Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Priministerial Aide

Off and running and right into a tree,  the 'Harper Government' of Canada comes wallowing out of the blocks and right into another cabinet-style embarassment.

About a month back newspapers were carrying a story that the Assembly of First Nations had asked police to investigate the possible malfeasance of one Bruce Carson, who, at that time, was putting himself across to them as someone with inside connections to the Tory government. He had involved himself in the sale of some water filtration equipment and  was 'hyping' the deal with news that water quality was becoming a government 'priority' for first nations reserves and that he could access government money for equipment and training. He was also engaged in erroneously 'hyping' a particular filtration system to Indian band councils as being 'approved by the government and the AFN'. He might have failed to mention that his girlfriend, working for the company involved, stood to pick-up a 20 percent commission on sales. 


Turns out that his girlfriend is a reformed Ottawa area 'escort' and former teen prostitute. Bruce had , apparently taken her 'under his wing', helped her get out of 'the life'. Helped her land  a job. They had also become engaged and moved into a new house together. But that's the interesting part of the story. Since the story broke there are, so far, only trace elements of her previous existence on the internet.
                                                                                   The 'pied a terre'

The rest of the story is more mundane.

 Carson, a former lawyer who was disbarred and spent some time in jail for a small fraud, has been a denizen of Tory caves in Ottawa since Harper came to power. He has had a number of functions tangential to government, acting as an aide and advisor. One of his more interesting appointments was as  the policy chief on the Afghanistan deployment of Canada's Armed forces. Carson's job, at that time, was to receive and review daily reports from Afghanistan, to prepare a briefing digest for the Prime Minister and to advise on policy ramifications. It is said that he had 'secret' level security clearance, but reports from the military operation that he received must have been at a higher level than that, considering that one of the 'biggies' he handled was the matter of possible war crimes charged by returning military personnel. How a convicted fraudster managed to attain such status, is a question on which the Harper Government seems to be doing the 'cabinet shuffle'. They've blamed an anonymous clerk and, of late,  said the outgoing 'Staff' of the Mounties did it - but he denies that. It's looking more like nobody vetted Mr. Carson at all. And this gaffe won't be solved by tossing another aide under the dumptruck. It's even better than the 'Minister of War' dropping his brief at his girlfriend's house, for Harpo, himself, gave Bruce his jobs.

In the interim, Carson has had to step down from his latest appontment as the executive Director of the Canadian School of Energy and Environment. The CSEE is a government creation, a multi-institutional panel to collect studies on energy and the environment. A viable alternative to actually doing anything about energy and the environment, no doubt. Carson took that job late in 2008.

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