Strahl has stated he would recuse himself from any SIRC oversight of CSIS operations as they pertain to Enbridge - which not only doesn't seem very useful in a watchdog chair but could have been a useful reason to appoint Strahl to SIRC in the first place. Anytime SIRC is looking into whether CSIS is complying with the law in operations Strahl has a financial interest in, Strahl will be out in the hall.
- if the Harper government as a whole didn't behave like pro-pipelines lobbyists and activists themselves,
- if CSIS, the spy agency which SIRC oversees, didn't spy on anti-pipelines activists, and
- if CSIS director Richard Fadden hadn't publicly expressed concerns in 2010 about "public officials and cabinet ministers in BC/Alberta being under the influence of China"
Kady O'Malley pointed out that Strahl however is only one of five SIRC board members.
Ok. How many of the other four of Steve's SIRC appointments also have grounds to be out in the hall when any oversight of CSIS operations re pipelines activities come up?
Denis Losier - appointed to SIRC from 2008-03-17 to 2014-03-16 is a member of the board at Enbridge Gas NB, a subsidiary of Enbridge Inc.
L. Yves Fortier - appointed to SIRC from 2013-08-08 to 2018-08-07 is a former director at TransCanada Pipelines
Deborah Grey - appointed April 2013 to April 2018
I don't know how former Chilliwack MP Strahl came to lobby for the First Nations Frog Lake Energy Resources in Alberta. Possibly through his contacts as Minister of Aboriginal Affairs or via the former SIRC chair till 2010 Gary Filmon, who is on the board of directors of Canadian Natural Resources Ltd which Frog Lake Energy Resources thanks as a partner. But fun fact - before Grey and Strahl led a Reform breakaway group together opposed to Stockwell Day in 2001 and prior to her distinguished career as a Reform MP, Deborah Grey was a high school teacher for ten years at Frog Lake Indian Reserve.
The fifth member, Frances Lankin's term is up this month. As CEO of United Way Toronto from 2001 to 2011, probably her partnership with Enbridge in the annual Enbridge CN Tower Stair Climb for United Way fundraiser would not be enough to put her in the hall.
It will be interesting to see who Steve nominates to replace her.
In his remarks to the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence three weeks ago, Strahl tentatively endorsed a parliamentary oversight committee of intelligence agencies as recommended by Justices O'Connor and Iacobucci and like other Five Eyes partners have. "Not reinventing the wheel," he said, " just filling in the missing bits" - possibly alongside SIRC, with the proviso that such a body should retain independence of the minister. He did however mention this caveat if such a body is peopled by MPs:
"... careful of what you ask for because you might actually get it. In this case, once you're privy to top-secret information, you can no longer stand for your constituents or your region or your province or anyone else and say, "I am appalled at what's happening in whatever," because now you are privy to top-secret information you're not allowed to talk about."I blogged about his testimony at the time - which impressed me with its forthrightness - but I recommend reading the full transcript yourself, via Lux ex Umbra, your one-stop for all things spooky.