Spy watchdog chief under fire for ties to Enbridge

Former Transport Minister Chuck Strahl delivers a farewell speech in the House of Commons on...

Former Transport Minister Chuck Strahl delivers a farewell speech in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa March 24, 2011. (REUTERS/Chris Wattie)

Daniel Proussalidis, Parliamentary Bureau

, Last Updated: 6:11 PM ET

OTTAWA - The head of Canada's spy watchdog is facing a new call to resign his post, or stop lobbying on behalf of a large energy firm.

Chuck Strahl has been under fire for several days after registering as a lobbyist for Enbridge and its Northern Gateway pipeline project while serving as the part-time chairman of the Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC).

"Yes, the integrity of the oversight system requires no apprehension of bias," Independent MP and Strahl's former Conservative caucus colleague Brent Rathgeber said in an email Wednesday.

Critics have said Strahl could have access to CSIS intelligence on eco-terrorists who might target his client, Enbridge.

"Canadians expect and deserve the assurance that the body overseeing CSIS is doing so fairly and without bias," Rathgeber said. "Rightly or wrongly, that assurance has been compromised."

Intelligence expert Wesley Wark dismissed the concerns as "a manufactured story."


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