CSIS warns of ‘extremist’ opposition to oil and gas sector – by Alex Boutilier (Toronto Star – May 15, 2015)

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An internal threat overview by CSIS warns the federal government of “extremists” that have “converged” to oppose natural resource development.

OTTAWA—Canada’s spies are warning the federal government about an “extremist” threat to natural resource development, internal documents show.

“Extremists” have united both in person and online in their opposition to Canadian natural resource projects, according to a September 2014 “threat overview” prepared by CSIS for Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney.

The heavily censored document does not outline specific threats or projects, nor does it single out particular groups. But it lists the threat between sections on terrorist travellers and a growing anti-Muslim movement advocating violence in Canada.

The CSIS report, obtained under Access to Information law, mirrors strong language in a January 2014 report from the RCMP warning of an “anti-Canadian petroleum movement.” The report, obtained by Greenpeace, said that movement is well financed and organized, and includes “peaceful activists, militants, and violent extremists.”

The RCMP specifically referred to 2013 shale gas protests in New Brunswick, where protesters from the Elsipogtog First Nation clashed with police.

Canada’s spies and police have monitored all manner of protests — including environmental activism — even if those demonstrations remained peaceful.

The Conservative government has defended the practice of monitoring that dissent, saying even peaceful protests can turn ugly and public safety must be maintained in the event of violence.

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