Do the names Bruce Carson or the Canada School of Energy and Environment (CSEE) ring a bell? I’m guessing not.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper made convicted fraudster Bruce Carson a top adviser and point person on sensitive files including the oilsands and Afghanistan.
Stephen Harper is well acquainted with Carson, a man the RCMP describe as “one of the Prime Minister’s longest serving advisers”. From 2009 – 2011 Carson, Nigel Wright (Harper’s Chief of Staff who resigned in 2013 over the Mike Duffy Senate scandal) and a cluster of energy industry CEOs ran CSEE at the University of Calgary.
In 2007 the Conservative government budgeted $15 million tax payer dollars to the University of Calgary for creation of a university “think-tank” exploring smart energy research. University president Harvey Weingarten and climate change scientist David Keith had pitched the idea to Harper’s senior policy adviser Bruce Carson. (who happened to be on loan to Environment Canada, mending fences in the wake of Canada’s refusal to honour the Kyoto Protocol on climate change). Fast forward a year – Carson leaves the Prime Minister’s office for his new position at U of C, executive director of CSEE. Never mind his lack of energy or academic credentials, apparently a fruitless international recruitment search deemed Carson the best man for the job.
Immediately apparent was a “centre of excellence for Canada research, policy and advice”, supposedly focused on developing clean energy and protection of the environment, doing nothing of the sort. Carson steered CSEE away from clean energy research, setting the stage for what ” became a front for industry lobbying and government propaganda at taxpayers expense’. Clean energy research, replaced by flagrant partisan objectives to rid public perceptions of “dirty oil”.
Bruce Carson was known for referring to himself as the”mechanic”, a “political fixer who got things done in the corridors of power”. Stephen Harper wasn’t bothered by Carson’s criminal past, a good mechanic is worth their weight in gold. The Law Society of Upper Canada disbarred Carson in the 80s for defrauding clients of countless dollars. In 1990 Carson pleaded guilty to defrauding a car rental agency and bank out of thousands more dollars. Of note – 9 of the 15 million dollar federal operating grant for CSEE was allocated towards Carson’s salary, travel and operating expenses.
Carson’s latest criminal charge, “influence peddling” has gone to trial and is waiting judgement. Pull up your panties Canada, it’s about to get juicy.
Between 2010/11 Ottawa water filtration company H2O Pros wanted to sell filtration systems to First Nations people. (You know, those aboriginal communities who’ve had to boil drinking water for 17 years). For Carson’s assistance in the matter, a cut of H2O sales would go to Michelle McPherson, Carson’s 22 year old fiancee, a former “escort” worker 44 years younger than Carson. Carson who worked with Indian Affairs and Northern Development and co-chaired a task force on native land claims pleaded not guilty, electing for trial by judge not jury. Below, excerpts of Carson’s statements to RCMP following his arrest –
“There was nothing done here that was in my view untoward at all and to end up being in this situation where the time of a whole lot of people is being taken up because of this, I’m profoundly sorry, I am just sick over the whole thing,” he told two police interrogators in a meeting arranged by his lawyer McCann.
“I never thought when Michele mentioned this to me we would ever be in this kind of a situation,” said Carson, now unemployed. “The whole thing completely threw me.”
Michele McPherson: at age 22 she became Bruce Carson’s live-in girlfriend and business partner selling water filtration systems to First Nations reserves. The business collapsed when RCMP charged Carson with influence peddling.
Obvious doesn’t need to be beaten on the head – stop Stephen Harper. Read the full story written by Andrew Nikiforuk in The Tyee.