Aboriginal Affairs Department spying on children’s advocate

A first nations' youth advocate says she has proof that the federal government is spying on her.

As part of an ongoing dispute with the Aboriginal Affairs Department, Cindy Blackstock, who heads the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, filed a federal Access to Information request to learn what information the government had on her.

To her surprise, Aboriginal Affairs has been following her very closely.

The department's 'Blackstock' file came in a thick binder and contained emails and notes about her personal information and briefings about her public activities and speeches.

"They have found it necessary to not only put one employee onto tailing, but if you look at the records there are numerous employees on the government payroll who are being asked to comment on what I am doing or to violate my privacy by going on my personal Facebook pages," Blackstock told APTN News National.

"Not only had they been on my personal Facebook page, but they had a government employee go to their home at night and log in as an individual, not as the government of Canada…and go onto my Facebook page and take a snapshot of it and then have that in a government of Canada log."

Blackstock claims her relationship with the department changed in 2007, when her organization filed a human rights complaint against the federal government claiming discrimination against First Nation children.

More recently, Blackstock's organization joined Kairos, a faith-based organization in an appeal to the UN to hold the federal government accountable for its treatment of First Nations children.

Despite her public grievances, however, Blackstock says the government has gone too far.

"In a country like Canada you don't expect government's to follow (you)," she argues.

In statement to APTN, the Aboriginal Affairs Department refused to comment on the Blackstock file but admitted that the department "routinely monitors and analyzes the public environment as it relates to the department's policies programs, services and initiatives."

"We do this to do a better job in service delivery and policy development," noted the statement.

"Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are public forums, accessible to all."