Former Harper aide gets suspended sentence, ordered to do community service

OTTAWA — A one-time senior aide to former prime minister Stephen Harper has been given a suspended sentence with 12 months’ probation and must do 100 hours of community service for committing a fraud against the government.

In her reasons for the sentence, Ontario Superior Justice Bonnie Warkentin said Bruce Carson had already suffered a great deal as a result of his actions.

In March, the Supreme Court of Canada said Carson was guilty of influence peddling after rejecting his interpretation of the law.

Carson was acquitted at trial over allegations that he tried to use his government connections to push the sale of water-purification systems for First Nations communities to provide a benefit for his then-girlfriend.

Carson’s lawyers argued he couldn’t be guilty of influencing a matter of business related to the government because the First Nations communities, not the government, would be the ones to decide whether to buy the water systems.

The Supreme Court denied Carson’s appeal in an 8-1 decision.

Sentencing arguments took place in May.

The Crown had sought a conditional sentence of 18 months, with the first nine months of the sentence to consist of house arrest.

However, Warkentin noted in her reasons that Carson, now in his mid-70s, lost two well-paying positions following disclosure of the events in question, and that he now lives in a basement apartment in Gatineau, Que.

“He has become effectively unemployable.”

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