Former Harper advisor had deal with escort for First Nations water contracts: document

A former senior advisor to Prime Minister Stephen Harper was lobbying Indian Affairs to land water contracts potentially worth millions of dollars for an Ottawa-based water company that employed his fiancee who was an escort.

(Photo: Michele McPherson.

By Kenneth Jackson and Jorge Barrera
APTN National News
A former senior advisor to Prime Minister Stephen Harper was lobbying Indian Affairs to land water contracts potentially worth millions of dollars for an Ottawa-based water company that employed his fiancee who was an escort.

The name of Michele McPherson, 22, appears on a secret contract witnessed by Bruce Carson that guaranteed her 20 per cent of all gross revenues from sales related to water contracts on First Nations reserves, according to a copy of the contract obtained by an APTN investigative team.

APTN unearthed the contract as part of its investigation into Carson’s involvement with H2O Pros and its attempts to sell water filtration systems to First Nations with the poorest water quality.

Carson, who was one of Harper’s longest serving advisors, left the Prime Minister’s Office in 2008 to take over the newly minted Canada School of Energy and Environment that received $15 million in federal funds.

The Prime Minister’s Office asked the RCMP, the Commissioner of Lobbying and the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner to investigate Carson’s activities after APTN disclosed some of the information gathered in the course of the investigation.

Carson says on-camera he witnessed the contract’s signing between H2O Pro and McPherson, who also goes by the escort name Leanna VIP.

“I didn’t sign it…I witnessed it,” said Carson, when he asked by APTN about the details of the contract.

According to records, Carson and McPherson share a $400,000 house with an in-ground pool that sits on a 2-acre lot near Winchester about 60 km from Ottawa.

The home was bought in December. Carson rarely stays there. He works out of Calgary and when he does come to Ottawa he also books a room at the Chateau Laurier next to Parliament Hill.

McPherson also drives a black Mercedes SUV that Carson purchased.

H2O Pros created a company called H20 Global Group to deal with the possible Indian Affairs contracts.

An APTN Investigates team initially approached the company to do a story about their so-called “First Nations Water Project.”

In the course of the investigation, Carson and company officials opened up about plans to sell up to 40,000 water filtration units to 50 identified First Nations with dire water problems.

The secret contract, called an agency agreement, stipulates that McPherson would act as the “agent” and the face of the company when dealing with Native people on all water deals.

Throughout the investigation APTN was not able to get McPherson to appear on camera or comment about her job with the company. Sources have told APTN the deal would have given McPherson “money for nothing.”

The contract stated: “The principal hereby appoints the Agent, and the Agent hereby agrees to act, as the exclusive agent for the purpose of representing the Principal in all matters including trade shows, pilot projects, sales and all related activities dealing with First Nations and the Principal’s water purification products.”

Former company insiders told the APTN Investigates news unit that another, more detailed contract was also signed earlier this year.

Company president Patrick Hill told APTN each of the units ranged in price between $3,500 to $6,000.

APTN has since learned the price of the units could have hit $10,000 each, as a result of assessments and shipping costs.

The resulting contracts would have resulted in tens of millions of dollars in sales and a healthy profit for McPherson.

The company has faced financial difficulty of late, failing to pay employees and witnessing a high turnover.

According to former employees, at least 15 people had left the company since December.

Carson and Hill both told APTN they believed the company was on the “cusp” of making a breakthrough into the on-reserve water market.

Despite repeated requests, Hill has refused further comment.

Company employees attended the Alberta chief’s assembly last Thursday in Calgary and were in active talks with the Tyendinaga Mohawk reserve near Belleville, Ont., when APTN began to investigate its activities.

Carson, who recently stepped down from the Canada School of Energy and Environment which was given $15 million by the current federal government, also told APTN how he planned to use his position with the school to push the water contract forward.

Carson also told APTN that Indian Affairs Minister John Duncan’s office was aware of the project and doing what they could without appearing to interfere.

Carson did meet with officials in Duncan’s office, a spokesperson for the minister said.

