Carson eyed role for Enviro Min Kent to land water deals

Days before the RCMP were called in by the Prime Minister’s Office to investigate, Bruce Carson planned to enlist another political heavy-weight to clear the “log-jam” in the Indian Affairs bureaucracy he believed was stymieing his efforts to land First Nations water contracts for an Ottawa-based company that had a deal with his escort fiance.

By Kenneth Jackson and Jorge Barrera
APTN National News
Days before the RCMP were called in by the Prime Minister’s Office to investigate, Bruce Carson planned to enlist another political heavy-weight to clear the “log-jam” in the Indian Affairs bureaucracy he believed was stymieing his efforts to land First Nations water contracts for an Ottawa-based company that had a deal with his escort fiancee.

For months, Carson had been trying to land water deals that would see Michele McPherson, 22, stand to rake in millions of dollars based on a secret contract obtained by APTN Investigates.

In a wide-ranging interview on March 6 with APTN, Carson, 65, a former senior advisor to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, said he was in the process of setting up a meeting between Environment Minister Peter Kent, Indian Affairs Minister John Duncan, Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo and Patrick Hill, owner of H2O Global Group.

“Where we are going next with this, and this is nobody’s business but mine, is to sit down with Duncan, Kent, Atleo and myself and probably Patrick to try to figure out a way to break through the log-jam,” said Carson.

A spokesperson for Kent said the minister met with Carson once on Feb. 7 to talk about the environment and clean energy. Carson, at the time, was the head of the Canada School on the Environment and Energy. During the conversation the subject of First Nations water came up.

“Mr. Carson did raise general water issues on First Nations, but did not name any specific company or companies during the discussion,” said Bill Rogers, Kent’s director of communications. “The issues are the responsibility of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. As such, no follow-up was required by (Kent) and the two men have not discussed the matter since.”

For the man nicknamed “the mechanic” and known as Stephen Harper’s fixer, what he was witnessing with Indian Affairs bureaucrats was all too familiar, he said. Carson said it had been the problem from the beginning for the Conservative government. He made no secret of his allegiance to the Conservatives and called Harper one of his best friends.

While praising the work of the last three Clerks of the Privy Council, the most powerful bureaucrat in the government and essentially the deputy minister for the prime minister’s central department, Carson said it was always the mid-level bureaucrats who seemed to throw up roadblocks to getting things done.

“One of the guys told me if you read (former British prime minister) Tony Blair’s book, it’s a terrible book, there is a part there where Blair talks about trying to get the bureaucracy to think the way he thought,” said Carson. “And that is the same way here.

You have a really good idea, you are trying to put it forward, a lot of people think it’s a really good idea…but in the end it is just someone sitting somewhere saying, well we’ll just put it on ice.”

Carson and the company also planned an end-run on the department and were trying to convince bands to pass band council resolutions stating they wanted to do business.

“If we can work with the band itself and have the work with them, it will be easier having the band work with (the department) rather than ourselves,” said Carson. “Each of the communities gets a stream of money for capital projects and if we can tap into that kind of money coming through the band rather than making some huge application to (the department).”

They convinced one Manitoba band to send a letter of intent but Indian Affairs said the community could not qualify for money set aside for water projects because its water was not dirty enough.

Carson and the water company believed the Mohawk community of Tyendinaga was close to signing on the dotted line.

APTN was told by a band official involved in talks with the company that the deal seemed too good to be true.

Carson said Indian Affairs officials informed him that the department would pay directly for a project worth over $1.5 million. He also said the department would be willing to fork over training money. The company planned to train two people on each reserve to change filters. All the bands had to do was sign and all their water problems would be fixed, said Carson.

“(The department) has represented to us that they will actually pay for this out of the $330 million that the government put aside to handle this, to deal with clean drinking water,” he said.

Despite his “frustration,” Carson, through his connections to Atleo and the political levers of power in the central agencies of the federal government, had pushed the company into a place it never thought it could reach, according to Hill. Even Carson said the work he was able to do in just months was pretty good.

Hill believed the water deals would have pushed his company into the stratosphere.

“This can turn very big. This can turn Global Group into an international company,” said Hill, who created Global Group to deal with the department and First Nations on the water deals. Carson and Hill initially tried to use Hill’s other water company H2O Pros but created Global Group in October. Hill said Global Group had been around for three years.

Hill had tried to land water deals on his own but didn’t get far.

