04.04.2011 11:48 AM

The Carson Circus Continues: Option A, B or C?

Option A:

PM wouldn’t have hired Carson if he knew his past
The Canadian Press, Mon. Apr. 4 2011 11:18 AM ET

Option B:

Ex-adviser told PMO about his fraud conviction: lawyer
The Canadian Press, Sunday Apr. 3, 2011 8:47 PM ET

Option C:

Quote of the day from the federal election campaign trail
The Canadian Press, Apr. 4, 2011, 10:58 AM

“I did not know about these revelations that we’re finding out today. I don’t know why I did not know.” – Prime Minister Stephen Harper on why he hired Bruce Carson as an adviser even though Carson had been convicted on five counts of fraud.


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    JenS says:

    I think we know that fact isn’t exactly Mr. Harper’s strong suit.

    Speaking of Tories with links to people who have faced charges, just saw a lovely pic of Tony Clement on Twitter, campaigning with Chris Alexander. If I were Tony, I wouldn’t accept any dinner party invites: http://bit.ly/gZ3sbp

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    Michael Watkins says:

    Read A day in the life of Stephen Harper — an excerpt from the book Harperland, the excerpt itself published last October long before the Carson saga became real news — and consider how prominently Bruce Carson fits into the daily life of Stephen Harper.

    After reading the passage I dare anyone to tell me with a straight face Harper would not have know about Carsons’s past. Harper hired him. Harper is a micro manager. What good manager, let alone a micro manager, fails to be fully informed about their key hires? A man with a criminal record in the PMO? Damn right he’d want to know that. Of course Carson disclosed his record – the RCMP would uncover those details in a nanosecond during their security clearance checks. Big red flags would have been raised — therefore someone in the inner circle who wanted Carson’s talent on board had to have said “we know, we know, fuggedaboutit!”

    Besides, with people like such as Marjory LeBreton in Harper’s inner circle with their deep institutional memory, others close to Harper *had* to know about Carson.

    “I didn’t know” defies all credibility.

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      Michael Watkins says:

      Hiding from his relationship with Carson was the wrong move.

      He could have said yes, of course I knew about his past, the RCMP are very thorough when they do security checks, but all the issues were long in the past and Bruce had turned his life around as far as we could determine. Since coming on board my team Bruce provided me real service and for that I am very grateful. Clearly Bruce has some personal issues that he needs to work out, and some legal challenges he may have to face. But I’m not the sort to forget loyal service; I won’t simply throw him to the wolves because the media or opposition want me to, and I will help him get his life back on track wherever it is possible for me to do so.

      Something like that would make Harper a hero instead of a hider.

      Ha ha, too late.

      By the way, given Carson seems to have delivered a real service to the PM through many assignments and roles in the PMO and in support of various Harper ministers, I wonder if other Harper staffers are worrying about how they will one day be thrown to the wolves despite their service. Only a matter of time.

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        Elisabeth Lindsay says:

        That is exactly what Harper said at the rally this morning as seen on CPAC.

        Do try to keep up!

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          Namesake says:

          Um, no; he didn’t say, of course I knew all, but I forgave;

          he said — as WK quoted above (do try…), “I did not know about these revelations [of three more recent fraud charges] that we’re finding out today”

          … instead, he tried to blame it on the PCO for not briefing him. Or the RCMP for not doing the criminal record check. Or his horoscope for not warning him. Or …

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    JenS says:

    Surprise, surprise, Gord is yet another Tory who doesn’t let the facts get in the way of a good narrative. http://www2.macleans.ca/2011/03/28/the-carson-show-2/

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    Harith says:

    It’s complete BS that Harper had no clue. Dude micromanages and controls his office like nobody’s business and yet he claims he didn’t know!? B-frickin-S!

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    Namesake says:

    If you’re referring to the single line of the story yesterday that, “A friend said he worked freelance for the Liberal caucus research bureau for a time during John Turner’s leadership, between 1984 and 1990,” maybe because:

    – it might not be true (_a_ friend? was this independently verified? maybe the friend was misremembering, or Carson was lying to him);
    – it was so long ago (over 20 years), and just in the research bureau, that no-one around now remembers him
    – it was only as a freelancer, possibly working on literature reviews or media monitoring, etc, from home, so maybe hardly anybody had ever even met him then, and there’s probably no records of it anymore, either, after more than the req’d 7 years or so for financial records on whatever he was paid
    – it may have been such a VERY small amount of work he did in that sloppily reported 6 year time frame: like, maybe a single research paper, that there was no reason TO remember him.

    Whereas acting as an intimate policy advisor to the PM himself and his environment ministers, even well into his time as an alleged private citizen being paid by a federal government grant to his “Our Shit Doesn’t Stink Tank” post at the U of C, and even the acting Chief of Staff to the PM at times — well, those ARE good reasons to be more aware — and wary — of someone who was a serial fraudster and deeply in hock when the PM brought him into his inner circle.

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      Namesake says:

      I see some of the ‘nothing much to see here, folks’ MSM sources have been scaling back on the original story, so here’s the latest full unadulterated independent CP version before the others chopped it down:


      (get it fast before it, too, is gone, like other columns that got spiked, lately)

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      Namesake says:

      “So…” — once again you leap to conclusions from the possibilities I raise in response to your challenge.

      And to your new (rather more incoherent) one:

      So, how much due diligence is req’d to use a freelance researcher on the odd contract which is only paid upon receipt of the deliverables?

