Chuck Strahl resigns as chairman of spy agency watchdog

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)

Jessica Hume, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:01 PM ET

OTTAWA — Former Tory minister Chuck Strahl has resigned as the part-time chairman of the Security and Intelligence Review Committee. Strahl came under criticism last month when it was revealed that he worked as a lobbyist for Enbridge, the energy company behind the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline that would carry oilsands crude to B.C.’s coast in Kitimat. “Despite the fact that my compliance with all relevant rules and regulations has been clearly demonstrated, I retired from politics three years ago and do not wish to be in the centre of the political fray,” he wrote in his resignation letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper. “Nor do I want to be a distraction from the important work the SIRC does every day in ensuring the security of Canadians.” The committee serves as the watchdog of CSIS, Canada’s spy agency. Harper announced former MP Deborah Grey will step in immediately as interim chairwoman. The NDP wasn’t impressed. "As usual, the Conservatives take action only after they’re caught,” House leader Nathan Cullen said.

Photos