“I felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere…We expressed our frustration with Bruce. This has been very difficult,” said Hill. “I was there before in the same meetings before Bruce was there, and they were, yeah okay, that sounds great, do a couple of (trade) shows.”

If it wasn’t for Carson they’d still be a company looking in, banging on the door, said Hill.

Carson, however, seemed to sense he was on shaky ground in terms of his lobbying. At one point, Carson said he was worried the Lobbying Commissioner could start looking into his activities.

When asked if the thought he could slip through under the rule that allows someone to lobby without registering if it makes up less than 20 per cent of their work, Carson said he thought he would.

“I really don’t want the Lobbying Commissioner sort of going crazy over my involvement in this,” he said. “This would be like one-tenth of one per cent of my time so we’re all right.”

The Conservative government also brought in new rules forbidding former political staff from being registered lobbyists for five years.

Carson also said his frustration with the pace of talks with Indian Affairs bureaucrats was shared by Duncan’s staff.

“I met with John’s (Duncan) staff and they know (about the water company). They are trying to be helpful and quite frankly it’s a frustration for them too,” said Carson, in the interview. “There is a certain amount of frustration, and everybody knows this, but I haven’t made a secret about it, of trying to deal, trying to get this moving along in the department.”

Duncan’s office has admitted officials met with Carson.

Indian Affairs has also confirmed it met with Carson and company representatives at least four times.

An APTN investigation into Carson’s activities uncovered months of email correspondence between the political insider and company representatives, Indian Affairs officials and Atleo along with AFN staff.

The emails all centered on finding ways to get First Nations water contracts for the company. They also offered a glimpse of Carson’s reach into the centre of political power.

In one email, Carson said he discussed the appointment of Duncan to the Indian Affairs portfolio the day before the Aug. 6 announcement.

Carson also sat with APTN for two candid conversations where he offered a peek behind the curtains shrouding the power rooms of political Ottawa.

Then on March 13, APTN confronted Carson with the information. APTN then contacted the Prime Minister’s Office for comment.

After reviewing APTN’s documentation, the PMO asked for the RCMP to probe Carson.

Carson is also facing an investigation by the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner and the Commissioner of Lobbying over his activities around trying to land First Nations water deals for the water company.

The company also had signed a deal with McPherson, who also went by the name Leanna VIP, guaranteeing her 20 per cent of gross sales revenues from potential water contracts. Sources say a second contract was signed earlier this year. She was supposed to be the face of the company but during APTN’s investigation she was nowhere to be found.

Carson met McPherson March 15, 2010 while she was working as an escort. She continued to work full time until at least the middle of August when she wrote on an online escort site she would be only working part-time. Carson began pushing the company in July according to emails.

Carson and McPherson also own a home together. They bought it in December and when they turned the tap on for the first time in their newly purchased, nearly $400,000 home with a pool, they were disgusted by the smell of the water.

“We were a couple of amateur house buyers, because we just loved the house…We never turned the tap on…and she turned it on and it…just smelled of rotten eggs, it had sulphur and all kinds of stuff,” said Carson of the house that sits on a two acre lot, about 60 kilometres south of Ottawa.

That brought them into contact with Patrick Hill.

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Online Producer / Ottawa

Before moving to become the APTN News social media producer, Mark was the executive producer for the news in eastern Canada. Before starting with APTN in 2009, Mark worked at CBC Radio and Television in Newfoundland and Labrador and Ottawa.


10 thoughts on “Carson eyed role for Enviro Min Kent to land water deals

  1. I saw a comment somewhere about Nicolas Kaszap( who is named in the “contract”) and Elizabeth Kennedy, Kenneth Jackson and another rub and tug called Club Madeleine Jae are these people all involved in this scandal too? What happened to that post? And who are these people, How are they tied into this?

