Dr. Dawg

Cons and ex-cons: the Carson plot thickens

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…to the point of gluey viscosity.

Three years. That’s how long it’s been since Stephen Harper’s former chief of staff, Guy Giorno, apparently blew the whistle on Bruce Carson, writing to the federal ethics commissioner, Mary Dawson, twice in a matter of months. A third one followed, from a senior deputy minister.

The CBC notes:

All three letters pre-dated Carson’s current problems by two years.

Last month, the Prime Minister’s Office called in the Mounties to investigate allegations Carson may have illegally lobbied the government in 2010 on behalf of a water-filter company employing his girlfriend, a 22-year-old former prostitute.

But Harper was lying all along:

When that story broke, Harper and his senior staff all said they had no prior inkling there was anything amiss about Carson.

…Harper has said he was aware only that Carson had been sent to jail and disbarred as a lawyer for fraud more than 30 years ago.

The prime minister said he was under the impression Carson had since become an upstanding citizen with an exemplary career in government and politics.

In fact, by the time Carson became a senior adviser to Harper in 2006, he had been convicted on another three counts of fraud, had gone bankrupt twice and was repeatedly in arrears on his taxes up to and including the time he was working in the Prime Minister’s Office.

Then a few more twists and turns:

One thing that was no secret in Ottawa’s official circles in 2008 was Giorno’s intense dislike of Carson.

Almost immediately after Giorno arrived in the PMO, he converted Carson’s office into a common room for junior staffers.

But Harper’s trusty ex-con fell on his feet:

Carson promptly left to become head of a newly created think-tank in Calgary called the Canada School of Energy and Environment.

The agency was set up as a private corporation and funded entirely with a $15 million grant from the federal government.

Then came the 2008 election. Harper wanted his ex-con back, pronto. This may have triggered Giorno’s first letter to the ethics commissioner, the CBC reports.

After the election, Carson went back to his Calgary reward—but not for long:

[S]ix weeks later, he was back in the PMO to advise Harper during the coalition crisis that threatened to topple the newly elected Conservative government.

Sources say it was during that period Giorno wrote to the ethics commissioner again.

On Feb. 4, 2009, left for the last time, returning once again to his cushy job in Calgary. Then the story gets even more interesting:

Almost immediately, Carson rewrote the mandate of the agency from that of a research institute to a centre devoted to promoting the Alberta oilsands and helping the Harper government navigate the politically treacherous climate change issue.

Sources say Carson was also officially retained as an unpaid adviser to the federal Environment Ministry.

This was too much, it seems, for the deputy minister of the environment at the time, who wrote to the ethics commissioner himself.

It is not known whether Mary Dawson, another pliable Harper lapdog, took any action.

The stench emanating from Harper’s PMO™ is becoming insupportable. Stay tuned, and hope that this sordid play has its dénouement before E-day.

UPDATE: More. A document surfaces. [H/t Impolitical]

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This page contains a single entry by Dr. Dawg published on April 20, 2011 7:05 PM.

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