A sneak peek at testimony planned for secret CSIS complaint hearing in Vancouver

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      A member of the environmental nonprofit Sierra Club B.C. has posted a YouTube video as a pre-emptive dodge around a government gag order.

      Sierra Club B.C. campaigns director Caitlyn Vernon was scheduled to speak this week at a hearing convened by the Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC), an oversight body, regarding a February 2014 complaint that alleges the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) illegally spied on activists and First Nations people.

      As the Straight reported on August 5, rules for the hearing are so secret and restrictive that even lawyers involved in the case were ensure if they would be allowed to remain present for the full length of proceedings.

      In the video posted to YouTube on August 13, Vernon says she intends to deliver testimony that proves government actions targeting environmental activists have created a “chill” that has stifled freedom of speech.

      “This week’s hearings are being held in secret, and I’m told that I’m not going to be able to speak about what I say after I testify,” she says. “So I’m giving you a little advanced sneak peek in what I plan to testify tomorrow.”

      The February 2014 complaint was brought forward by the B.C. Civil Liberties Association.

      “We’ve filed this complaint because Canadians should be able to participate in a democracy without being spied on,” said BCCLA policy director Micheal Vonn, quoted in an August 13 media release. “Bill C-51 has given spies far more power, including the ability to violate the constitution. We need to put a stop to abuses by our national security agencies, not give them more power to violate people’s rights.”

      Comments

      5 Comments

      waterme888

      Aug 13, 2015 at 7:23pm

      jfk in 1961 said - 'the very word "secrecy" is repugnant in a free and open society'

      canada is not free currently.. its society is run by the worst humanity has to offer.. the politicians are sell outs to a system of corruption and greed and its police and intelligence agencies nothing more than a modern day gestapo..

      a fascist neo nazi country that views its citizens as the enemy.

      land of the free my butt.

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      Sue Thorp

      Aug 19, 2015 at 9:50am

      It is positively chilling to know how far the Harper government has led us into a culture of suspicion and secret hearings. This is surely not the Canada most of us like to believe we are a part of.

      Anonymous

      Aug 19, 2015 at 12:38pm

      Caitlyn, congratulations on making this video to inform the public about how the Harper government has gone to such great lengths to silence Canadians! The 'secrecy' word being used in this court case is totally discouraging - as it shows how Harper has squashed our rights! Your fight is so important! Thank you.

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      Ann-Marie Hunter

      Aug 19, 2015 at 12:39pm

      Sorry - I forgot to add my name to that comment!

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