Monday, April 04, 2011
Harper Had No Idea His Policy Advisor Was an Ex-Con? Bullshit.
Stephen Harper wants us to believe he had no idea that his former senior policy advisor and office fixer, Bruce Carson, was a disbarred ex-con with five fraud convictions who had done time in the slammer. Harper now claims, totally unconvincingly, that if he'd only known he would never have hired Carson.
A reliable, veteran Tory insider I spoke with a week or two back, told me that Harper's PMO was repeatedly warned that Carson was toxic and to not let him near Harper.
Carson's lawyer adds that the guy's entire criminal record was disclosed at his security screening which, presumably, was done by the RCMP which is headed by another Ottawa boy and Tory political functionnaire, commissioner Bill Elliott.
Harper, "Had I known these things, I would not have ...hired him." Well, that closes off one exit. Harper admits that he hired Carson but based on what? The guy's been around Ottawa forever. What did Harper know about him? Did Harper get the guy's security screening report? Who did? What did it say? Who received all these supposed warnings about Carson and what did they do about them?
This makes no sense, none, whatsoever.
This guy, Carson, didn't just make one foolish mistake. He's got a rap sheet. It includes the two convictions for dipping into trust moneys that got him disbarred, convicted and imprisoned in the early 1980s. Then, in 1990, three more convictions - defrauding the Toronto Dominion Bank, defrauding the Bank of Montreal and defrauding Budget Rent a Car.
Harper's office is running for cover, claiming they can't comment on, "the security screening details of current or former employees."
C'mon guys, let's be real. A guy like Carson with his record and psychological problems doesn't get hired by accident. It's not like he landed from Mars and nobody knew the guy. He'd been around Ottawa and in trouble well before the early 80's. Somebody needs to find out why Carson was apparently turfed from his job at the Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton that led to his hiring by a private law firm where he proceeded to commit what lawyers politely call "defalcation."
Carson had more than a small degree of notoriety in Ottawa and there are plenty of lifelong Tories in Ottawa, the head of the RCMP among them, who would have known about the guy. Is it conceivable that these veteran Tory insiders wouldn't warn the PMO, repeatedly warn them and probably Harper too, that Carson was trouble?
Sorry, no. Harper can't get off the hook this easy by hiding behind personnel confidentiality. The Carson affair strikes at the heart of the security of the Prime Minister's Office. It's said by some that Carson literally had the run of the place.
If Harper didn't know, who did? Harper is well known as a demanding, unforgiving guy to work for so surely, if he didn't know, heads must have been rolling in the halls, going bumpety, bumpety, bump down those marble stairs. Whose heads went to the block? Or is Harper keeping everybody on staff, under lockdown, lest they might talk about just what he did and did not know about Carson? Given the control freak that Harper is, I'm sure that's exactly what has happened. Do you think there are any members of the PMO on paid leaves of absence until the campaign is over?
Carson is a flashpoint for political corruption in the Harper administration. A lot of people have a lot of explaining to do, people who have no claim to "benefit of the doubt" while they insist on dummying up. First among them is Stephen J. Harper. This might reach well beyond the PMO to the headquarters of the RCMP also. Suspicion is an inevitable consequence of appointing a party insider to the top cop job. Was the RCMP itself compromised from the very top? Did a report disclosing that Carson was bent make it to the PMO? Until we get some straight answers, these are questions that need to be asked again and again and again.
This is a legitimate election issue because of the possible repercussions of what happened and what that says about the prime minister. There are a lot of ways to get information around the National Capital and the Libs and NDP need to mine this scandal hard until the answers leak out.
Harper is a terrible liar when he loses control of the facts. When he started his "coalition conspiracy" gambit and was forced to confront his own coalition machinations during the Martin administration, Harper kept changing his tune as a succession of contradictory facts emerged. He was desperate to keep the lie alive until it finally died a natural death.
The same pattern emerges on the Bruce Carson scandal. At first Harper claimed innocence. He knew nothing. Something got short circuited in the PMO that kept the information from reaching him. A key point to remember. This was during the "two count" period, when word had gotten out that Carson had been disbarred, convicted and imprisoned for two counts of dipping into his law firm's trust funds.
We've moved on.
Today we're in a "five count" scenario as word emerges that, about a decade after the first two convictions, Carson received three more convictions for defrauding the TD bank, BMO and Budget Rent a Car.
Here's where Harper's lie changes.
When we were in the "two count" period, Harper disavowed any knowledge of Carson's criminal history. Now that we've moved into the "five count" scenario, Harper has tailored his lie. He now says he did know all along about the first two counts but was totally blindsided by the last three.
Ladies and gentlemen, a lawyer cross examining a witness like Harper would be ecstatic at the prime minister's floundering, contradictory statements. He would demolish that witness, totally destroy his credibility. No judge would believe a word he said. So, should any Canadian? If he's telling the truth now, he was deliberately lying through his teeth before. Just like he kept getting caught in his lies about his history of coalition-building. He gets himself hooked and he keeps squirming to set the hook even deeper.
Now, Michael and Jack - this is for you. When you've got a bottom feeder on the hook the most important thing of all is to constantly maintain tension on the line. Don't let it go slack, not for a moment, of he can throw the hook. Just keep the line taught and keep reeling this sucker in.