Secret Agent Harper: Conservative Spy Games in Indian Country

Ok, I have to admit that had anyone told me that the Conservative government’s first order of business would be to pay half a million dollars to hire private detectives to spy on First Nations, I might have viewed them with some level of skepticism. After all, I am not naive enough to think that the Conservatives are not doing things we don’t know about, however, what is being reported sounds more like the plot for a conspiracy theory movie than reality in a liberal democratic country like Canada. Yet, it appears to be true. The Conservatives put a contract out for tender to hire private detectives to investigate First Nation band elections and will pay up to $500,000. My mind is still spinning. Honestly, I thought their last contract for tender to make Metis people CSA approved was a little on the paternalistic, controlling side, but this goes to the very core of the relationship between First Nations and the Crown. Canada is still treating First Nations as though they are enemies of the state – forgetting of course that this is OUR land and that we have agreed to share the land on the basis of our treaties. Nothing in our treaties provided for Canada to divide, control and assimilate us and they certainly do not provide for espionage in our own communities. The Conservatives have made their move – they are challenging our inherent right to be self-determining and may even hire First Nations people to be the ones to engage in these activities. After all, so many of our people are living so far below the poverty line that Canada ranks well below not only developed countries but even some developing ones. Canada’s own Auditor General has criticized Canada for failing to address First Nation poverty. Therefore, it would not be much of a shock for Canada to be able to find someone hungry enough to take one of these contracts. But have you noticed that any time the Conservatives get bad press for their abysmal failure with regard to First Nations, that all of sudden there is news about alleged corruption in First Nations? Time and time again, the Conservatives try to duck and avoid accountability for their lack of action by vilifying our people and turning Canadians against us. We are supposed to be rebuilding our relationship in a the post-apology era. Remember how Harper apologized on behalf of all Canadians for the assimilatory attitudes and ideology of cultural superiority towards First Nations? Canada continue to fail to live up to the honour of the crown and its fiduciary duty towards First Nations under the guise of empty apologies. We even get labelled as “insurgents” and “terrorists” if any of our impoverished conditions make it to the media. First Nations crisis in water becomes news, so we see allegations of lack of accountability in First Nations. Canada withdraws funding for Sisters in Spirit – more allegations of over-spending in First Nations. Now, Canada’s failure to address inequality in funding for First Nations is made public by their own Auditor General and surprise – we see a contract to hire PI’s (aka spies) to infiltrate our communities and look out for corruption in our elections. How hypocritical given the fact that the Conservatives were BOOTED from Parliament for lying – failing to be open, honest and accountable to the people. Now, if they continue to act this way would it be acceptable for First Nations to infiltrate the federal bureaucracy and spy on them to see if they are acting corrupt? I dare say we would be jailed faster than we already are – and that is saying alot given that all of our people – men, women and youth are over-represented in jail as it is. It should be noted that this is NOT because we are more likely to be corrupt or criminal, but is in part a symptom not only of extreme poverty but also of ongoing discrimination in the entire justice system. It is bad enough that the Conservatives want to invade our private space online and “correct” our  “misinformed” thoughts and conversations, but to seriously pay people to infiltrate our communities without our knowledge and consent to monitor our potential to engage in election corruption is taking their role too far. I can only assume that this contract is meant for some of Harper’s retired police officers who ran in the election and lost – seeing as all the Senate seats were given away to conservative losers already. You would never know that INAC was in a collaborative process with the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nation Chiefs (APCFNC) and the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) on electoral reforms under the Indian Act. I doubt very much they were apprised of this spy-for-hire contract. Time and again, the Conservatives criticize First Nations for being “overly aggressive” when dealing with the government, while at the same time stabs them in the back every single time First Nations do work with them. Our ancestors taught us to be proud of our identity and culture and to protect our communities. If we don’t stand up for ourselves now, what are we telling our children who will be watching and learning. If the suicide of our children is not enough to make us take notice, I am not sure what is. I don’t know about any of my readers, but the thought of Conservative spies crawling around any of the communities I love and cherish totally creeps me out. I think it is about time that ALL of our leaders stood up and said enough – regardless of where their national or regional organisations sit on the issue. If they wait for the women in our communities to do it – we will – but they might not like it when the power shifts permanently in our direction. UPDATE: No sooner did I post this blog, than the following article was posted which claims that documents from ATIP (Access to Information and Privacy) reveal that the Conservatives started their spying campaign against First Nations as soon as they came into power: I have not seen the actual documents, so I can speak to the veracity of this report – except to say, I may check my phone for bugs tonight…


  1. thank you so much for this informative article. I'm spreading it around as we speak. People NEED TO HEAR THIS!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Sounds typical, poor people need to vote, it is not right to say I don't care because your discouraged the way the government is going! We need to vote for a better government for our future generations! Thank you

  3. The conservatives are not friends of any group, First Nations or not. They see abject poverty, in cities and on the land, as only a confirmation of the goal they ultimately seek, of creating more inequality, more injustice and more control for themselves over the population. To wit, you cannot trust a destroyer when they say they come to help and in the case of Stephen Harper and his feckless MP toadies, their duplicitous behaviour, is like a draw full of forks.

  4. nothing new here Pam.. in fact.. many regimes have always used these tactics and historically, infiltrators have been hired both within and outside of our communities… our people continue to be hunted and that will continue as long as we are living and breathing… democracy, freedom and choice is nothing more than a mere illusion when it comes to our people.. and you are proof positive of that.. for the moment you raised your voice in opposition or concern or mere critical thought.. you became a target.. please don't ever be fooled about your place in their society.. with or without a law degree. no one is safe.

  5. The Gazette article doesn't link anymore. Did the Gazette take the article down? Are there other links to this story?

  6. That's the problem with online news articles, they are not hosted forever and links break as a result.

  7. Seems like the Cons are thinking their existing set of strategies for election fraud may not be enough next time. But I would think if they were looking for new tricks for stealing elections, there are better outfits to spy on.

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