If you’ve been to any rallies opposing the Northern Gateway Pipeline over the past few years, you probably noticed the police presence.
Yup, they’re always there. Granted, the anti-pipeline rallies in Prince George are large and police are often there to block traffic so protestors and cars don’t have to share the road. Public safety is a good thing.
However, attendees at the rally will also often notice that the police are there videotaping the proceedings.
And this was happening long before Bill C-51 reared its ugly head on the Canadian landscape.
I covered the anti-Bill-C51 rally outside Prince George-Peace River MP Bob Zimmer’s office on Saturday. There were about two dozen people there, so, in the scheme of things, it wasn’t a big event.
The police cruised by at least once, which is fair, they should check things out. What caught my eye, though, was a woman dressed in black who stayed across the street from the protest photographing everything. She obviously wasn’t part of the protest, yet took lots of photos.
On the first day of the Canada Winter Games, there was a protest against Prime Minister Harper on the steps of City Hall. I went down to take a picture, there was only one person there with a sign, so the pre-rally rallying call really didn’t rouse too many people. About 20 minutes after I took the guy’s photo, Prince George RCMP Insp. Warren Brown and an auxiliary were chatting with the guy. They were likely doing a foot patrol downtown, as it was the opening of the Games. However, it makes one wonder, especially after a dictate out of Ottawa last year … which didn’t really get as much notice as it should have.
According to a story in the Ottawa Citizen June 4, 2014, the government has ordered government agencies to keep tabs on all protests around the country.
According to the story, an e-mail was sent out to all government departments by the Government Operations Centre requesting that such information be collected.
“The Government Operations Centre is seeking your assistance in compiling a comprehensive listing of all known demonstrations which will occur either in your geographical area or that may touch on your mandate,” the e-mail stated, according to the Ottawa Citizen story. “We will compile this information and make this information available to our partners unless of course, this information is not to be shared and not available on open sources. In the case of the latter, this information will only be used by the GOC for our Situational Awareness.”
In light of the new anti-terrorism bill, Bill C-51, which will give Canada’s spy agencies and police more powers, we really have to wonder where this country is heading.