Straight: Date set for committee to hear complaints against CSIS at secret hearing in Vancouver
Next week the SIRC is holding a secret hearing about a complaint that alleges CSIS illegally spied on activists and First Nations people. The high-profile case is being led by our friends at BCCLA. Article by Travis Lupick for the Georgia Straight A group of B.C. environmentalists is about to have its day in court in a high-profile case against the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS).
Beginning in Vancouver on August 12, the Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC), an oversight body, will begin hearing a February 2014 complaint that alleges CSIS illegally spied on activists and First Nations people.
In a telephone interview, B.C. Civil Liberties Association executive director Josh Paterson said rules for the hearing are so secret and restrictive that even he—one of the lawyers involved in the case—doesn’t know if he’ll be allowed to remain in the room for the full length of proceedings.
“Nobody can attend other than witnesses who are testifying,” Paterson told the Straight. “I’m not sure there has ever been one [hearing] like it in Vancouver. We think it is a pretty big deal.”
The BCCLA’s complaint pertains to documents released in November 2013 in response to an access to information request. It describes those files as evidence CSIS cooperated with the National Energy Board (NEB) to monitor activists who opposed the construction of the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline, a project that is subject to the NEB’s review.