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C-51 sparks KI First Nation to request spy records

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C-51 sparks KI First Nation to request spy records

Formerly jailed Chief calls for stop to spying on First Nations

TORONTO – Today, the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug [KI] First Nation is filing a request for access to all spying records kept on their community by the RCMP and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), and calling on all First Nations in Canada to flood the RCMP and CSIS with access to information requests and make the information public.

“I call on Harper and his spooks to come clean today and stop spying on our people,” said Chief Donny Morris.  “Security laws are already being abused to spy on our people and to jail our leaders when we stand up to protect our homeland.  Bill C51 threatens to dramatically expand spying on First Nations and to criminalize our assertions of sovereignty and rights on our own land.”

Previous access to information requests have revealed that the RCMP created a wide-ranging surveillance network in early 2007 to monitor protests by First Nations, including KI, and shared the intelligence gathered with private extractive industries.

The heavily redacted Strategic Intelligence Report’s profile of KI states that KI First Nation “remains committed to ensuring their concerns related to the impacts of mining and forestry are addressed by the Ontario government” and “possible future disputes could result in blockades and demonstrations.” 

“The public needs information about the policies, procedures and unprecedented scope of the RCMP and CSIS First Nation surveillance program in order to understand how C-51 will be used,” said KI Chief Donny Morris. ”First Nations, and all Canadians, have the right to participate in public debate and peaceful protest without fear of being spied on or intimidated by the government.” 

In 2008, Chief Donny Morris and five community leaders served more than two months in jail for peacefully blocking mining company Platinex. The Ontario Court of Appeal released the so-called KI Six and directed the Ontario government to negotiate with the First Nation.

The RCMP Strategic Intelligence Report notes that environmental concerns often spark confrontations with aboriginal communities: “Mining, oil drilling, logging, garbage dumps, construction of dams, highways, and expanding the industries such as the oil sands can produce permanent impacts on the land, resources and people.” 

 KI is filing a detailed request today under the Access to Information Act that seeks documents and other information regarding record keeping and retention, policy guidelines, statistics, and investigatory records concerning the RCMP and CSIS surveillance of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug.  The requested records are subject to disclosure under the Access to Information Act, which imposes a broad disclosure obligation on government agencies that makes all government records, including police records, presumptively open for public inspection.