“The minister has never met with, been spoken to or been lobbied by Bruce Carson on these matters. The minister’s staff met with Bruce Carson on one occasion. Mr. Carson briefed the staff on a proposed water project. Staff provided publicly available information to Bruce Carson,” said Michelle Yao, spokeswoman for Duncan.

Carson also managed to land several meetings with Indian Affairs departmental officials, according to a department spokesperson who referred to Carson and company representatives as “stakeholders.”

“Ms.  (Gail) Mitchell, along with members of her staff, have met with Mr. Carson and representatives of H2O Global Group on several occasions over the last several months to discuss issues related to water infrastructure on reserve,” said a department spokesperson.

Gail Mitchell is the director general of community infrastructure for Indian Affairs.

[email protected]

[email protected]

Contribute Button  

24 thoughts on “Former Harper advisor had deal with escort for First Nations water contracts: document

  1. This very significant account gives us a telling picture of what goes on at many sites of power, including the University of Calgary, the very school that recently hosted credibly-accused war criminal Condoleezza Rice as a guest speaker.

    The administrators at the University of Calgary apparently chose not make a professional issue of a murder threat uttered against Julian Assange live on CBC by one of its political scientists, Prof. Tom Flanagan. Like Bruce Carson, Dr. Flanagan has also been an important adviser to the Harper government. U of C’s Dr. Flanagan has also benefited financially from his role as an expert witness for the federal government in its efforts to deny and negate rather recognize and affirm the existence of Aboriginal and treaty rights in the Sampson case. (See section 35, Constitution Act, 1982)

    Perhaps the conscientious-minded faculty at the University of Calgary should get together to begin the process of pulling their school away from its deserved reputation for too often messaging the most dubious machinations of power politics. The alternative for faculty is to do due diligence by speaking academic truths to power when called for, which, unfortunately, should be quite often given the endemic oil-patch corruption of Dallas North, the main political base of the Canada’s current Bushite minority government.

    Anthony J. Hall
    Professor of Globalization Studies
    University of Lethbridge

  2. Great work from the APTN news team, working with such limited resources. Canada’s major media outlets should have had this story, but are too worried about keeping their access to the people in power to do any real digging.

    For McPherson’s mother to try to excuse this fiasco by playing on the sympathy of a former FN escort trying to better her life is outrageous. Great that her daughter is trying to better her life. But what has she done to qualify for the 20% cut and millions she stood to gain from the contract? What expertise in water filtration systems did she have to offer reserves in exchange for these millions? There are so many FN students struggling against the odds to get qualifications and McPherson’s example just insults their efforts.

    As well, every dollar that goes to McPherson’s sweet deal is another dollar not spent on getting good drinking water to reserves. So much for caring about FN people.

    The story also raises the issues of which institution is really the corrupt one. The Canadian government, that refuses to fund drinking water systems, leaving reserves prey to political insiders saying they can get these systems funded through their special connections? Or the AFN, that had to repeatedly intervene to deny it had endorsed what looks to be a huge scam?

  3. The only thing that this ‘story’ has associated with the government is that is is totally unassociated.nnThis is just a smear attempt by National Newswatch.nnShame on this news site!nnMy advice to National Newswatch is to drop the obviously biased headline reporting before you start losing even readership due to your flagrant anti-government bias.

    1. The kind of readership that uses vacuous threats is not the kind of readership that National Newswatch needs. Thank you for your input.

  4. This is a non story as far as the government is concerned. According to the precedent being set here…anyone who may have had a brush with the federal gov’t is forever a part of that gov’t…and no matter what ever business dealing they have in the future will be scrutinized as such….this types of reporting will definitely keep may good men and women from ever running for office! Thanks APTN and congradulations… have reached the dizzying heights of half truths and innuendo regularly seen in the Ottawa Citizen, Globe & Mail, Toronto Star and the WInnipeg Free Press…if that was youir goal..well done!

  5. Another fine piece of work from APTN, the Harper Government has been dragging their feet on a host of social issues which seems to be the norm with governments worldwide these days.

    We need a government shaped by the people for the people and of the people to make real change for our children..

