Carson's Valentine's Day meal with Atleo and the pitch to Mike Holmes - APTN National NewsAPTN National News

Carson's Valentine's Day meal with Atleo and the pitch to Mike Holmes

Kenneth Jackson and Jorge Barrera
APTN National News
Days before Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo announced in Winnipeg he would be pushing to abolish the Indian Act, he received a telephone call from Bruce Carson, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s former aide and friend.

In the phone call, Carson said he knew of a water company with a plan to clean dirty water on First Nations reserves and he wanted to meet with Atleo at the end of July.

“This is the clean water proposal i (sic) spoke to (sic) about on the phone last week. I think it has real merit, especially as a pilot project,” Carson wrote in a July 19 email, obtained by APTN.

Later that evening, Atleo responded, “Yes, this looks promising, and we should meet to discuss, asap (sic).”

The next day, Atleo made a surprise announcement at the AFN’s annual general assembly that he would work to abolish the Indian Act within five years.

Correspondence uncovered by APTN appears to show Carson and Atleo were in the process of hatching a deal.

Sources within the water company said Carson told them he had a deal with Atleo.

Based on emails written by Carson, the former Harper advisor said he planned to help Atleo scrap the Indian Act in exchange for his support in promoting an Ottawa-based water company named H2O Pros, which later created an entity called H2O Global Group to deal with Indian Affairs.

“The AFN need my help getting rid of the Indian Act – so all of this will work together,” wrote Carson, in a July 26 email to company officials.

The email was written the same day Carson and the company’s owners met with Atleo’s staff to show off the firm’s wares.

“Thought we did as well as we could today – I told Michele (McPherson) and I will tell you because it means so much to her and I that we get this done … I think 6 months from now we will be well on our way,” he said, in the email.

Three days later, Carson, 65, and company officials met with Atleo.

Michele McPherson, 22, was an Ottawa escort known as Leanna VIP. Carson told APTN McPherson was his fiancee.

McPherson was also working for H2O Pros and had signed a deal with the company’s president guaranteeing her 20 per cent of gross profits of all First Nations water deals landed by the company. Carson initialled the deal. Sources say a second contract was signed earlier this year.

McPherson was working as an escort when she met Carson last March. She continued until August when a posting online indicated she would only be escorting part-time.

The Prime Minister’s Office has asked the RCMP, the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner along with the Commissioner of Lobbying to investigate Carson’s activities in relation to H2O Global Group.

The PMO requested the three-pronged probe following a meeting with APTN reporters.

In an on-camera interview with APTN which aired Friday, Atleo admitted that he had discussed the Indian Act issue with Carson. Atleo, however, said he did not need Carson to access the prime minister. Atleo said he is able to pick up the phone and talk to Harper.

A number emails obtained by APTN, however, appear to show Atleo and Carson working behind the scenes to push the company to Indian Affairs bureaucrats and well First Nations chiefs.

“I thought this mornings (sic) meeting with Atleo and Richard Jacques (Richard Jock, Atleo’s chief of staff) was good and gave us a clear field to pursue our goals with support of the National Chief and his Chief of Staff,” wrote Carson hours after the first meeting with Atleo.

A later email shows Atleo directing two of his top officials to identify companies it could target in the Ottawa area.

“Can either of you touch base with bruce (sic) tomorrow to begin sourcing potential first nation pilot site around the Ottawa area?” Atleo said Sept. 6.

In reply to Atleo’s email Carson wrote the company’s owners: “This came as a result of a call to me from the National Chief yesterday.”

With Atleo in tow, Carson then proceeded to approach Indian Affairs. In an Aug. 19 email Carson, using his University of Calgary address, wrote Gail Mitchell, the department’s director general of community and infrastructure and another official.

“I have been working with National Chief Atleo and his staff on water quality solutions on reserves – and have been directed to both of you as the folks at INAC to deal with on this issue,” he said. “I was wondering if the representatives of this company and myself could meet with you to explain the system and find out how best to get involved in the government initiative of providing clean drinking water on reserves.”

That day, Mitchell asked her officials to set up a meeting in September.

“I would be delighted to chat about some of the work we are doing on FN infrastructure and program development (sic),” Mitchell wrote Carson, on Sept 14.

A flurry of emails ensued later that month.

Carson to Irving “Bing” Leblanc, the AFN’s director of housing and infrastructure: “Do you have time for our meeting on Monday – Gail Mitchell as you know is ready to send someone – thxs for doing this-bc (sic).”

