Yves Fortier has been assigned the task of investigating allegations some environmental activists have been spied on illegally by the petroleum industry. The problem however is Fortier himself was once part of the very lucrative petroleum industry. He was once on the board at TransCanada Pipelines. TransCanada Pipelines is behind the Keystone XL project.
This of course creates a serious conflict of interest. Because of Fortier’s relationship with TransCanada Pipelines the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association’s lawyer filed a complaint with the Security Intelligence Review Committee requesting Fortier not be allowed to participate in this matter. They don’t believe he will be able to fairly investigate the allegations.
The complaint was filed in February due to media reports that CSIS and other government agencies consider any opposition to the petroleum industry as a direct threat to national security.
Fortier, who also happens to be a very accomplished lawyer and former United Nations ambassador, was appointed to this position in August of 2013. Because of Fortier’s assignment to the complaint Paul Champ, a lawyer for the civil liberties association, wrote another letter to the committee letting them know Fortier’s involvement creates a situation where bias is involved.
The letter acknowledges the accomplishments and contributions Mr. Fortier has made to Canada. Even still, the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association wants their complaint to be taken seriously. They want it addressed in a way that is far beyond just showing disappointment or disapproval. They want justice to be served the right way. They want him off the review committee.
The executive director of the civil liberties association, Josh Paterson, wants the review committee to look over this complaint very carefully. He has said he hopes Mr. Fortier will have a change of heart and decide stepping down would be the right thing to do for all involved.
A request for comment has been sent to the review committee but they did not immediately respond. Other members who have been appointed to the review committee include Gene McLean and Deborah Grey. McLean is a private security specialist and Grey is currently serving as interim chairwoman.