Canadian government owned pipeline company conducts physical and open-source surveillance of Trans Mountain opponents
Brett Forester of CBC reports: “A federally owned pipeline company is withholding records that would expose its dealings with private security and intelligence firms by citing blanket exemptions under access-to-information law.”
He adds: “Calgary-based Trans Mountain responded to a request to see its contracts with these agencies, along with reports delivered under those deals, by refusing to release a single piece of paper, prompting CBC News to lodge an official complaint.”
His article also notes: “After an initial denial followed by delay, on June 5, 2019, [Kamloops, British Columbia-based lawyer Joe] Killoran got access to the some of the company’s files. The files, which CBC News reviewed and reported on in 2019, indicate Trans Mountain employs retired Mounties and unknown security operatives who conduct physical and open-source surveillance, track activist movements, analyze their motives, and work with members of the RCMP’s Community-Industry Response Group, or C-IRG.”
Secwepemc land defenders and allies oppose the construction of the 890,000 barrel per day Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline.
The pipeline would cross 518 kilometres of Secwepemc territory without the free, prior and informed consent of the Secwepemc peoples.
In May 2018, the Canadian government bought the existing 300,000 barrel per day Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline with the intention of tripling its capacity.
As such, Trans Mountain Corporation is now a subsidiary of the Canada Development Investment Corporation, a Crown corporation responsible for managing investments and corporate interests held by the Government of Canada.
Oil Change International has calculated that “the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project would facilitate a major expansion of tar sands extraction – releasing as much as 130 million additional metric tons of CO2 per year.”
It has also been estimated that the emissions caused by producing and burning the oil carried by the pipeline expansion could top 143 million metric tons of CO2 per year.
In March 2019, the UN Human Rights Council affirmed that “human rights defenders, including environmental human rights defenders, must be ensured a safe and enabling environment to undertake their work free from hindrance and insecurity, in recognition of their important role in supporting States to fulfil their obligations under the Paris Agreement.”
In December 2019, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination also called on Canada to cease construction on the pipeline until free, prior and informed consent had been obtained from all the Secwepemc people.
According to the company, it is expected that the “mechanical completion” of the pipeline will “occur in the third quarter of 2023.”
The full article by Brett Forester can be read at ‘Stonewalled’: Trans Mountain hides dealings with private security and spy firms.