Canadian security experts are increasing their vigilance against activists’ threats to the country’s energy infrastructure, as civil-liberties advocates worry about the use of improper surveillance on peaceful opponents to major projects.
In what is billed as a training workshop, Carleton University’s Infrastructure Resilience Research Group is playing host to a closed-door conference on Monday and Tuesday for lawyers, police, regulators and industry representatives on “the challenges of dealing with natural resource development projects and activism.”
One of the organizers, professor emeritus Martin Rudner, said there are significant threats from “domestic extremists” to Canada’s energy infrastructure, including pipelines, generating stations and transmission lines.
Prof. Rudner is active on several industry-government-academic networks that consult on protection of critical infrastructure, including the energy and utilities-sector network managed by Natural Resources Canada.
In an interview, he pointed to incidents such as the confrontation three years ago between First Nations demonstrators and RCMP in New Brunswick over proposed shale-gas drilling, and to the emergence of more militant elements in the indigenous and environmental communities. “These are real challenges to critical infrastructure development and we want to deal with these challenges carefully and effectively,” he said.
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