The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) is refusing to confirm or deny that it holds files on one of the country’s leading clean energy investigative bloggers, just as Parliament settles in to debate the government’s controversial new anti-terror legislation, Bill C-51.
“For the record, I have no particular reason to think CSIS is monitoring either me or DeSmog Canada,” writes Carol Linnitt. “To be sure, they have no legitimate reason to. But I find the inability to know whether we’ve been swept up in the spy agency’s wide net concerning, as many other Canadians likely would.”
A growing chorus of critics is warning that C-51 “will allow dangerously strong measures to be taken against even perceived terror threats or individuals that pose a threat to Canada’s critical infrastructure, such as pipelines, or the nation’s financial security,” Linnitt reports. Last month, Opposition Leader Thomas Mulcair said the legislation would allow unwarranted scrutiny of “anyone who challenges the government’s social, economic, or environmental policies.”
C-51 “has been roundly criticized for being so broad that it endangers the democratic rights of Canadian citizens and their ability to engage in legitimate dissent,” Linnitt notes. “Under the new legislation, CSIS could foreseeably monitor the activities of ordinary Canadians participating in community organizing, climate activism, blockades, strikes, or pipeline protests.”