  2. @JoeBlo and Learning styles: nnI guess you are a little behind, or a bit slow. Your arrogant commentary demonstrates to us, the real APTN national news posters, that you and your various other handles probably with the same IP address (standfortruth2011, kurat, odie441, tyeegal2, frankiesask, learning styles etc) that you have been posting with, are purposely trying to distract us and the blame away from, probably, yourself.nnThe funniest thing is that it was Carsons very own ignornace that landed him and company in this mess – Carson was openly admitting to what he was doing.nnI quote from another APTN story nn”Carson opened up to APTN about the inner workings of Ottawa during a wide ranging interview that was part of an investigation into his activities around an Ottawa-based water company.nnCarson spoke about several influential journalists and some of the people at the centre of power in Ottawa.nnCarson is currently facing an RCMP investigation, along with probes from the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commission and the Commissioner of Lobbying as a result of APTNu2019s investigation.nnThe Prime Ministeru2019s Office called in the police after a meeting with APTN reporters.nnCarson admitted on camera to lobbying for an Ottawa-based water company that had signed a contract with his 22-year-old escort fiancee guaranteeing her 20 per cent of gross sales from water contracts in First Nations communities”nnIt doesnt seem that anyone except Bruce himself was the whistleblower – you can always count on greed and arrgoance to come back to bite you in the ass.nnYes, I am assure the RCMP will do a very through investigation and turn over every sleazy rock that everyone in this mess is trying to hide under. I for one, am sure that they will get everything that they deserve… a nice 6×6 cell, public ridicule, obviously NO DEAL (ouch… they must be upset about that), outrage from the Native Community, and of course, will go down in the history books as the folks who tried to scam the natives and the tax payers of this great country – not to mention, I am sure the entire government is annoyed at them as well.

    1. Like I said just stop the video on the “contract” and you can see who the so called RAT is. My bet is there is more to this story and I am just trying to figure out who all the players are…Dont be so defensive unless you too have something to hide… C(all) M(e) J(oe)…nFlagn

      1. I don’t think Treasure Mall is being defensive whatsoever. I think you are the one being defensive trying to avert blame on others. I don’t understand the point you are trying to make by continuing to bring this up. If you could help explain the relevance, then maybe I can assist you but for now you use the term rat, I would say hero to tax payers and native communities across the country. Irregardless of who outed the story, which I agree with Treasure Mall, about it being Carson’s own arrogance that blew the bubble, lets just say I am ubber upset about how this government is handling my tax dollars. I hope the book gets thrown at Carson and his escort fiancu00e9, there’s no weaseling out of this one. Don’t you agree that no one deserves 20% of anything for doing nothing?

        1. Yes and no, If in fact she was working for the company at that point, and she was engaged to Carson, and she did use her fiancu00e9e in an advisory or consultant capacity then I believe she is entitled to compensation. Also if its found that nothing was done illegally, which looks to be the case, IMO, as no contracts were awarded. Then it seems the person who wasn’t going to make any money or who had issue with the 20% (ie: the person not named out loud yet), leaked a non story to the media, and perhaps is the only one to blame criminally (ie :stolen emails, bank records, confidential business information). As it seems to me, this was a legitimate attempt to bring better drinking water to native communities desperately in need, where is the conspiracy? FTR Carson it seemed was set up in that video that has him “outing” himself. And I assume that the only reason APTN was there in the first place was because their “source” put them there.Like I said the truth will come out and hopefully the real criminals get what they deserve. C.M.J (Call me Joe)

          1. I guess my real concern is for the state of my country, and the fact the government in place, has been forced on its head by a trashy “scandal” based on innuendo, half truth’s and a lot of information taken out of context. I hope that the RCMP finds the truth and punishes who ever needs to be punished, I just wish that this could have played out behind closed doors, like it should have, without the underlying assumptions. There should be processes in place for people who feel that “they” have been wronged, so as not do tarnish reputations and damage the status quo. And should a person or persons feel that they have to play their story out in the media then they should be man enough to admit what they are doing…I say this because I live on a reserve that was potentially going to get improved drinking water and now I am left wondering again..How long will it be before someone is knocking on my door with a solution to my serious problem??? CMJ

          2. CMJ also stands for Club Madellyn Jae you know, a “private” rub and tug massage parlour here in town……Nice one Joe!…..;-)

          3. Really?? Ha ha ha what’s a “private” rub and tug???? Is there such a thing???. .Has anyone heard from the PMO’s office or the RCMP as to the status of the investigation? Has anyone been questioned or arrested? I cant seem to find any information as to if it even started, much less who is being charged. CMJ (I better change that handle, don’t want to be associated with a sleazy business like that)

          4. And what qualifications, or education, does Miss McPherson have that would first of all justify a $80 MILLION commission? Spreading her legs doesn’t count.

  3. Ok I have had it about this so called “contract” after pausing the video on that “contract” I see another name that has not been mentioned ANYWHERE. Not 1 news source has mentioned the 4th name that should be involved in this mess… Can anyone say, source of ill gotten information..

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