The courts had no mercy on Bruce Carson, a former aide to Stephen Harper, who was charged with illegal lobbying. Catherine Kehoe awarded Carson a fine of $50,000 on Nov. 4. Carson was convicted of three accounts of illegal lobbying and has five years to pay the fine, at a rate of paying $10,000 per year.
Crown attorney, Robert Zsigo suggested that Carson have two years to pay the fine, however, Carson’s lawyer, Patrick McCann, stated that, “he can’t pay that fine in any realistic amount of time,” due to Carson’s bankruptcy. However Kehoe said that because of Carson’s past employment experience he is fully capable of finding a job to pay the fine. Kehoe extended the amount of time to five years but did not lower the amount.
Carson’s bankruptcy did not stop Kehoe from giving him an immense fine as a result of his serious crimes, “it is not exaggerating to say that the integrity of the government is at stake,” said Kehoe. While Carson was the director of the Canadian School of Energy and Environment, he was also working on a national energy strategy, and partook in illegal lobbying. Carson made around $600,000 for this work. Kehoe found it necessary to impose such a large fine to deter others from following his actions. Carson gained a lot of money from his lobbying and it is important that others learn that these actions will not go unpunished, said Kehoe.
Kehoe stated that working in the government for several years, Carson was well aware of the rules of lobbying and chose to ignore them. This is not his first time Carson has found himself in trouble with the law either, he has previously been charged with both fraud and theft. Kehoe stated that “Mr. Carson could not be more blameworthy,” for the actions he committed in illegal lobbying.
Carson is now faced with the prospect of finding a way to earn the money to pay the fine back in five years’ time.