The Vancouver Sun reports, "Concerns are being raised about reports that former Conservative MP Chuck Strahl, who now oversees Canada's spy agency, is lobbying for Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline. ...In June 2012, Strahl was appointed chair of SIRC, which provides Parliament and the Canadian public with an external review of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and also investigates complaints concerning CSIS."
Last November, the Vancouver Observer noted, "Before the National Energy Board's Joint Review Panel hearings on the proposed Enbridge (Northern Gateway) oil pipeline, the NEB coordinated (with CSIS and the RCMP) the gathering of intelligence on opponents to the oil sands. The groups of interest are independent advocacy organizations that oppose the Harper government's policies and work for environmental protections and democratic rights, including Idle No More, ForestEthics, Sierra Club, EcoSociety, LeadNow, Dogwood Initiative, Council of Canadians and the People's Summit."
The Vancouver Observer now adds, "Critics condemned Strahl for taking on a lobbying position for Enbridge despite heading the nation's main spy watchdog. As SIRC Chair, he has access to virtually all intelligence gathered by the agency, including the surveillance of organizations and individuals opposed to pipelines. Due to the sensitive material that SIRC members are required to handle, they are sworn into the Queen's Privy Council, which includes Prime Minister Harper and current cabinet ministers with with whom he regularly interacts."
The Canadian Press highlights, "In a statement, New Democrat House leader Nathan Cullen says it should be common sense that Strahl -- someone on the federal payroll -- should not lobby for a pipeline seeking federal government approval."
Strahl's term as SIRC chair runs to June 2017.
The Harper government is expected to make its decision about the Northern Gateway pipeline by June 19. Enbridge says construction on the pipeline could begin this year and be operational by 2018.
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