Leblanc: “Haven’t heard from INAC Toronto if they got any direction from Gail or  Garry Best’s office regarding participating in this meeting.”

Carson to Mitchell: “Do you have a contact that Irving could deal with.”

Mitchell: “Garry Best is the contact. Irving Leblanc knows Garry quite well. He should have Garry’s contact info but just in case please let Irving know he can contact me. Cheers. Gail.”

Carson to AFN officials: “$Gary is the guy (sic).”

Garry Best is director of infrastructure operations for the department.

In October, AFN provided provided Carson with a list of First Nations communities the company could target in late fall.

The communities included: Tyendinaga, a Mohawk community near Belleville, Ont., and the remote northern Ontario communities of Slate Falls First Nation, Lac Seul First Nation and Marten Falls.

But the AFN told Carson they don’t endorse any product sold by H20 Pros.

“I want to make it clear that AFN does not endorse any product nor accept liability on the performance of the product marketed by H20 Pros,” said Leblanc to Carson.

It was around that time H20 Pros changed their name to H2O Global Group, despite owner Patrick Hill telling APTN Global Group had been around for three years.

With the list from AFN the company went to work.

The first plan of action was to get in on the Mike Holmes pilot project the TV celebrity contractor is doing with a First Nation near Sudbury, Ont., and unveiled Friday.

Carson said that Holmes’ people had recently asked H20 Global Group to forward some information and they were on the cusp of getting into the project.

Carson said he met with Seth Atkins, a representative of Holmes, in Calgary last week.

“We discussed a number of things. The Holmes Group and AFN have sent Global Group a letter or email requesting a lot of further information which will be responded to over the next day or so. I think that puts them into the mix of what could be providers to the Holmes Group,” Carson told APTN this past Sunday.

Holmes partnered with AFN on a multi-million dollar renovation of Atikameksheng Anishnawbek First Nation. The project aims to turn the community into a showcase of cutting-edge green technology construction.

Hill told APTN the company had secured a letter of intent from a Manitoba First Nation to use H2O Global Group product late last year. Hill said Indian Affairs refused to fund the project because the community’s water wasn’t dirty enough, so the deal fell through.

Hill and Carson also said they were weeks away from securing a major deal with Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory near Belleville, Ont.

APTN learned last week the band had more questions because the deal “appeared too good to be true.”

Indian Affairs Minister John Duncan’s office has admitted staff met with Carson during the process.

The department has also confirmed Indian Affairs officials met with Carson and company representatives several times. A departmental statement referred to them as “stakeholders.”

Carson said Atleo was on board as was Duncan’s office.

While Atleo said he cut all ties with Carson in October, the company had a booth at the special chiefs assembly in December, where they also co-sponsored a table with Carson’s Canada School of Energy and Environment.

On Valentine’s Day of this year Atleo and his wife joined Carson and McPherson.

Bank records show Hill was there too and paid a nearly $600 tab but didn’t sit with the two couples.

Atleo said he paid for his meal and that of his wife.

A well connected First Nation source told APTN Atleo believed Carson was his bridge to the PMO.

Atleo has repeatedly denied that, saying he already has a direct relationship with the prime minister.

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  • Anonymous

    wow APTN, this is definitely a stretch. Attempting to link an escort to the abolishment of the indian act and the Holmes on Holmes project. Is nothing positive able to happen to First Nations within this country without reporters (aboriginal and non) trying to turn everyone against it.

    • Michael Vincent

      I think your overly worried, be happy, you sound down. Think of blue skies.

  • Anonymous

    wow APTN, this is definitely a stretch. Attempting to link an escort to the abolishment of the indian act and the Holmes on Holmes project. Is nothing positive able to happen to First Nations within this country without reporters (aboriginal and non) trying to turn everyone against it.

  • Karen Chevillard

    @frankiesask: nothing is a stretch…those old perverts use those escort services all the time. This one just wanted a bigger piece of the pie. You don’t know by now the name of the game is “kickback”.

  • Anonymous

    This is exactly the kind of stuff that Prime Ministers do not want to get mixed up with when an election is just around the corner.nnI haven’t decided yet on how I feel about Atleo being able to “pick up the phone and talk to Harper”. Is that supposed to impress me? Or make me feel safe? If it’s that easy then why isn’t Atleo making more ground on all his ambitions?

