Ex-Harper aide charged with illegal lobbying, influence peddling

by: Obert Madondo | May 18, 2014

Obert Madondo, Editor, The Canadian Progressive

Obert Madondo, Editor, The Canadian Progressive

The RCMP last week charged Bruce Carson, a former aide to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, with illegal lobbying and influence peddling.

This is further confirmation that Harper is the world’s worst talent scout. Even more interesting is the fact that the charges against Carson mirror the Harper government’s petrostate-style support of Big Oil and the Alberta tar sands.

As CTV News reports:

Carson has been charged with three counts of lobbying while prohibited and one count of influence peddling in relation to his work for the Canada School of Energy and Environment, as well as the Energy Policy Institute of Canada…

Meanwhile, Carson is awaiting trial on a separate charge of influence peddling, which is also referred to as “fraud on the government,” over allegations that he accepted a commission for a third party in connection with a business matter relating to the government.

Canada’s criminal code and certain lobbying laws forbid lobbying for five years after leaving public office. Carson went straight to work right after leaving Harper’s PMO. He lobbied top federal Conservatives, reportedly to influence a new energy strategy for Canada.

Carson also worked with Big Oil and the Harper government to bolster the climate change denial movement, and green the dirty oil and gas industry. He’s been working hard to kill environmentalists’ justified tar sands criticism, and call for action on climate change. Carson reportedly pocketed millions.

The charges against Carson prove, once again, that Harper is a terrible judge of character.

In March, the Supreme Court of Canada rejected Harper’s appointment of Marc Nadon to the Supreme Court. In a historic 6-1 decision, current justices ruled that Nadon was unqualified to join them. He did not meet the legal requirements set for Quebec appointees to Canada’s highest court under the Supreme Court Act.

Also in March, Dimitri Soudas, Harper’s former communications director and confidante, was fired as Conservative Party executive director. His fiancé, Mississauga-Brampton South MP Eve Adams, faced a tough nomination fight in the newly-created riding of Oakville-North Burlington. Soudas tried influence the nomination battle.

Then there is the Senate expenses scandal. I blogged about this one already:

Three of the four senators implicated in the scandal – Pamela Walin, Mike Duffy and Patrick Brazeau – were Harper appointees.

Patrick Brazeau, Harper’s star Aboriginal appointee, was ousted from the Conservative caucus, after being charged with assault and sexual assault. Subsequently, he was suspended from the democratically-challenged institution, and then, recently, charged by the RCMP for breach of trust. Brazeau now works at Barefax Gentlemen’s Club here in Ottawa.

Not long ago, Marjory LeBreton, the former Conservative leader in the Senate, characterized Brazeau’s appointment as “an experiment gone wrong.” Harper’s botched experiment.

Harper appointed Mike Duffy to the Senate in 2008. The former journalist fell after fraudulently claiming more than $298 000 from the government. Before the fall, the former journalist was one of the Red Chamber’s top 10 spenders.

The Duffy scandal exposed the rotten core of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) under Harper. Harper’s ex-chief of staff Nigel Wright tried to kill the Senate expenses scandal. He cut that $90,000 cheque which paid off Duffy’s fraudulent claims.


Obert Madondo is an Ottawa-based progressive blogger, and the founder and editor of The Canadian Progressive. Follow him on Twitter.com/Obiemad

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Obert Madondo

Publisher and editor
Obert Madondo is an Ottawa-based independent journalist and progressive political blogger. He's the publisher and editor of The Canadian Progressive.