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Canada’s top spy watchdog lobbying for Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline

Chuck Strahl in a photograph by the CBC

Chuck Strahl, Chairman of the federal body which oversees Canada’s spy agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), has registered to lobby on behalf of Enbridge’s ‘Northern Gateway Pipelines Limited Partnership’.

Two weeks before the December 19, 2013 decision of the National Energy Board’s Joint Review Panel on the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline Project, Strahl and his firm – Chuck Strahl Consulting Inc.– registered as a B.C. provincial lobbyist and listed the Enbridge subsidiary as his client starting December 6.

 Click on image to enlarge

Strahl’s registration declares that he is targeting B.C.’s Minister of Natural Gas Development, Rich Coleman, to arrange a meeting with representatives from Northern Gateway Pipelines on the subject of “Energy”. Strahl stated that he is lobbying on their behalf until June 2014.

"I do some contract work for Enbridge," Strahl told the Vancouver Observer. "I've registered just in case I arrange a meeting, but no meetings to report".

Strahl is a former Conservative Member of Parliament for the B.C. riding of Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon and was first elected in 1993. While in federal government, Strahl served as Minister of Agriculture, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Minister of Transport and Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons.

Strahl retired from politics in 2011 and was appointed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper to head the non-partisan and independent Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC) on June 14, 2012 for a five-year term.  He also serves as Director and Chairman of the Conservative party's Manning Centre, an organization "dedicated to building Canada's conservative movement".

Strahl replaced disgraced Chairman Dr. Arthur Porter, who is currently in a Panamanian jail facing a range of charges from money laundering, to taking kickbacks and conspiracy to commit fraud while acting as a middleman for SNC-Lavalin and other private business interests.

The Security Intelligence Review Committee reports to Parliament on all activities undertaken by CSIS – and with the exception of cabinet secrets, Strahl’s position affords access to all intelligence gathered by the organization. 

Strahl’s move to represent Enbridge confounds prior assertions which downplayed the circumstantial relationships between CSIS, its oversight committee and the private sector. Former CSIS Assistant Director Ray Boisvert said at one point to the Vancouver Observer that “there is no collaboration between intelligence organizations and private industry. That is against the law”.  Boisvert retired from CSIS in 2012 and is currently a security consultant in the private sector.

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