Ottawa – A judge is being asked to punish former Stephen Harper confidant Bruce Carson with a $50,000 fine for illegal lobbying.
But Carson’s lawyer says his client is on the verge of bankruptcy – unable to earn a living because of the controversy surrounding him – and can’t afford to pay.
Carson, who once worked as a senior adviser to the former Conservative prime minister, was found guilty last month of three counts under the Lobbying Act.
He was originally charged as part of his role in developing a national energy strategy while he worked as director of the Canada School of Energy and Environment and later as the vice-chair of the Energy Policy Institute of Canada.
In her September 16 ruling, Ontario Court Justice Catherine Kehoe determined that Carson had contact with ministers and deputy ministers at Industry Canada and Environment Canada, as well as the Prime Minister’s Office and the Privy Council Office, while he was employed at the Energy Policy Institute.
At the time, Carson was under a five-year prohibition from lobbying public office holders because he had worked in the PMO until February 2009.
By Terry Pedwell
The Canadian Press