For­mer Harper aide found not guilty

Metro Canada (Winnipeg) - - METRO NEWS -

A for­mer top aide to Stephen Harper has been found not guilty of in­flu­ence-ped­dling — even though the judge in the case said that Bruce Car­son did try to con­vince gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials to buy wa­ter treat­ment sys­tems be­ing sold by a firm that em­ployed his for­mer es­cort girl­friend.

But in the end, Car­son at­tempted to in­flu­ence the wrong peo­ple, be­cause those of­fi­cials had no direct abil­ity to sway First Na­tions com­mu­ni­ties to pur­chase the equip­ment, On­tario Su­pe­rior Court Jus­tice Bon­nie Warkentin ruled Tues­day.

Car­son was charged in con­nec­tion with his at­tempts to pro­mote the sale of wa­ter pu­rifi­ca­tion sys­tems for First Na­tions com­mu­ni­ties by a com­pany known as H2O Pros and H2O Global that had hired his for­mer girl­friend, Michele McPher­son.

“It is abun­dantly clear that Mr. Car­son was at­tempt­ing to in­flu­ence gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials within INAC (In­dian and North­ern Af­fairs Canada), cab­i­net min­is­ters and their staff as well as high rank­ing mem­bers of the AFN (As­sem­bly of First Na­tions) to pro­mote H2O’s wa­ter treat­ment sys­tems,” Warkentin said in her rul­ing.

“Mr. Car­son also ad­mit­ted that he used his in­flu­ence in this fash­ion in or­der to ob­tain a ben­e­fit for his then girl­friend,” she added.

None of that mat­tered, how­ever, since First Na­tions com­mu­ni­ties — and not the gov­ern­ment — hold the power to de­cide whether to buy the wa­ter treat­ment sys­tems the com­pany was sell­ing, Warkentin wrote in her de­ci­sion.

“The ev­i­dence sup­ports the de­fence po­si­tion that it was the in­di­vid­ual First Na­tions com­mu­ni­ties that de­ter­mined whether or not to pur­chase the point-of-use sys­tems be­ing sold by H2O.”

THE CANA­DIAN prEss fIlE

Bruce Car­son

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