OTTAWA — Canada’s spy agency says many members of the environmental and Indigenous communities see the federal purchase of the Trans Mountain pipeline as a betrayal, and suggests that could intensify opposition to expanding the project.
A Canadian Security Intelligence Service assessment highlights a renewed sense of indignation among protesters and clearly indicates the spy service’s ongoing interest in anti-petroleum activism.
The Canadian Press used the Access to Information Act to obtain a heavily censored copy of the June CSIS brief, originally classified top secret.
Watch: Trudeau on why Ottawa isn’t appealing Trans Mountain decision. Story continues below.
Civil liberties and environmental activists questioned the rationale for CSIS’s interest, given that opposition to the pipeline project has been peaceful.
CSIS spokeswoman Tahera Mufti stressed the spy service is committed to following the governing legislation that forbids it to probe lawful protest and dissent.
“While we cannot publicly disclose our investigative interests, we can say that it is important for the service to pose important analytical questions on these types of issues, such as the question of whether developments such as the purchase of a pipeline could give rise to a national-security threat to Canada’s critical infrastructure.”
‘Developing intelligence issue’
Earlier this year, Kinder Morgan dropped plans to twin an existing pipeline that carries about 300,000 barrels of bitumen daily from Alberta to British Columbia. The federal government announced in late May it would buy the pipeline and related components for $4.5 billion.
The government intends to finance and manage construction of the second pipeline — which would increase the overall flow of bitumen to 890,000 barrels a day — and ultimately try to find a buyer.
The CSIS brief characterizes resistance to the pipeline project as a “developing intelligence issue.”
“Indigenous and non-Indigenous opponents of the project continue to highlight the increasing threats to the planet as a result of climate …read more