  • Dave-O

    Repost:nnThe facts are:nnSo call cabinet confidentiality Carson was given the make up of Harpers new cabinet Ministers before parliament and the general population were informed.nnCarson and Shawn Atleo were implementing a plan of action to get rid of Indian Affairs (under who’s direction)nnCarson and Shawn Atleo dined at one of the finest troughs in Ottawa, get this $600.00 for one meal. While children on reserves go wanting (puking my guts out on that one)nnAfter Carson got his ducks all in a row the 1st nations water funding budget started to increase, thats our tax dollars folks.nnWater filtration from a company that has a $50.00 dollar sign above a $800.00 a month office, can you say shell company, I thought you could.nnthere is more but first:nnPeople who need to step down like yesterday not so Grand Chief Shawn Atleo, the not so Honourable John Duncan, Michael Wernick and Colleen Swords.nnPeople who need to be investigated like yesterday those mention above, the PMO, the Privy Council, Jim Prentice, Chuck Strahl and a bevy of others to come.nnHarper the buck stops here.

    • Anonymous

      A Valentine’s dinner for $150 each person… don’t blow this out of proportion. Is Mr. Atleo supposed to live in a basement suite and eat McDonald’s every day because children on reserves go wanting? He ate at an expensive restaurant with his wife on Valentine’s Day…. sounds like a good husband to me. nnReal facts are:nnBruce Carson is done.nnShawn Atleo has done nothing wrong.n

      • WardoftheState

        Exaclty. Thank you Blaken.

  • WardoftheState

    I am disappointed in this follow up. The original Carson story was a great break that put APTN news in the news. But this is sloppy. The article really makes it “sound” as if the National Chief has done something very wrong, but when you read it through it’s all groundless, full of innuendo and no substance. So what if he ate a dinner with Carson? The National chief is only wrong if he 1) he was somehow going to personally benefit from the deal or 2) knew about the contract benefitting Carson’s girlfriend. This article contains no proof of either. It makes me wonder if the author has something personal against the AFN, or if this is just on a fishing expedition. But what really hurts is that APTN chose to lower its journalistic standards right when all the other media in Canada is watching. It’s like the top aboriginal news reporters in Canada don’t know what they are doing. And that’s embarrassing for all of us.

    • Anonymous

      @WardoftheState You make the erroneous assumption that all of the top aboriginal journalists in Canada work for aptn National News. I beg to differ on that.

      • WardoftheState

        @tribaltattler lol – certainly some of the top aboriginal reporters do work at APTN, I didn’t say “all” of them. n(And of course neither of the two reporters who broke this story are aboriginal when you get right down to it.) But I kinda think the other points I was trying to make were somewhat more important than the “whose who” of journalism.

        • Anonymous

          @WardoftheState LOL You didn’t say “all” but at the same time, you didn’t say “some” either in your original statement.

          • WardoftheState

            Point taken. 😉

  • Anonymous

    Why is it that Canada and Canadians stand by as First Nations People get abused their First Nation Chiefs and Councils ? ? ?nnDictatorships have been allowed to flourish across Canada and abuse of power is rampant. Membership in the bands is in fear of speaking out against the abuse of power or else they won’t get the crumbs thrown their way.nnIs it because it serves the purpose of bureaucrats? The Memberships is held down under the thumbs of their Chiefs? nnWhat a sad and pathetic situation, the bureaucrats have enabled.

    • WardoftheState

      Pacific, I wish you wouldn’t generalisze. I come from an awesome FN community. Our people are very active culturally socially and politically, our books are tight. If we had elected a corrupt chief we’d simply remove him. It’s not rocket science. nnMy community is not alone- there are hundreds like mine. You ask why is it that Canada and Canadians stand by and let troubled communities like yours continue? It’s not their responsibility. It’s yours. Time to put on your big boy pants and stop saying you are too frighted to do anything about it. What would your ancestors think if they heard that? So stop blaming whitey, and stop expecting Canadians to solve all your problems for you. How the heck is some poor urban-living Canadian (some of them quite new to Canada) supposed to know what needs fixing in your community anyway? Besides many of them are busy fixing their own problems.nnStill if you do want the government to step back into its “great white father” role (which by the way caused most of the problems we face today in our communities) and run things for you, fine – but please don’t generalize and lump us all into this madness. Our community is quite happy to see less and less of the Canadian government interfering in our decisions as we happily sail toward self-government. and are doing very well thank you very much. So please – don’t generalize and lump us all into your sad story. We are not ALL abused, You sound like a member of Canadian Tax Payers Federation…. nnAnd by the way – this whole conversation seems random and unrelated to the above article. It was Carson, from the Great white father’s office that started this unfortunate scandal. (really think you want somone like him stepping into your community)

      • Anonymous

        @ WardoftheState,nnPlease provide ONE single evidence of a band anywhere in Canada where there has been established a system of Checks and Balances. Just one. The Government of Canada sure doesn’t seem to care if any is constituted. nnFirst Nations’ circling vultures dressed as advisors, councillors, lawyers, developers, gladhanders, don’t want their systems to change. Just like the Immigration Industry, the “First Nations” is growth industry, and a gift that keeps on giving to those who know how to abuse and have the connections.nn. . . And while there may be a rare band led by a benevolent dictator, the system of governance historically and currently exercised is not one that provides equal opportunity for its members nor does it provide oversight or transparency. nn. . . The result is self evident from Victoria to Halifax.

