The federal Conservative government has appointed a former Tory cabinet minister as The Royal Westminster Regiment's new honorary lieutenant-colonel.
Former Chilliwack MP Chuck Strahl, who was born in New Westminster, has been appointed to a three-year term by Minister of National Defence Peter MacKay.
Strahl served as minister for agriculture, Indian and northern affairs, transport, and infrastructure and communities in the minority governments of Prime Minister Stephen Harper. He was first elected as a member of the Reform Party in 1993.
In his role as honorary lieutenant-colonel, Strahl will serve as a link between the community and the Canadian armed forces along with Karen Baker-MacGrotty, the regiment's honorary colonel.
"As an honorary officer, Lt-Col Strahl will work to make the strong bonds that unite the regiment and the various communities in the County of Westminster even stronger," said Baker-MacGrotty in a press release. "Our solders' unselfish service and personal sacrifice often go unnoticed and through liaison with the community, we hope to build stronger links and raise awareness. This is especially important at this time with members of the regiment having returned from active service in Afghanistan and the Sudan. They are reuniting with families and transitioning back into the work force."
Strahl, 55, was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2005 which has been attributed to exposure to asbestos. He did not run in the 2011 federal election and was succeeded by his son Mark as the MP for Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon.