rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

Council of Canadians' blog

Council-of-Canadians's picture
The Council of Canadians is Canada's largest citizens' organization, with members and chapters across the country. We work to protect Canadian independence by promoting progressive policies on fair trade, clean water, energy security, public health care, and other issues of social and economic concern to Canadians.

CSIS says terrorism risk low at G8/G20, on the watch for multi-issue groups

| June 23, 2010

The Toronto Star reports that the RCMP admits they will use "crowd infiltrators" at this week's G20 summit in Toronto and that they defend their use by the Quebec provincial police at the Security and Prosperity Partnership summit in Montebello, Quebec in August 2007.

While it's not clear if these "crowd infiltrators" will also be used at the major marches, they will be "standing in public gatherings around VIPs ‘taking the pulse' of the crowd."

Last week, the Council of Canadians wrote Prime Minister Stephen Harper asking that he provide assurances that agent provocateurs would not be used at protests against this week's summits.

We set end-of-day yesterday as a deadline for word from his office. That deadline has come and gone with no official response.


The Toronto Star article adds, "At (the North American leaders' ‘three Amigos' summit at Montebello, Que.) three officers were disguised as protesters, one of whom carried a rock, but refused to throw it when singled out by the crowd as an agent provocateur. Quebec's provincial police force admitted the bandana-wearing individuals were undercover, but denied wrongdoing."

"(RCMP Chief Supt. Pat) Teolis concurs. ‘I didn't see any evidence that they provoked a crowd or initiating contact,' he says. ‘Provoking the crowd would not assist us in what we're trying to do which is to maintain peace and order,' says Insp. Bruce Kirkpatrick, director of protective services. ‘Totally the opposite,' says Teolis. ‘We need to observe the crowd and so we do it in different ways...we try and take some film so that if something happens we have evidence. We do it at a distance so that we don't provoke people.'"

They do not explain why carrying the rock would be necessary in any way.

While the RCMP has the lead role in providing summit security, the CBC reports that the Canadian spy agency. "CSIS has spent the last 12 to 18 months gathering intelligence it hopes could help the RCMP with ‘any breaches of the law that might occur.'"

Low-risk of terrorism

CBC reports that CSIS says there is a low risk of terrorism at the G8 and G20 summits.

"Richard Fadden, the director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, told the CBC, ‘We don't think there is anyone who is really interested in doing any harm from that perspective.'"

Multi-issue extremists

What's the real threat according to CSIS?

Fadden says "anarchist groups" and "multi-issue extremists".

He says, "Nothing attracts the world media like the G8 and G20, so anyone who is interested in getting their issues in front of the public, I think, are interested in being in Toronto."

Past threat assessments

The Ottawa Citizen reported in August 2001 that, "Officers from various police forces and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service have infiltrated, spied on or closely monitored organizations that are simply exercising their legal right to assembly and free speech."

"Before and during the (1997) APEC meetings, security officials compiled extensive lists that included many legitimate organizations whose primary threat to government appeared to be a potential willingness to exercise their democratic rights to demonstrate. Threat assessments included a multitude of well-known groups such as the National Council of Catholic Women, Catholic Charities U.S.A., Greenpeace, Amnesty International, the Canadian Council of Churches, the Council of Canadians and the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development." The news report also notes the agencies kept watch on the federal NDP, the United Church of Canada, and the Canadian Committee for the Protection of Journalists. Another news report from that time highlights the police did a threat assessment on Joan Russow, then the leader of the Green Party of Canada.


- Will agent provocateurs or "crowd infiltrators" be used at the major march against the G20 this Saturday?

- With an assessment of a low-risk of terrorism for the summit, how much of the $1 billion in summit security costs are being directed at the protests?

- Does CSIS have some assessment beyond "groups" and "extremists" will want to be on TV during the summit?

- What assessments of activist groups are being provided by CSIS to the RCMP and other police forces at the summit?

- How are these police forces justifying the four sound cannons, a water cannon truck, the guns that can fire plastic bullets and tear gas, the size of the security perimetre, and a designated protest area kilometres from the summit meeting site?

The news articles are at http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2010/06/21/g8-g20-security-csis-fadden.html and http://www.thestar.com/NEWS/article/826633.

Brent Patterson, Director of Campaigns and Communications, Council of Canadians www.canadians.org



We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.