Spy watchdog chastised for registering to lobby on behalf of pipeline

The NDP is criticizing spy watchdog Chuck Strahl for registering to lobby on behalf of Northern Gateway Pipelines.

OTTAWA — The NDP is criticizing spy watchdog Chuck Strahl for registering to lobby on behalf of Northern Gateway Pipelines.

As the federally appointed chairman of the Security Intelligence Review Committee, Strahl helps keep an eye on the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

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 Dec. 6 registration with the B.C. Office of the Registrar of Lobbyists says he intends to arrange a meeting between the pipeline concern and B.C. Natural Gas Development Minister Rich Coleman.

Strahl, an MP from 1993 to 2011, served in several cabinet portfolios in Stephen Harper’s cabinet, most recently as transport minister.

The review committee’s last chairman, medical doctor Arthur Porter, resigned in November 2011 amid questions about his private business dealings.

Strahl did not immediately return phone calls Monday.

Regulators have conditionally approved Enbridge’s proposed $8-billion Northern Gateway pipeline, which would see Alberta crude flow to westward to Kitimat, B.C.

The federal government has not yet said whether it will allow the project to proceed.

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