilling effect for me. Suddenly, I was very concerned how far it extended. Was I personally named somewhere? Had they investigated my online activities? Read my emails? – Alexandra Swann, Dogwood Initiative volunteer who discovered she was being spied on

Read Alexandra’s full statement here.

Spying on peaceful citizens is an attack on democracy. It is creating a climate of fear that is chilling free expression and stifling public participation.  Canadians have the right to participate in important public debates without fear of being spied on and intimidated by our own security, intelligence, and police agencies.

For more discussion on how spying impacts our free expression and assembly rights, read this new piece by BCCLA Policy Director Micheal Vonn.

C-51: still more power for spies

We know that lawful citizens like Alexandra Swann and so many others were already being spied on before these sweeping changes were introduced.

Now that Bill C-51, the Anti-Terrorism Act 2015, has passed into law, Canada’s spy and security agencies have been given vastly expanded powers with no appropriate increases in oversight or accountability.

We continue to call for the immediate repeal of the changes introduced by Bill C-51, and we will continue to work to see these changes repealed by Parliament, or struck down by the courts.

Unprecedented secret hearings

For the first time that we know of, the Security Intelligence Review Committee will be coming to Vancouver to conduct hearings into the BCCLA’s legal complaints. As the only oversight body for CSIS, SIRC’s hearings are held in secret, with no access to the hearings by the public or media.

Want to know more about what’s been going on? Sign the pledge above and we’ll send you a video from the hearing’s witnesses!