Bruce Carson

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Bruce Carson
Nationality Canadian
Known for Fraud allegations
Political party Conservative Party of Canada (former advisor)
Criminal charge Fraud

Bruce Carson is a former aide and senior advisor [1] to the Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper. He was convicted of two counts of fraud, one was during the 1980s and again in 1990. His 1980 conviction resulted in prison time and his disbarment by the Law Society of Upper Canada for two counts of defrauding clients. Carson is now a contributor to numerous national publications, and a regular contributor to right-wing news aggregate, News Hub Nation, headed by former Conservative Cabinet Minister, Monte Solberg.

On July 27, 2012, Carson was charged with influence peddling by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. He was scheduled to attend a closed-door, judicial pre-trial October 17, 2012, and then make an appearance in remand court on October 22. However, due to a health problem, the trial was delayed. His trial is now scheduled to begin on May 26, 2014.[2]

In May 2014, Carson was further charged with three counts of prohibited lobbying and a single count of influence peddling. He was due in court to face these charges on June 18, 2014 in Ottawa. In November, 2016, an Ontario court found him guilty of the lobbying charges and imposed a $50,000 fine.[3]


Since his early 30s, Carson had numerous legal difficulties related to financial improprieties, most of which involved fraud or non-payment of obligations.

In 1978, Carson was ordered by a court judgement to pay a company over $1,900, stemming from a bounced cheque.[4]

In May 1979, Carson and his then-wife defaulted on their mortgage payments. This resulted in a Supreme Court of Ontario writ allowing possession of their property to be claimed by a savings and loan company. During that time, he was also sued by for $1,189.50 by the Hudson's Bay Company for unpaid merchandise.[4]

Early in the 1980s, he was disbarred by the Law Society of Upper Canada and sentenced to a jail term for defrauding clients on two occasions. In 1981, the disbarment finding summary stated that his "fiscal position had deteriorated due to a land development project in which he had become involved and due to an extravagant lifestyle."[4]

In 1980, Carson faced a court order to pay $3,000 plus interest for non-payment of funds on the lease of a Lincoln Continental.[4]

From 1984 to 1990, during John Turner's incumbency, the Liberal caucus research bureau pays Carson for freelance work.[4]

In 1990, while employment doing research for the Library of Parliament, Carson was charged with fraud involving Budget Car and Truck Rental and a 1989 Toyota. Also during that year, he was charged with both the Bank of Montreal and the Toronto-Dominion Bank, each for amounts greater than $1,000. In June of that year, he pleaded guilty to all three counts, and received a suspended sentence with 24 months probation, provided that he "continue treatment at the R.O.H. (Royal Ottawa Hospital)," and pay $4,000 in restitution to Budget Car and Truck Rental within 23 months.[4]

Later in the 1990s, Carson worked for the Progressive Conservative research service at the Ontario legislature, and for Conservative senators on Parliament Hill.[4]

Carson was declared a bankrupt in 1993 with a debt of over $103,000. In 2002, he had $369,000 in "liabilities" and agreed to what is termed a "proposal", a mitigating measure, an option to avoid bankruptcy which allows one to arrange to pay one's debts.[4]

Position as senior advisor to the Prime Minister, Stephen Harper[edit]

On February 6, 2006, he began employment with the Prime Minister's Office as an aide and senior advisor. Harper has stated that he did not know of Carson's convictions in the 1980s, or the fact that he had received court-ordered psychiatric treatment,[4][5] Carson left the Prime Minister's office in 2008.[5][6]

Employment at the Canada School of Energy and Environment[edit]

After leaving the Prime Minister's office in 2008, he began employment as executive director[4] of the Canada School of Energy and Environment on August 14, 2008. The institution was set up by the University of Calgary, the University of Alberta and the University of Lethbridge. It is funded by a grant from the Canadian federal government. The organization coordinates clean energy research. He returned to the Prime Minister's office for a short time in January 2009, then later that year, returned to the Canada School of Energy and Environment. [5] During his employment there, Carson accrued personal expenses, which the organization had to pay after his departure.[4]

Lobbying allegations[edit]

Carson was allegedly lobbying on behalf of H2O Pros, an Ottawa-based water company that had a financial connection to his fiancee. Carson is alleged to have been helping secure a contract involving the sale of water filtration systems to the Indian Affairs Department to First Nations in need of clean drinking water.[7] Carson was never registered as a lobbyist, and as a former political staff member, was prohibited from lobbying government agencies for five years after leaving office.[8] On March 25, 2011, head of H20 Global Group, Patrick Hill, denied that Carson had lobbied on his behalf.[4]

On February 6, 2009, during leave from his position as head of the Canada School of Energy and Environment, the Deputy Minister of Natural Resources Cassie Doyle received an email from Carson's account, lobbying for a $25 million grant on behalf of the organization. Carson stated later that the email was drafted before he returned to the Prime Ministers office, and that it had been sent accidentally.[4]