      A credit check? No. A criminal record check? No. Probably just a work reference or two, a writing sample, and a publication record (if any).

      He wasn’t an employee of the LPC. Period.

      Versus how much is req’d to hire someone to work in a senior capacity in a Minister’s office or the PMO itself. Plenty. The very highest: a top secret, super-enhanced reliability security check, which involves credit checks, criminal record checks, interviews with colleagues and neighbours, and more.

      Someone’s got some ‘splaining to do, and it ain’t the LPC.

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      Ted says:

      Was he ever a “close senior and personal advisor” to a Liberal Prime Minister?

      Harper just cannot be believed on this.

      Which is actually a bit less worrisome than the story he is trying to sell us: that his staffers are making big decisions without any input from him or holding significant facts from the Prime Minister when he is making his decisions.

      And they feel justified in a 30% PMO budget with conduct like this?

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    Alberta Liberal says:

    Notice how Harpo’s schnozz just grew 2 inches and suddenly his pants were on fire

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    wilson says:

    If Harper says he didn’t know about details about Carson’s criminal past,
    and Ignatieff says he doesn know where the missing $40 million in Adscam money is,
    we should believe them both, right?

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      Namesake says:

      well, as you conbots are so fond of pointing out, MI wasn’t even living in Canada during the 90s when that happened, much less involved in the party, so it’s pretty easy to believe that he had nothing to do with and no knowledge of adscam.

      But the guy who micromanages every Ministry and has totally blurred the difference b/w the PCO & the PMO & the CPC and the Gov’t of Canada — not know who he was hiring as his “key right-hand man,” as Flanagan calls him? Hmm…

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        Alison S says:

        Adscam again? How about Mulroney – Schreiber – $$$$ + taxpayers $$$$. By Wilson’s logic, Harper must have known about that. Furthermore, Harper biggest scandal is his systematic contempt of Canada’s Parliament and institutions, starting with his book on how to disrupt committees. The contempt of Parliament charges should disqualify him from every holding office again. It is an outrage that he is brushing it off. The man has no decency and no shame.

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    dave says:

    You might be missing the real appeal of this story: a fellow who is 3 times the age of his sweetie is a way to appeal to the party base.

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    gretschfan says:

    To suggest that the PM or his office didn’t know about the man’s criminal record and past is to, in effect, accuse CSIS of not doing its job, as they (the Service) are the ones who do security checks and make the recommendation on whether to grant clearance. In Carson’s case, it would have been PMO’s call, whether to grant that clearance in spite of anything that would have come up in the background check. We know he was granted clearance because he ended up working at PMO. Given these facts, it is very, very hard to believe ConHQ’s line. Harder than usual.

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    Alberta Liberal says:

    Of course we should believe Harper when he says he didn’t know he was hiring a crook just like we should believe him when he says he didn’t enter into a coalition with Jack and Gilles in 2004, right?

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    Michael Behiels says:

    it is always about the cover up!!! Never really about the real incident.

    Harper is now deep into the cover up and he will have to wear it until his dying days!!

    If the Libs can’t exploit this Harper crisis then they really don’t deserve to win.

    If Ignatieff falls back on his ‘gentleman’ approach to electoral politics then he is doomed.

    As Chrétien would say without blushing: “God dammit! Go for Harper’s jugular.”

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      JenS says:

      Agree, the time has come for it. I understand the appeal to conscience there is tomactuall running a campaign on the issues. But I would contend the lack of judgment shown by Harper on this, and many other, matters IS an issue. Ultimately, what the party does with this is extremely important.

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        Roger says:

        Even Lawrence Martin has just said this is a non starter…….and he’s no friend of Harper from what I can see……but, whatever floats your boat…

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          Namesake says:

          well, it’s not because he thinks it’s not an important issue worth getting upset over…

          it’s just because he’s so discouraged about how blase’ the public — and how complicit the media — are, such that the only one of the FIFTY abuses of power he chronicled in his book really got a rise out of anyone (i.e., the last prorogue) that he thinks we’re BEYOND getting upset with him.

          It’s like the whole nation has Stockholm / Patty Hearst / Ferenczi Syndrome (aka, “Identification with the Aggressor”).

          But that can change. Esp. now that the media’s finally had enough, and is growing back their spines.

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    Cameron Prymak says:

    Yes- that seems to be the problem…

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    Namesake says:

    People are tweeting: PMO vets students attending his rallies more than he does his staffers

    Tories sorry after student turfed from rally
    Claims she was booted over Facebook photo of Ignatieff

    By Patrick Maloney, QMI Agency
    Last Updated: April 4, 2011 5:07pm


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    James Curran says:

    Jamie Watt on CBC: “What, you don’t think people deserve a second chance?”

    Implies knowledge, no? Who needs a second chance if nobody knew anything.

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    Mulletaur says:

    Amazing. Somebody who has a criminal record is vetted for a job in the PMO. The PCO does their job, and says, “hey, this guy’s a crook, don’t let him near the place.” The only way that can be overruled is by a political decision – by the Prime Minister. “I don’t know why I did not know” is eyewash for the unwashed. Great way to fish voters in, but very far indeed from the truth. Harper approved this guy’s positive vetting, despite the criminal convictions. Harper – tough on crime, except for crime committed by Conservatives. Kick the bums out !

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    MontrealElite says:

    “I don’t know why I did not know”

    Dr. Seuss would be proud.

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    Middleclassfamily says:


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