Vancouver Island North MP denies role in Tory scandal

Vancouver Island North MP John Duncan should explain his role in the most recent Conservative scandal involving a former aide to the prime minister who is under RCMP investigation, says federal NDP candidate Ronna-Rae Leonard.

“People in Vancouver Island North deserve to know more about the connection between John Duncan and Conservative insider Bruce Carson, who is now being investigated by the RCMP and the federal ethics commissioner,” Leonard said.

According to news reports, the investigations were sparked when the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network uncovered e-mails that claim Carson, a senior aide to Prime Minister Stephen Harper until 2008, lobbied Duncan’s office on behalf of a company that was attempting to land contracts to sell filtration systems to First Nations reserves with water-quality problems.

APTN says Carson, who in the early-'80s was disbarred and served time in jail for defrauding law clients, also claimed to have spoken to Harper about the appointment of Duncan the day before he was named to the Indian Affairs portfolio in the Aug. 6 cabinet shuffle.

“We’ve seen scandal after scandal hit the Conservative government, and this latest one hits very close to home,” Leonard said. “Here we have a top Conservative insider under investigation for potential conflict of interest after his lobbying efforts with John Duncan."

She suggests Duncan should "come clean on his dealings" with Carson.

"How many meetings and conversations did they have? What did they discuss? Did Mr. Carson influence any important decisions?”

In a statement from his Ottawa office, Duncan said he has never met with or been lobbied by Carson on these matters.

"My ministerial staff met with Bruce Carson on one occasion (Jan. 11, 2011)," Duncan said. "My staff provided publicly available information to Bruce Carson and recommended he work directly with First Nations. This meeting did not result in any business being given to this individual.

"I also want to reiterate that my staff regularly attend meetings with a variety of individuals and stakeholders. This is normal and common practice."

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