Carson was present at the signing of the contract, witnessing and initialing it. The contract guaranteed 20 percent of the gross profits go to Michele McPherson. McPherson is 22 years old,[4] his fiancee, and an alleged former escort. She is alleged to have acted as an intermediary.[5][5][7]

Letters expressing concern[edit]

In April 2011, Conservative Party officials released two letters that were sent by Stephen Harper's former chief of staff Guy Giorno two years earlier in January 2009 to the federal conflict of interest and ethics commissioner. The letters indicate that Carson, while working at the Prime Minister's office in 2009, may have been engaged in lobbying to secure a $25 million grant for the School of Energy and Environment. Carbon Management Canada eventually received the grant, an organization with which Carson is also affiliated. The letters also reveal that some of the senior staff members were concerned enough to alert the federal conflict of interest and ethics commissioners.[4]

Then Deputy Minister of the Environment Ian Shugart sent a third letter to the federal conflict of interest and ethics commissioner. However, Prime Minister Harper stated that before the 2010 claims that influenced peddling allegations, his senior staff had no prior knowledge of any controversial activity by Carson. Harper stated: "The fact is, I did not know about these revelations that we're finding out today. I don't know why I did not know."[4]

2012 influence peddling charges[edit]

On July 27, 2012, Carson was charged with influence peddling by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police's "A" Division Commercial Crime Section. The charge is formally known under the Criminal Code (Section 121(1)(d)) as "Fraud on the Government".[9]

The RCMP started the investigation in March 2011, after Prime Minister’s office provided a referral.[9] prompted by the publication of an APTN National News story that investigating and revealing that in 2010[10]

The single count of influence peddling is a result of Carson's alleged acceptance of commission for a third party connected to a business transaction related to the Canadian Government.[9]

The Prime Minister's office also asked that the Ethics Commission and Lobbying Commission both investigate Carson. Neither commission has yet to release the result of their probes.[7]

Carson was scheduled to appear at the Ontario Court of Justice in Ottawa on September 10, 2012.[9] His lawyer, Pat McCann, stated that Carson is not in custody, but has been summoned to surrender himself when he appears in court.[10]

On October 1, 2012, Carson appeared briefly in court in Ottawa to schedule dates for two future appearances. The first will be a closed-door, judicial pre-trial between party lawyers and a judge on October 17. The second will be an appearance in remand court on October 22. Patrick McCann, Carson's lawyer, declined comment while leaving the court.[11]

In May 2014, the RCMP laid a further four charges against Carson resulting from his lobbying for the Canada School of Energy and Environment and the Energy Policy Institute of Canada. The new charges are three counts of prohibited lobbying and a single count of influence peddling. He is due in court to face these charges on June 18, 2014 in Ottawa.[12]


  1. ^ "Travel and Hospitality Expenses Reports: Carson, Bruce, Senior Advisor (ending February 4, 2009): Travel Expenses - 2008". Retrieved 2012-07-29. 
  2. ^ DANIEL LEBLANC (2014-05-12). "Former Harper adviser Bruce Carson facing new charges". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2014-05-25. 
  3. ^ " Bruce Carson, former Harper aide, fined $50,000 for illegal lobbying". The Globe and Mail, from The Canadian Press, Nov. 04, 2016
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "The Bruce Carson controversy". Apr 7, 2011. Retrieved 2012-07-29. 
  5. ^ a b c d e "Ex-Harper aide Bruce Carson charged with influence peddling - Politics - CBC News". July 27, 2012. Retrieved 2012-07-29. 
  6. ^ "Former Harper aide Bruce Carson charged with influence peddling". Montreal Gazette. 2012-07-25. Retrieved 2012-07-29. [dead link]
  7. ^ a b c "Bruce Carson sent apologetic text message shortly before RCMP announced charge". APTN National News. July 27, 2012. Archived from the original on November 10, 2012. Retrieved 2012-07-29. 
  8. ^ CHLOÉ FEDIO (July 27, 2012). "Former PMO staffer, Bruce Carson, charged with influence peddling". The Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 2012-07-29. [dead link]
  9. ^ a b c d "Bruce Carson Charged with Fraud on the Government - Royal Canadian Mounted Police". Retrieved 2012-07-29. 
  10. ^ a b "Bruce Carson accusé de trafic d'influence" [Bruce Carson accused of influence peddling] (in French). Métro. 2012-07-18. Retrieved 2012-07-29. 
  11. ^ Archived from the original on October 4, 2012. Retrieved October 2, 2012.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. ^ Rennie, Steve (2014-05-12). "Mounties lay more illegal lobbying charges against former PMO aide Bruce Carson". Montreal Gazette. Retrieved 2014-05-25. 

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