By Kenneth Jackson and Jorge Barrera
APTN National News
The RCMP have obtained 51,000 of Bruce Carson’s emails which have been used in three separate investigations against the former senior aide to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, according to a second recently unsealed RCMP court document obtained by APTN National News.
The emails were first uncovered during the RCMP’s initial investigation of Carson for alleged influence peddling that resulted in a charge on July 2012 and is scheduled for trial May 26. In that case, Carson allegedly used his influence to help an Ottawa water filtration company try and land lucrative deals with First Nations suffering from dirty water.
Part of the Crown’s case will be based around Carson’s emails written between June 30, 2010 and March 17, 2011, according to a new RCMP search warrant application, otherwise known as an Information to Obtain, unsealed this week at the request of APTN National News.
The ITO details how the RCMP seized more than 51,000 of Carson’s emails from the servers at the University of Calgary and the laptop computer he used at the Canada School of Energy and Environment (CSEE), which was linked to the university.
Carson was the head of the CSEE at the time the RCMP launched an investigation of his activities. Once news surfaced of the investigation, the organization immediately transferred Carson’s laptop and his emails to its law firm, McCarthy Tetrault LLP.
According to the ITO, filed on Oct. 27, 2011, the RCMP wanted to obtain three separate search warrants all targeting Carson’s electronic correspondence. The warrants targeted the University of Calgary’s servers which held Carson’s emails, the Calgary offices of the law firm of McCarthy Tetrault LLP, which held an electronic copy of Carson’s emails, and Calgary Archives Inc., which held Carson’s laptop in case inside the media vault.
The RCMP wanted Carson’s laptop for forensic analysis in case he had tried to delete information.
“I believe that the seizure and examination of the laptop computer used by Carson may provide evidence of the offence that may not be available through the email examination,” wrote Sgt. Jody Vale of the commercial crimes unit in Ottawa’s A Division, who filed the ITO.
It now turns out when the RCMP seized all of Carson’s emails it also obtained evidence of other alleged crimes.
But it would take the Office of Lobbying Commissioner to point them out to the RCMP, according to a separate ITO. The lobbying commissioner sent a letter of complaint to the RCMP on July 2012, as a result of their own investigating into Carson.
According to the RCMP, Carson was lobbying illegally for the Energy Policy Institute of Canada and CSEE according to a different RCMP search warrant application. The RCMP is investigating his lobbying activities on behalf of both organizations. Carson co-founded EPIC and was director CSEE prior to March 17, 2011.
This past November, the RCMP went to a judge to request a search warrant to seize emails already in the RCMP’s possession in Ottawa, known as A Division as part of their illegal lobbying investigation.
“As part of this investigation I executed a search warrant, directed toward the peace officers of the A division integrated technological crime unit in order to gain access to electronic data … seized during a previous investigation in relation to Mr. Carson,” said Const. Marie-Josee Robert in her application for a production order to obtain Carson’s CIBC bank records filed on Nov. 21, 2013. “The execution of the said judicial authorization yielded important evidence supporting the charges listed in this information.”
That “previous investigation” was triggered by APTN National News on March 16, 2011. That same day Harper directed his now chief of staff Ray Novak to call in the Mounties to investigate Carson based on information provided to the Prime Minister’s Office by APTN National News reporters.
“These materials contain troubling details about recent actions and claims made by Mr. Bruce Carson,” wrote Novak to the RCMP at the time. “The materials we have seen may provide evidence of matters inquiring investigation by the RCMP.”
APTN National News told the PMO’s former director of communications Dimitri Soudas earlier that week it had obtained emails written by Carson that showed he was allegedly trying to use his federal government contacts to help an Ottawa water filtration company, H20 Pros, sell First Nation communities water filtration systems through government contracts. The company had a financial agreement with Carson’s then-fiancee.
Carson told APTN during multiple interviews he was only helping the company because his fiancee Michele McPherson worked there. Carson had witnessed a contract where McPherson would receive a cut of the profits, but according to the RCMP she didn’t appear to be involved much in the efforts to obtain contracts on First Nations.
McPherson was a former Ottawa escort and the RCMP was told she first met Carson as a “client” around February 2010, according to the ITO used by the RCMP to obtain his emails.
Prior to the RCMP executing search warrants, they had received dozens of Carson’s emails from two sources – Nicolas Kaszap, a former owner of H20 Pros and Liz Brant, an employee with the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte First Nation, where the company was trying to sell water filtration systems with the help of Carson.
“I believe that Carson sent and received other emails that did not involve Kaszap and Brant, which will provide evidence of the offence,” wrote Vale. “I believe that Carson sent and received other emails that did not involve Kaszap and Brant, which will provide evidence of the offence.”
Vale said Brian Heidecker, chair of CSEE during Carson’s time there, told her that when APTN’s story came out they transferred all Carson’s emails to the law office of McCarthy Tetrault in Calgary.
Vale requested on Oct. 3, 2011, that they preserve all the data until a search warrant was obtained.
Carson told APTN National News previously he thought he may be able to slip through a loophole in lobbying laws that allow people to “lobby” if it makes up less than 20 per cent of their work.
“I guess my issue in this thing is that I don’t want to look like I’m an unregistered lobbyist in here because I’m not a lobbyist,” he said. “I really don’t want the lobbying commissioner sort of going crazy over my involvement in this.
“Yeah, so this would be like one tenth of one per cent of my time so we’re all right,” he said.