By Jorge Barrera
APTN National News
OTTAWA–Bruce Carson, a former senior adviser to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, is expected to publish a “rare, behind-the-scenes account” of his time near the centre of political power at about the same time his trial on a charge of influence peddling wraps up.
Carson’s book, 14 Days: Making the Conservative Movement in Canada, is expected to be published sometime in June, according to a spokesperson for McGill-Queen’s University Press. While the book is listed with a May publishing date, Jacqueline Michelle Davis said Carson’s health and legal issues pushed the date back.
Carson’s judge-only trial begins on May 26 and is expected to run until June 6. Carson is also under an RCMP investigation for illegal lobbying.
Carson is facing an influence peddling charge stemming from a now shuttered Ottawa water company’s plan to sell filtration systems to First Nation reserves grappling with clean water woes. The company had a financial arrangement with Carson’s then fiancée Michele McPherson, a former Ottawa escort.
Carson’s trial was originally set for July 22, 2013, but the discovery of a suspected growth on his lung forced its postponement. He underwent surgery last July 15.
Carson was once a confidant of Harper’s and the Conservative government forked over $15 million to create a think-tank in Calgary, the Canada School of Energy and Environment, that the former PMO aide ended up leading. Carson was heavily involved in designing the country’s energy strategy, including the promotion of the tar sands, and was a founding member of the Calgary-based Energy Policy Institute of Canada (EPIC). The organization, which is funded by energy firms, is now led by Liberal leader Justin Trudeau’s senior adviser Daniel Gagnier, who was on EPIC’s board during Carson’s time.
The RCMP is investigating Carson over his alleged illegal lobbying on behalf of EPIC.
At the height of his prominence, Carson straddled the power centres in Alberta and Ottawa.
Carson was also a primary, on-the-record source for at least two books on Harper by prominent journalists. Lawrence Martin’s Harperland and Paul Wells’ As Long as I’m Prime Minister both relied on Carson’s insider knowledge to weave their Harper tales.
Now Carson is spilling the beans in his own book which is described as a “first-hand look into the backrooms of the conservative movement in Canada,” according to a description of the book in the McGill-Queen’s spring catalogue. Carson’s book will focus on 14 days between 1993 and 2013 that defined the Conservative party’s rise from its ashes following its devastation by the Chretien Liberals.
The events in the book will be “presented from a point of view of an outspoken witness and an active participant,” according to the description. The book claims that Carson will “candidly” share information on the Harper government’s handling of the Afghan detainee scandal, the Cadman affair and the inquiry into Karlheinz Schreiber’s dealings with former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.
The Afghan detainee issue revolved around whether the Harper government or the Canadian military knew captured suspected Taliban detainees were being tortured after they were transferred into the hands of Afghan military or intelligence.
The Cadman affair involved the late Independent MP Chuck Cadman who allegedly declined an offer from the Conservatives to vote against the minority Martin Liberal government in exchange for a $1 million insurance policy.
Harper has denied Cadman, who was dying, was offered any insurance policy.
On the Schreiber front, Harper called an inquiry into the German arms dealer’s dealings with Mulroney after it emerged the two met three times in a hotel where about $300,000 in cash found its way into the former prime minister’s hands.
At the time, Harper tapped current Gov. Gen. David Johnston to craft the terms of reference for the inquiry, which was headed by Jeffrey Oliphant. Johnston came up with strict parameters for the inquiry that excluded probing the purchase of Airbus planes by Air Canada. Schreiber made $20 million in commissions from that sale.
“A rare, behind-the-scenes account of the Harper Conservatives from opposition to government,” reads the catalogue. “(The book) provides a vivid portrayal of all participants and will be eagerly read by anyone interested in the government’s inner circle.”