Bruce Carson exploited lobbying loophole

Former Harper aide once published study advocating for lobbyist accountability

After serving a jail sentence for two counts of theft in 1983, Bruce Carson returned to his position as a Library of Parliament researcher, where he published numerous studies including one in September 1986 that advocated public accountability for paid lobbyists. “Public disclosure of the activities of lobbyists should in some way respond to the public concern that certain paid lobbyists might receive preferential treatment,” Carson wrote in “Registration of Lobbyists.” Twenty-five years later, Carson’s understanding of lobbying legislation was deep enough to allow him to exploit a loophole in the Harper government’s 2006 Federal Accountability Act. The act contains a provision whereby former government officials could lobby Parliament Hill if such lobbying accounted for only 20 percent of their total workload. “I don’t want the lobbying commissioner sort of going crazy over my involvement in this,” Carson told APTN reporters. “This would be like one-tenth of 1 per cent of my time, so we’re all right.” Carson is the subject of an RCMP investigation looking into allegations that the former advisor to Stephen Harper lobbied Indian Affairs for a contract that would sell poor quality water filtration systems to native reserves, and arranged for his fiancée, 22-year-old former escort Michele McPherson, to benefit financially from the contract.

Toronto Star