Bruce Carson, former PMO staffer, faces new charges
Accused of lobbying while prohibited and influence peddling
Bruce Carson, a former top adviser to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, is facing new charges related to his work on energy policy after he left the Prime Minister's Office in 2009.
A spokeswoman for the RCMP's national division says the Mounties last week charged Carson with three counts of lobbying while prohibited and one count of influence peddling.
Carson is to appear in an Ottawa court on June 18.
He was already facing a count of influence peddling and had his banking records seized as part of the investigation into his lobbying work, according to an affidavit filed in court by the RCMP last November.
In a statement, Carson's lawyer said he didn't understand how the police could charge Carson.
"I don’t have any details of the evidence yet. From what I do know, I have difficulty understanding the basis for these charges. My understanding is that Mr. Carson was simply attempting to gather support for the creation of a national energy policy," Patrick McCann said in an email to CBC News.
Carson left the Prime Minister's Office in February 2009, and headed up the Canada school of energy and environment at the University of Calgary. He was also one of two founding co-chairs of the Energy Policy Institute of Canada, or EPIC. The institute was created in August 2009 to gain support from private-sector leaders and academics and build support with the public before going to government with ideas for an energy strategy.
In the charges filed with the court, the RCMP allege Carson communicated with public officeholders, for payment, on behalf of EPIC in two separate instances:
- Between Aug. 13, 2009, and March 17, 2011.
- Between Aug. 25, 2010, and Sept. 17, 2010.
Police also allege Carson communicated with public officeholders, for payment, on behalf of the University of Calgary's school of energy and environment.
The influence peddling charge dates to the time between Aug. 26, 2009, and March 17, 2011, when the RCMP allege Carson "directly or indirectly" demanded or accepted "a reward, advantage or benefit" for work with officials at Natural Resources Canada and Environment Canada.
The allegations aren't proven and haven't been tested in court.
'Not in any way lobbying'
McCann said in a statement in March that Carson was "not in any way lobbying government or anyone else" and that if any charges were brought they would be "vigorously defended.”
In the affidavit filed last fall, the RCMP's national division alleged that emails obtained by the Mounties suggest Carson tried to lobby the most senior members of government and the bureaucracy, including the clerk of the Privy Council and Harper's former chief of staff Nigel Wright.
The emails, Const. Marie-Josée Robert alleges in court records, "are compelling examples establishing that Mr. Carson committed the offence of frauds on the government by having or pretending to have influence with the government or with a minister … or an official."
Carson also faces a separate charge of influence peddling after it was alleged that he told Ottawa-based water purification company H20 Pros that he could use his connections to arrange deals with First Nations communities.
With files from Dave Seglins