The RCMP has labelled the “anti-petroleum” movement as a growing and violent threat to Canada’s security, raising fears among environmentalists that they face increased surveillance, and possibly worse, under the Harper government’s new terrorism legislation.
In highly charged language that reflects the government’s hostility toward environmental activists, an RCMP intelligence assessment warns that foreign-funded groups are bent on blocking oil sands expansion and pipeline construction, and that the extremists in the movement are willing to resort to violence.The report, dated January 24, 2014, was obtained by Greenpeace and uses the kind of language one would expect from a police force that has become deeply politicized.
[M]ilitants and violent extremists who are opposed to society’s reliance on fossil fuels,
and violent environmental extremists
are but two of the phrases that should give all of us pause.
The RCMP issued their usual disclaimers, averring that they do not surveil peaceful groups. Said RCMP spokesman Sergeant Greg Cox:
“There is no focus on environmental groups, but rather on the broader criminal threats to Canada’s critical infrastructure. The RCMP does not monitor any environmental protest group. Its mandate is to investigate individuals involved in criminality.”Yet, perhaps tellingly,
... Sgt. Cox would not comment on the tone of the January, 2014, assessment that suggests opposition to resource development runs counter to Canada’s national interest and links groups such as Greenpeace, Tides Canada and the Sierra Club to growing militancy in the “anti-petroleum movement.”For a force whose mandate is public safety, the report veers into areas that can only be described as economic and political:
The report extolls the value of the oil and gas sector to the Canadian economy, and adds that many environmentalists “claim” that climate change is the most serious global environmental threat, and “claim” it is a direct consequence of human activity and is “reportedly” linked to the use of fossil fuels. It echoes concerns first raised by Finance Minister Joe Oliver that environmental groups are foreign-funded and are working against the interests of Canada by opposing development.
Just coincidence that the language echos that of Joe Oliver
“This document identifies anyone who is concerned about climate change as a potential, if not actual – the lines are very blurry – ‘anti-petroleum extremist’ looking to advance their ‘anti-petroleum ideology,’” said Keith Stewart, a climate campaigner for Greenpeace.Greenpeace, and the rest of us, should be very, very concerned. Are these the faces of the new terrorists?