It's not that I had any specific reason to think Bill Elliott was involved in getting Bruce Carson the requisite top security clearance needed to score a cushy advisory job in Harper's PMO. It was that I knew just enough to understand it was so unlikely, almost impossible, that it could happen otherwise.
CBC claims to have confirmed that the current RCMP Commissioner, William Elliott was instrumental in Carson getting that top security clearance despite five fraud convictions, imprisonment, disbarment and two bouts of institutional insolvency.
As the Carson scandal unfolded I kept thinking back to my law school colleague and former occasional drinking buddy, Bill "Bubbles" Elliott. Bill was the stereotypical Ottawa boy, born and raised, Tory insider. As I recall, he'd gone almost straight from law school to become exec. assistant to some Mulroney cabinet minister. During the dry spells of Liberal governments he percolated up through the public service, eventually being appointed by Paul Martin as Canada's national security advisor, our anti-terrorism czar. The last time we spoke he was in that position.
I consider myself lucky to have a small and dwindling number of , well placed, veteran Tory insiders among my friends today. Old school Progressive Conservatives going back to the Stanfield era. Guys that predate Elliott and Mulroney. You can't be good friends with someone for forty years without a healthy measure of candor and give and take. We're all centrists from an era when there was centre-left and centre-right and everyone grasped the difference. You could be a Liberal without loathing a Conservative back then and the other way around. We could freely discuss things without having to start in a debate that degraded into partisan squabbling. I hope we can all find our way back there when country came ahead of party affinity. But I digress.
One of the biggest non-secrets in Ottawa was Bruce Carson. He earned his considerable notoriety and, in that political enclave, such things do not go unnoticed. That's especially true for the circles in which Bill Elliott traveled.
Harper says he didn't know, he was let down, Privy Council procedures failed. Maybe that sort of bullshit is palatable in Red Deer or Moose Jaw but don't try to peddle it in Ottawa. One of my Tory friends volunteered that there were repeated warnings given to Harper's staff, not the PCO but Harper's own personal staff. Apparently everybody failed, everybody that is except Harper. He not only didn't know but he had to deliberately look away if that's true and that's one thing control freaks never do.
Think about it. How could Steve Harper have a hand-picked, political operative appointed to head the RCMP and claim he was in the dark about Carson's extensive criminal record? Now it's being reported that Harper's hand-picked, political operative was directly involved in getting Carson his security clearance. Can that really be any surprise save to the most strident Harper apologist?
As I've written repeatedly over the past two weeks, are we witnessing yet another instance of the RCMP being turned into a Conservative political agency? Both Bill Elliott's and Steve Harper's integrity and fitness for office have been called into question and both of them have a lot of explaining to do before Canadians go to the ballot box. Until they come forward and explain themselves to the satisfaction of the Canadian public, Stephen Harper deserves to be treated with our scorn and contempt.