The National Post just reported that Canada’s top Federal spooks were keeping *really* close tabs on last year’s National Day of Action for Native Rights–apparently including protests planned in support of Grassy Narrows.
Mind you, this is not terribly surprising–when Canadian customs started seizing our laptops and cameras at the border a couple years back, we kinda figured the snoop was on. What’s unsettling is that snooper was Canada’s shiny new counter-terrorism office.
The Post peeked at 22 secret reports including daily briefings prepared by Integrated Threat Assessment Center (ITAC) during the week last Summer’s protests. Daily briefings! And what does ITAC do? According to the FAQ on its website,
ITAC’s role is to help prevent and reduce the effects of terrorist incidents on Canada and its people, both at home and abroad.
Ok, fine. Good goal… So then what then what the hell were they doing in Grassy Narrows? First, the action wasn’t even in Grassy Narrows that week. It was in Toronto, where we joined the Christian Peacemaker Teams and folks from Grassy and KI to erect a big teepee on the legislature lawn to draw attention to Provincial backsliding on its obligations respect the rights of those communities (pictures, video).
Then there’s that Terrorism thing. No terrorists here, see? Just young folks trying to make a point creatively.
Aside from the astonishing waste of time and money, the unfortunate consequence of this kind of surveillance is that it makes us all less safe. It’s frightening to think that national authorities established precisely to prevent terrorism would rather rather justify their paychecks chasing protesters like us.