Hamilton man battling federal intelligence agency finally makes his case

Ken Stone has fought for two years to have his complaint heard by the CSIS review committee.

Ken Stone has fought for two years to have his complaint heard by the CSIS review committee

Ken Stone, a Hamilton anti-war and anti-racism activist, wrote an opinion piece about Iran and intelligence agents visited him. This week, he attended a much-awaited hearing into why that happened. (Courtesy Henry Evans-Tenbrinke)

A Hamilton man fighting the federal government intelligence agency over his right to lawful dissent had his complaint heard in Ottawa this week.

Ken Stone appeared before a citizen review panel Wednesday regarding a visit to his home two years ago by Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) agents. They questioned him on his views on Iran, shortly after Stone, a local anti-war activist, had written an opinion piece in the Hamilton Spectator called "Harper is wrong to demonize Iran."

He also visited Iran to attend a conference on Palestinian human rights in 2011.

On Jan. 30, 2013, he said, agents questioned him at his Hamilton home. Stone says he was "truly unsettled and frightened" by the visit, and has been pushing a government review ever since.

Stone is limited in what he can say about Wednesday's hearing, which came after a series of delays. He testified, as did two CSIS officials, at a Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC) hearing in Ottawa, he said. The SIRC board is comprised of political appointees who examine CSIS's operations.

Stone crowdfunded $1,250 to help pay for his travel costs and out-of-pocket expenses. Ottawa lawyer Bijon Roy represented him for free.

Stone will now wait months before he finds out about the results of the hearing. And the CSIS Act prevents him from elaborating on what happened behind the closed-door session.

But he said that overall, it went well.

"I was able to have my day in court and say everything I wanted to say," he said.

"I made it pretty clear to them that they should cease and desist from harassing people like me who are engaging in lawful dissent."

CBC Hamilton is pursuing comment from SIRC. However, the committee does not typically comment on individual cases, or even confirm when a hearing is taking place.