Chuck Strahl, CSIS Watchdog Chair, Federal Former Reform-Conservative MP, Registers As Northern Gateway Lobbyist

Chuck Strahl, CSIS Watchdog Chair, federal Former Reform-Conservative MP, Registers As Northern Gateway Lobbyist by The Huffington Post Canada, January 6, 2014
The head of the watchdog committee overseeing Canada’s spy agency has registered as a lobbyist for Northern Gateway pipeline builder Enbridge. Chuck Strahl, who served as a federal Reform and Conservative Party MP from 1993 to 2011 from British Columbia’s Lower Mainland, registered as a lobbyist with the B.C. government last month, according to documents uncovered by the Vancouver Observer. The Harper government appointed Strahl in 2012 to a five-year term as chair of the Security Intelligence Review Committee, an arm’s-length government agency tasked with overseeing the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS). According to B.C.’s lobbyist registry, Strahl’s consulting firm registered as a lobbyist of Enbridge’s Northern Gateway on Dec. 6, 2013, two weeks before a joint review panel recommended approving the project.

Strahl “is arranging a meeting with the Minister of Natural Gas Development on behalf of Northern Gateway Pipelines L.P.,” the lobbyist registry stated. The news raises questions about potential conflicts of interest between government agencies and the energy industry in the midst of a political struggle between environmental groups and energy companies over pipelines. According to documents obtained by the Guardian last fall, CSIS and other security agencies, including the electronic spy agency CSEC and the RCMP, have been participating in twice-yearly government briefings for the energy industry. At one such meeting held last May, lunch was sponsored by Enbridge, the company now employing Strahl as a lobbyist.

“What Stephen Harper has essentially done is to take the spy agencies of the federal government of Canada and put them at the service of private companies like Enbridge,” Green Party Leader Elizabeth May told the Observer last fall, following the revelations. As a former cabinet minister, Strahl is prohibited from lobbying the federal government for five years following his departure from office, but that doesn’t extend to lobbying provincial governments, the Observer reports. Strahl came under accusations of conflict of interest during last year’s B.C. provincial election, when Premier Christy Clark thanked him for “actively helping us on this campaign.” As head of the SIRC, Strahl is barred from political campaigning. Following complaints from opposition parties, Clark recanted her statement, saying Strahl had “stepped back” from political activities. [Emphasis added]

[Refer also to:

Ottawa RCMP and wife charged with keeping 11-year-old imprisoned in basement by Meghan Hurley, February 14, 2013, Ottawa Citizen
An RCMP officer accused of beating and sexually abusing a child hung his head in the prisoner’s box as a Crown prosecutor outlined the horrifying allegations against him during his first appearance in an Ottawa court Thursday. The 41-year-old Mountie and his 34-year-old wife are accused of aggravated sexual assault, failing to provide the necessaries of life and forcible confinement after a child abuse investigation. The Mountie was remanded into custody until Friday, when he is expected to be examined by a psychiatrist. According to police sources, the charges come after an 11-year-old was found wandering an Ottawa neighbourhood, starving and dehydrated. The child is believed to have been confined with shackles and handcuffs in a basement for several months. The child’s injuries are still being assessed, sources say. … Ottawa police said the officer was arrested Tuesday after an investigation at his residence. He is charged with three counts of aggravated assault, three counts of assault with a weapon, and one count each of aggravated sexual assault, failing to provide the necessities of life and forcible confinement. The woman is charged with three counts of aggravated assault, two counts of assault with a weapon, and with failing to provide the necessaries of life and forcible confinement.

As of Wednesday the man was suspended with pay from his service as an RCMP officer and an internal investigation was underway, said Cpl. Lucy Shorey of RCMP A Division. The officer has also not been on active duty since May of 2011. Shorey said she could not give details about why the man hasn’t been on active duty, how long the man has worked for the RCMP or in what capacity for several reasons, including wanting to protect the identity of the youth involved. [Emphasis added]

RCMP officer and wife face multiple charges in child abuse investigation byThe Canadian Press, February 14, 2013, The Globe and Mail

Watchdog says RCMP’s problem is bullying, not sexual harassment In order to protect the identity of the victims, names of the couple have not been released, police say. Nor will they say how many children were involved. “There is more than one but we’re not (saying) how many,” said Ottawa police acting Staff Sergeant Francois D’Aoust. A police official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the person isn’t authorized to speak publicly, said the investigation was launched after an 11-year-old child was discovered wandering in a residential neighbourhood. It’s believed handcuffs were used to keep the child for months in the basement of a house, the source said. [Emphasis added]

Ottawa Mountie, woman back in court on child abuse charges by CBC News, February 15, 2013
Police sources told CBC what police found was “the worst case of abuse police have seen.” … The accused officer stood silently in court on Friday, staring at the floor and clutching a white piece of paper. He was remanded into custody after his appearance and he will appear again by video link on Tuesday. The woman, wearing a grey sweatshirt and a white scrunchie in her hair, appeared in a separate courtroom Friday afternoon by a video link. She was remanded into custody as well, and she will also appear in court via video link on Tuesday. The names of the accused have not been released to protect the identity of the victims, police said. There is also a court-ordered publication ban on the names of the accused and victims. … Ottawa police Supt. Tyrus Cameron said police are concerned anything revealing the identity of the victims would “re-victimize” them. “They are victims of horrific abuse,” said Cameron. … The RCMP said the officer has been on leave since May 2011, but the reason for that is under a court-ordered publication ban.

Police sources also told CBC News the man worked for the force’s counter-terrorism unit. [Emphasis added]

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