Chuck Strahl

The Honourable
Chuck Strahl
Member of the Canada Parliament
for Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon
In office
June 28, 2004  May 2, 2011
Preceded by new riding
Succeeded by Mark Strahl
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Fraser Valley
In office
Preceded by new riding
Succeeded by riding abolished
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Fraser Valley East
In office
Preceded by Ross Belsher
Succeeded by riding abolished
Personal details
Born Charles Strahl
(1957-02-25) February 25, 1957
New Westminster, British Columbia
Political party Conservative
Other political
Reform (1993-2000)
Canadian Alliance (2000-2003)
Spouse(s) Deb Strahl
Children Mark Strahl
Residence Chilliwack, British Columbia
Alma mater Trinity Western University
Profession Businessman, politician
Portfolio Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities
Religion Christian and Missionary Alliance

Charles "Chuck" Strahl,[1] PC (born February 25, 1957) is a Canadian businessman and politician. He was a Member of Parliament from 1993 to 2011. First elected for the Reform Party, he was a prominent member of the Democratic Representative Caucus that ousted Stockwell Day as leader. When the Conservatives won power in 2006, he became a prominent cabinet minister and served as Minister of Agriculture, Indian and Northern Affairs, and Transportation.

On June 14, 2012, Strahl was appointed to serve a five-year term as chair of the Security Intelligence Review Committee, but resigned in controversy over conflict of interest accusations resulting from his lobbying efforts for oil and pipeline companies.[2]

Before politics

Strahl was raised in British Columbia's Interior, attended Trinity Western University, and worked for Cheam Construction, a logging and road building company owned by his father. Bill Strahl. Chuck Strahl and his siblings took over the business after their father died.

Member of Parliament (1993-2011)

Shortly after the business failed, Strahl ran for office under the Reform Party banner. He was first elected to office in the Reform Party sweep of the region in the 1993 election. He was re-elected in the 1997 and 2000 elections, running as a member of the Canadian Alliance, which had replaced Reform, in 2000. He represented Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon, a large riding comprising the Upper Fraser Valley, a primarily agricultural area of the province, and the Fraser Canyon-Lillooet-Bridge River regions, which are mostly wilderness with a resource-based economy and also, like the Chilliwack area, have a significant First Nations population. He held a number of shadow cabinet and committee positions.

Strahl rose to national prominence in the summer of 2001 when he was the leader and most outspoken member of a group of Canadian Alliance MPs that left the Alliance caucus and sat as members of the Democratic Representative Caucus.

Strahl's own leadership ambitions were frustrated due to his inability to speak French as well as the lingering distrust among many colleagues over the perceived disloyalty shown to his party in 2001. He attempted to launch a bid for the leadership of the Conservative Party, but was not able to secure enough financial or political support.[3] Strahl then supported Tony Clement in his failed leadership bid.

At the outset of the 38th Parliament of Canada in October 2004, Strahl was appointed Deputy Speaker and Chairman of Committees of the Whole under the new rules brought about as a result of the minority government situation.

Strahl was appointed Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) at the beginning of the 39th Parliament on 6 February 2006.[4] Strahl removed upwards of 20,000 farmers from the voters list in the midst of the 2006 election to the CWB. They were disqualified for such reasons as not having delivered any grain to the Wheat Board in the previous two years or not having produced enough wheat or malt barley to have generated significant enough income from which to subsist.[5] On 19 December 2006 he dismissed CWB president Adrian Measner, because "It's a position that [he] serves at pleasure. And that position was no longer his" because he displeased the Cabinet.[6]

Strahl was appointed Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians in a cabinet shuffle on 14 August 2007. He added to his responsibilities the title of Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency on 5 February 2010.[4]

Between 6 August 2010 and 18 May 2011, Strahl was Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities.[4]

Health problems

In August 2005, Strahl announced that he had lung cancer as the result of exposure to asbestos many years prior. The illness was diagnosed after one of his lung's collapsed twice.[7]

However, despite his health problems, he successfully ran for re-election in the 2006 election. He later held various positions in the Cabinet such as Minister of Agriculture, Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs, and Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities.

On March 12, 2011, Strahl announced he would not be seeking re-election in the upcoming federal election,[8] which was held on May 2, 2011.

Chair of Security Intelligence Review Committee (2012-2014) Controversy

On June 14, 2012, Strahl was appointed to serve a five-year term as chair of the Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC) - Canada’s spy agency watchdog. In January 2014, he resigned his position as chair after the media revealed that he was a registered lobbyist for the Enbridge Northern Gateway project.[9][10][11][12][13]

Former Tory MP Deborah Grey, already a SIRC member, was appointed as Stahl's successor by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Personal life

Strahl married in 1975 and has four children.

On March 18, 2011, Mark Strahl succeeded his father as nominee for the Conservative Party in the riding of Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon. The nomination process, which is usually four weeks, lasted only a week. Mark Strahl was endorsed by Preston Manning, former leader of the Reform Party of Canada, who said "Mark Strahl -- by virtue of his family background ... is well prepared for service in the House of Commons."[14]

Former Chilliwack city councillor Casey Langbroek said most Conservative Party members from the riding were upset and that the nomination process effectively barred 80% of party members from running. Party member Alex Moens said "High public office should not be like a family business, where it's passed on from father to son."[14][15]


  1. Chuck Strahl
  3. "Lack of money may prevent Strahl from entering Conservative leadership race". CBC News. 15 January 2004. Retrieved 2014-04-04.
  4. 1 2 3 "Canadian Ministry (Cabinet)"
  5. "dead link". Archived from the original on 2007-12-18. Retrieved 2007-08-27.
  6. "Strahl fires wheat board president". CBC News. 2006-12-19. Retrieved 2014-04-04.
  7. "Conservative MP Chuck Strahl has lung cancer". CBC News. 22 August 2005. Retrieved 2014-04-04.
  8. Ibbitson, John (March 12, 2011). "Day, Strahl call it quits as Tories clear deck for possible election". The Globe and Mail. Toronto. Retrieved 2014-12-10.
  9. Chase, Steven (January 24, 2014). "Canada's top spy watchdog resigns over lobbying questions". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2014-12-10.
  10. "Spy watchdog's registration for Northern Gateway lobbying under fire from NDP". The Globe and Mail. January 6, 2014. Retrieved 2014-12-10.
  11. "CSIS watchdog's Enbridge job". Democracy North. January 23, 2014. Retrieved 2014-12-10.
  12. "Chuck Strahl, CSIS Watchdog Chair, Registers As Northern Gateway Lobbyist". HuffPost Canada. January 6, 2014. Retrieved 2014-12-10.
  13. "'I'm no Arthur Porter': The four defences of Chuck Strahl By Sarah Schmidt". 2014-01-10. Retrieved 2014-03-02.
  14. 1 2 Paul Henderson. "Selection debacle dogs local Tory party".
  15. Michael Smyth (April 1, 2011). "Tories grumbling over fast-track nominations". The Province. Retrieved 2014-12-10.
28th Ministry – Cabinet of Stephen Harper
Cabinet Posts (3)
Predecessor Office Successor
John Baird Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities
from 6 August 2010 – May 2, 2011
Denis Lebel
Jim Prentice Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development
from 14 August 2007 – 6 August 2010
John Duncan
Andy Mitchell Minister of Agriculture
from 6 February 2006 – 14 August 2007
Gerry Ritz
Political offices
Preceded by
Bob Kilger
Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons & Chairman of Committees of the Whole
Succeeded by
Bill Blaikie
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