APTN National News
OTTAWA–The RCMP has again charged Bruce Carson, a former aide to Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
The RCMP said in a statement Monday that Carson was charged last week with three counts of illegal lobbying and one count of influence peddling.
The charges stem from his lobbying activities on behalf of the Canada School of Energy and Environment (CSEE) and the Energy Policy Institute of Canada (EPIC). Both organizations were headquartered in Calgary.
Carson is scheduled to appear in court to face his most recent charges on June 18. He was once a close friend and senior aide to Harper. Carson was also once acting chief of staff in the Prime Minister’s Office.
Carson is scheduled to publish a book in June about his time behind the curtain of power.
Carson was appointed by the Harper government to head CSEE which was given $15 million by Industry Canada. The aim of the organization, which was linked to the University of Calgary, was to study and develop energy policy.
Carson was one of the founders of EPIC which is an energy industry think tank that is currently headed by Daniel Gagnier, the co-chair of the federal Liberal party’s 2015 election campaign.
Carson is scheduled to go to trial at the end of this month on a separate count of influence peddling related to his efforts on behalf of an Ottawa-based water filtration company seeking to sell its products to First Nation communities suffering from dirty water. The company had a financial arrangement with Carson’s then-fiancee.
The investigation which led to the latest charges was handled by the RCMP’s Sensitive and International Investigations unit. It was triggered by Lobbying Commissioner Karen Shepherd who sent a letter of complaint, dated July 13, 2013, to the RCMP.
Shepherd alleged in the letter that Carson lobbied during the five year cooling off period required by law for designated public office holders. Carson left the PMO in 2009. Shepherd’s letter also alleged that Carson illegally lobbied for both EPIC and CSEE.
RCMP investigators believe Carson’s alleged illegal lobbying proved fruitful for EPIC. It allowed the organization to obtain $13,000 from Natural Resources Canada and to get its policy papers and ideas into the hands of decisions makers like Christian Paradis, who was natural resources minister at the time, Jean Charest, provincial energy ministers and senior federal officials.
According to emails obtained by the RCMP, EPIC’s board knew Carson’s connections were of immense benefit to the organization.