TransCanada shareholder to head SIRC investigation into CSIS spying on pipeline opponents

Yves FortierThank you to the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) for its letter to the Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC) objecting to the appointment of Yves Fortier to head the investigation into the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS) gathering information about groups opposed to the Harper government's energy policies.

The Canadian Press reports, "[In February, the BCCLA filed a] complaint that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service [had] gathered and shared information about activists opposed to Canada's energy policies [following] media reports suggested that CSIS and other government agencies consider protests and opposition to the petroleum industry as possible threats to national security. The complaint also cited reports that CSIS had worked with and shared information with the National Energy Board about so-called 'radicalized environmentalist' groups seeking to participate in the board’s hearings on Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline... The groups included Leadnow, ForestEthics Advocacy Association, the Council of Canadians, the Dogwood Initiative, EcoSociety, the Sierra Club of British Columbia and Idle No More, the indigenous rights movement."

Last November, the Vancouver Observer had reported, "Before the National Energy Board's Joint Review Panel hearings on the proposed Enbridge [Northern Gateway] oil pipeline, the NEB coordinated [with CSIS and the RCMP] the gathering of intelligence on opponents to the oil sands."

Why would Fortier not be an appropriate choice to head the investigation into this?

Fortier once sat on the Board of TransCanada Pipelines, the company behind the controversial Energy East and Keystone XL tar sands pipelines. A Vancouver Observer article also reports that Fortier is a TransCanada shareholder, perhaps holding more than $100,000 in stocks with the company.

While the BCCLA acknowledges Fortier's past record, the letter to SIRC states, “Still, the BCCLA submits that this is a highly serious complaint and should be handled in a manner that is in every way beyond reproach, with justice not only done, but seen to be done.”

The other two members of the review committee would be former Reform/ Conservative MP Deborah Grey and Gene McLean, a private security specialist and a former vice-president at TELUS Corporation.

Further reading
The NEB coordinated intelligence gathering on advocacy groups, including us (November 2013 blog)
Enbridge lobbyist oversees CSIS, which has spied on anti-pipeline groups (January 2014 blog)
Harper government monitors media for Council of Canadians comments on trade (September 2014 blog)

Photo: Yves Fortier