  6. If you don’t air my comments many reporters want to talk to us and we will give them the story that is real and true. You have aired the pictures of a a minor and I will be happy to show that to all networks across canada
    . dont hide the truth aptn

  7. Do you have a problem APTN with airing my comments. I am suing your network for airing the half naked pictures of my daugher who was 17 went they were taken. Many people fought to save her life and you have aired the pictures of a minor. Good luck APTN. Your not above the law.

  8. APTN you have aired pictures of my daughter at the age of 17 when she fought to get out under age prostitution. She was a minor and the fact that you aired such photo’s of a minor is against the law. Many people fought to save here and we are grateful we did finally. APTN I will see you in court. Jorges leave my young children alone and stay off our property and stop harrassing my children. That is criminal and your source my oldest daughter Julie Donoghue is on a vendetta. Now publish the truth!

  9. Read this 3 times. So there’s no connection between the Fed Gov’t and H2O. And no lobbying — which is an attempt to influence policy. It appears Carson was negotiating between H2O and identified native communities to provide filtration units their reserve governments would buy. Hill is a native name, is Patrick Hill a native? Where is the proof about McPherson being an escort? I see an allegation, only. The only federal crime is if Carson lobbies the Government. I don’t see that he did. It would appear H2O came to him to help them approach needy native communities, and knowing how funding works, he advised that the negotiations should be at the community level which has nothing to do with the federal government. If there’s a real story here, this hasn’t been written to reveal it. Rather we see a series of allegations, such as McPherson getting “free” money. Is it being alleged that she isn’t getting the money, but Carson is? If so, say so.

    1. The Ministry admitted meeting with Carson and this meeting was not registered with the Lobbying dept. – this is undisputed.

      Here are some reviews of McPherson’s services, feel free to click through to an archived copy of her escort website:

      More importantly, why did Harper ever hire a convicted fraudster to the PMO in the first place?

      If you were really interested in this story, you would do your own research instead of astroturfing.

    2. Maybe you should have watched the video:nn(a) Carson said he was, officially, no longer an advisor to the PM but that they “talked” to both the PM and his ministers ” on a regular basis” (1:26)n(b) Carson sent an email to the company indicating knowledge of a cabinet shuffle before the move was made public knowledge (1:30)n(c) Carson said they were trying to connect the deal ‘the environment’ part of the Canada School of Energy and Environment (2:20)n(d) Carson said he was not a lobbyist and that he thought the smartest thing to do ‘was call up a couple of folks at Indian Affairs and find out wtf was going on’ (2:30)n(e)Carson was aware his fiancu00e9e had a strong financial interest in any future deals between Indian Affairs and H20 as he had witnessed her Agency Agreement with them (3:14)nnWhether or not his fiancu00e9e worked for an Escort agency is as irrelevant as whether or not Patrick Hill is a Native American.nnLet the courts decide whether or not this man has been breaking the law.

      1. I can say the same thing…and be lying…..I happen to know my MP very well….so based on that and based on the report…I can be accused of influence peddling just for knowing him….The RCMP has been called in and lets await the findings of the investigation. So yes..lets await the RCMP investigation and if he has crossed any lines, then and only then will the courts decide.

  10. Wow! Thanks!nnI have been very concerned about Stephen Harper and his corruption with regards to Canadian Water issues. nnKeep up the great work! Do you think Sun Media will run your story? 😉 nnCheers!

    1. BS comment….this has nothing to dowith harper nor the federal gov;t…this s a FORMER aid who has crssed the line…the RCMP has been called in by the PMO. If APTN is trying to join the ranks of the half truth newsies…like the G&M and TorSTAR and WFP they have succeeded! APTN used to be obn my fav list on my remote….GONE…I can no longer trust their reporting to be straight up!

      1. more like you just like to hear your own voice or see your text on a computer screen. i applaud APTN for their journalistic skills. i am so sick of these greedy, corrupt individuals lining their own pockets at everyone else’s expense. if i had it my way, they would all be hung up on the streets and the public would be allowed to have a free go at them. disguising excuses for human beings, and i hope they are ashamed of themselves.

  11. Great story! Great work!nBut is that a typo in the last quote when it says “Ms. Mitchell”? It’s not explained who is Ms. Mitchell…

Comments are closed.