Bruce Carson, a former top aide to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, spent eight months lobbying the Department of Aboriginal Affairs on behalf of two affiliated water-purification companies and commissions from those pitches were to go to the woman he planned to marry, documents filed by the RCMP allege.
Court documents obtained Monday outline details of the charge of influence peddling laid last week against Mr. Carson, 66. The RCMP alleges that Mr. Carson was improperly using his government connections between July 16, 2010 and March 17, 2011, the day after the scandal became public as a result of an investigative report by the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network.
When the APTN confronted the Prime Minister’s Office with its findings, Mr. Harper’s staff turned the matter over to the police.
The court documents say Mr. Carson “did directly or indirectly demand a benefit for Michele McPherson from H2O Water Professionals Incorporated and H2O Global Group Incorporated as consideration for co-operation, assistance [and] exercise of influence with a matter of business relating to the government, namely Indian Affairs and Northern Development Canada.”
Ms. McPherson, who was then 22, was Mr. Carson’s fiancée and a former escort who worked at H2O Water Professionals, also known as H2O Pros. Mr. Carson is alleged to have lobbied the government to promote the Ottawa-based company’s water-purification systems for use on aboriginal reserves. In exchange, Ms. McPherson would allegedly have received 20 per cent of all gross revenues from the sales of the units.
Mr. Carson’s lawyer, Patrick McCann, was unavailable for comment on Tuesday but told The Canadian Press last week that his client intends to “vigorously defend the allegation.”
Mr. Carson, who was a top aide to Mr. Harper between 2006 and 2009, met in January, 2011 with two officials in the office of John Duncan, the minister of Aboriginal Affairs, to discuss the proposal by the H2O Global Group.
About the same time, first nations leaders were being warned that legislation before the Senate would require them to meet stringent drinking water standards but would provide no resources to do so. The communities were allegedly told that government connections could be used to find money for the equipment and training if they purchased one of the units.
The legislation died when the Conservative minority government fell prior to last year’s election but a similar bill has since been reintroduced in the House of Commons.
The charge laid against Mr. Carson last week is not the first time he has had a run-in with the law. He was disbarred as a lawyer in 1981 and sentenced to 18 months in jail two years later after being convicted on five counts of fraud.
Mr. Harper has said he was aware of some of Mr. Carson’s background but not all of it and would not have allowed him to work in his office had he known the full details of his past.