Friday, March 18, 2011

Ethical tailspin follow-up & other notes

A few more points touching on the Bruce Carson allegations that are developing, about the improper lobbying of Indian Affairs for water contracts on behalf of a company that employed Carson's girlfriend. In this Star report, there is a suggestion that there are many Harper Government types now seeking to profit from their former ties to the government:
Other sources involved in representing First Nations groups to the federal government say that Carson’s alleged activities — boasting of special access to the government — is actually widespread, particularly among those who have been employed during Harper’s five-year reign.

“There are a number of people out there right now who are selling influence,” said one well-connected lobbyist. “(Carson’s) biggest problem comes from him bragging that he knows the Prime Minister.”
Another point, there is a thread in the reports that is coming through, an exploitative aspect to all this, captured here in Atleo's objection to what the H2O promoters were allegedly doing, warranting that AFN supported them:  
“I had understood that, as recently as back in October, there were first nations who alerted us that they were being told that I, or officials of the AFN, were endorsing or supporting this filtration system and we just made it very clear that that was not the case,” said Sean Atleo, the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations.

First nations leaders were allegedly being warned by the promoters of the H2O Pro system that new legislation before the Senate will require them to meet stringent drinking water standards but will 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 the systems.
A bit more on the circumstances of the water quality sought to be fixed by H2O:
The project involved water filtration systems for dozens of First Nations communities who are currently under orders to boil their water, according to the APTN report.
The AFN's discontent resulted in a "cease and desist" type of communication from AFN to Carson in October, referenced in the Star report, linked above.

One last thing, a link in Wells' item last night to an older piece on Carson mentions Conservative Keith Beardsley. Beardsley works at True North Public Affairs with a Sean Casey, a former Conservative candidate in 2004. Casey is presently registered as a lobbyist for "HELP CLEAN WATER," as was Bob Richardson (inactive now), also of True North. Casey's registration reads that the following departments are targets: "Infrastructure Canada, Prime Minister's Office (PMO), Transport Canada (TC)." Help Clean Water would need lobbying help in respect of this:
By April 8, 2009, both the Government of Canada and the Province of Ontario announced commitments of $50 million each to the Phase 1 implementation of the HELP Clean Water Initiative. The provision of Senior Government Funding to the Phase 1 of the Clean Water Initiative was provided through the Building Canada Fund - Major Infrastructure program, and will be implemented over the next five years.
Lots of water initiatives going around these days, it appears.