Harper government pressed to investigate Strahl scandal
Formal complaints demand an investigation into Strahl's dual role as spy watchdog and Enbridge lobbyist. The NDP is also demanding a review of SIRC and the immediate reinstatement of the CSIS Inspector General, a position dismantled by the Harper administration in 2012.
“It is alarming to many Canadians that the Chair of the CSIS oversight committee is engaged in this kind of lobbying,” NDP House Leader Nathan Cullen said. “The government must take quick action to show that our national spy agency is properly monitored – and restore Canadians’ faith in the impartiality of civilian oversight.”
The letter raises concerns over the performance of Strahl's duties as Chair of the Security Intelligence Review Committee and requests that Minister Blaney investigate the activities of the chair and members of the Security Intelligence Review Committee under section 54 (2) of the Canadian Security Intelligence Act.
"Canadians are concerned that Mr. Strahl, a former senior Conservative Minister handpicked to replace disgraced previous Conservative-appointed SIRC Chair Arthur Porter, is now lobbying for a pipeline seeking federal government approval while being compensated by the federal government," said Garrison, who also suggested that lobbying any level of government is incompatible with the role of an oversight body related to national security.
"This latest controversy comes on the heels of earlier reports of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) caught spying on behalf of natural resource companies – spying on Canadians opposed to the pipeline that Mr. Strahl is paid to lobby for," writes Garrison. "This apparent conflict of interest serves to further undermine Canadians’ confidence in the fairness of the pipeline approval process, the activities of the SIRC Chair in his capacity as lobbyist for Enbridge Northern Gateway and the impartiality of the Review Committee".
"We are particularly concerned about his relationship with Enbridge since it has been recently alleged that CSIS engaged in surveillance activities on British Columbian Aboriginal leaders and environmental groups who have voiced opposition to Enbridge’s NGP application," said Murray.