Ottawa keeps tabs on student protests, public lectures

September 22, 2014

The Toronto Star reports that Canada’s federal government has admitted to monitoring as many as 800 demonstrations and events over the last 8 years, including public lectures, protests, and rallies at PSE institutions. The reports, collected by the Government Operations Centre (GOC), include briefs prepared by CSIS as well as the RCMP that focus on First Nations' protests and environmental activism, but extend to other matters as well. Among the events monitored were a panel discussion at Concordia University on colonialism and race relations in Quebec, a 2010 rally in support of First Nations University of Canada, and various student protests in Quebec. The government has defended these practices, claiming that the monitoring was necessary to protect public safety. A spokesperson for the GOC issued a statement to the Star stating that “the GOC does not conduct surveillance operations, does not conduct intelligence gathering, and does not obtain or hold any private or personal information pertaining to Canadian citizens.” Toronto Star (1) | Toronto Star(2)