Following the release of a de-classifed Royal Canadian Mounted Police report that warns the Harper government of a threat from ‘radicalized’ environmental activists, Greenpeace — the group signaled out for special criticism in the report — is now fighting back.
The RCPM report, citing recent protests by Greenpeace, says that recent bold actions by the group “highlight the need to be prepared for potential threats to the safety and security of offshore oil and gas platforms.”
“Greenpeace is opposed to the development of Canada’s Arctic region, as well as Canada’s offshore petroleum industry.” the report says. “Criminal activity by Green-peace activists typically consists of trespassing, mischief, and vandalism, and often requires a law enforcement response.” And added: “Tactics employed by activist groups are intended to intimidate and have the potential to escalate to violence.”
But Greenpeace, in an interview with the Vancouver Sun, says this is ridiculous, that they are and have always been non-violent and if any individuals or groups should be investigated or curtailed it’s the oil and gas companies who are expanding their resource extraction projects to ever-more difficult — and therefore more dangerous — locations, such as the tar sands of Alberta and arctic water drilling operations.
Yossi Cadan, campaigns director for Greenpeace Canada, said while group members sometimes trespass on private property to make their point, the group shuns violence.
“In a rational world and society, the RCMP would investigate Enbridge, Shell and others that have a long history of violating human rights and safety in their rush to fill their pockets with enormous wealth; instead the RCMP suggests an environmental organization such as Greenpeace is a threat to peace.
“For 40 years Greenpeace has never behaved violently. We have a proven record of maintaining the highest degree of safety in all our activities. This accusation is reckless, we are not.
“We are taking direct actions, but it’s never violent,” he said, adding “safety is a No. 1 priority for us. There is a difference between breaking the law and criminal activities,” Cadan added.
“It’s true that the distance between the government policy and the environmental movement is growing, but I don’t think that the movement is get-ting more radical.”
It seems like anyone who disagrees with the government on subjects such as the Alberta oilsands “has become an enemy in many ways,” he said.
Cadan accused the federal government of trying to avoid the real issues by publicly attacking opponents. “It’s not going to work because we are going to continue and focus on the environmental issues.”
On Tuesday, in what seemed like a direct rebuke to Canadian authorities, Greenpeace International executive director Kumi Naidoo tweeted: