Saturday, March 19, 2011

Operation Distance Harper from former Harper senior adviser Bruce Carson

Harper today was remarkably all about his former senior adviser Bruce Carson being a private citizen:
Harper said Saturday that, "Mr. Carson is now a private citizen and his actions relate to his activities as a private citizen."
Further, he wants to know more facts about his pal Bruce Carson's activities: "Harper wants more info on allegations against ex-adviser." For once, I agree with Mr. Harper. I want more information too about the allegations surrounding the lobbying of Indian Affairs for water contracts. I suspect that's not going to be a problem and really, there's already some interesting stuff that's out there for an inquisitive Prime Minister. APTN had a bunch of emails they disclosed last night, among Carson, various Indian Affairs officials, etc.
With Atleo in tow, Carson then proceeded to approach Indian Affairs. In an Aug. 19 email Carson, using his University of Calgary address, wrote Gail Mitchell, the department’s director general of community and infrastructure and another official.

“I have been working with National Chief Atleo and his staff on water quality solutions on reserves – and have been directed to both of you as the folks at INAC to deal with on this issue,” he said. “I was wondering if the representatives of this company and myself could meet with you to explain the system and find out how best to get involved in the government initiative of providing clean drinking water on reserves.”

That day, Mitchell asked her officials to set up a meeting in September.

“I would be delighted to chat about some of the work we are doing on FN infrastructure and program development (sic),” Mitchell wrote Carson, on Sept 14.

A flurry of emails ensued later that month.
...
Indian Affairs Minister John Duncan’s office has admitted staff met with Carson during the process.

The department has also confirmed Indian Affairs officials met with Carson and company representatives several times. A departmental statement referred to them as “stakeholders.”

Carson said Atleo was on board as was Duncan’s office.

While Atleo said he cut all ties with Carson in October, the company had a booth at the special chiefs assembly in December, where they also co-sponsored a table with Carson’s Canada School of Energy and Environment.
Carson said Duncan's office was on board. The department was referring to the water company as "stakeholders." Interesting. Tell us more, APTN, Canadians and yes, the Prime Minister, want to know.

There may also be more to learn in connection with Carson the private citizen/former PMO top adviser and his activities as Executive Director at the Canada School of Energy and Environment, a school that received a $15 million grant in the 2007 federal budget. There is a Postmedia report today worth a read:
"Carson was a key individual driving a controversial government and industry communications strategy to boost the image of Alberta’s oilsands sector. A recently released briefing note prepared by bureaucrats in the federal government highlighted his presence at a special meeting last year between senior officials from the federal and Alberta governments as well as the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, an industry lobby group, Postmedia News reported last week."
That reference is to a March 2010 meeting that Carson attended along with senior officials at Natural Resources Canada "to discuss communications strategy," to "turn up the volume" on international public relations on climate change and the oil industry. NRC officials referenced him in the briefing notes as a former Harper aide.

It's all very private citizeny, isn't it?