        • WardoftheState

          @Pacific who wrote: “Please provide ONE single evidence of a band anywhere in Canada where there has been established a system of Checks and Balances. Just one.”nnI have attempted to post links to dozens of communities who have established measures such as: conflict of interest codes, process for community redress, portfolio systems that identify roles and responsibilities of both Chief and Council vs the band administration to the APTN forum. I am going to guess that APTN doesn’t like having links in the forum because they have not published my reply (and a number of other comments got posted in the meantime. ) Since I can’t link here, I put my full reply with links that name the commnunities, what they have done etc up on my own blog, Crazy Bitches R Us – just google it. nnOk APTN Forum folks – That’s my best guess. There cannot possiby be anything against the rules in that post.

  • Anonymous

    Atleo and the other national chiefs have never really been treated seriously by anybody. With this story, for the first time the AFN is being treated the way it deserves – like a powerful and influential group of intelligent men and women. And therefore they have the RESPONSIBILITY to behave with caution and probity… AND, to be held to a corresponding extra degree of scrutiny The days of backroom chats and cozy deals are over. This story raises important questions about judgement and wisdom… not just about wrong or right, legal or illegal. Great work Aptn

  • Anonymous

    Doesn’t anyone care who leaked this story? How did APTN get that “contract”? It looks like an original to me. Someone is orchestrating this whole mess and it all seems a little too convenient. Personal emails, original documents, inside information, almost smells like a trap or set-up. I bet the RCMP turns up nothing illegal here….n

    • Anonymous

      Great comment! Soon APTN’s bad and trashy journalism will be seen. The real information will come out. I doubt the RCMP will turn up anything illegal here except for the people that were involved in the set-up.

    • WardoftheState

      I think that it does look like Carson broke some lobbying rules.. But you raise a good point, I have been dying to know how APTN got the docs. Some of emails to and from government could be gotten through an access to info, but not all of them (ie bank records -where did those come from?) I suspect all of this will be revealed when they air the big story on March 25th. (I understand that they weren’t going to air anything before that date, but when other media got wind of it, they began to release stories so they wouldn’t lose the lead on it). I was also wondering about the footage of Carson in the earlier pieces, there was something weird about the camera work that made me wonder if Carson knew he was being recorded.

    • Anonymous

      I guess you are a little behind, or a bit slow. Your arrogant commentary demonstrates to us, the real APTN national news posters, that you and your various other handles (standfortruth2011, learning styles etc) that you have been posting with, are purposely trying to distract us and the blame away from, probably, yourself.nThe funniest thing is that it was Carsons very own ignornace that landed him and company in this mess – Carson was openly admitting to what he was doing.nnI quote from another APTN story nn”Carson opened up to APTN about the inner workings of Ottawa during a wide ranging interview that was part of an investigation into his activities around an Ottawa-based water company.nnCarson spoke about several influential journalists and some of the people at the centre of power in Ottawa.nnCarson is currently facing an RCMP investigation, along with probes from the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commission and the Commissioner of Lobbying as a result of APTNu2019s investigation.nnThe Prime Ministeru2019s Office called in the police after a meeting with APTN reporters.nnCarson admitted on camera to lobbying for an Ottawa-based water company that had signed a contract with his 22-year-old escort fiancee guaranteeing her 20 per cent of gross sales from water contracts in First Nations communities”nnIt doesnt seem that anyone except Bruce himself was the whistleblower – you can always count on greed and arrgoance to come back to bite you in the ass.nnYes, I am assure the RCMP will do a very through investigation and turn over every sleazy rock that everyone in this mess is trying to hide under. I for one, am sure that they will get everything that they deserve… a nice 6×6 cell, public ridicule, obviously NO DEAL, outrage from the Native Community, and of course, will go down in the history books as the evil villians that I am sure they are.

  • Anonymous

    ATN`s Watergate?

    • Anonymous

      Tyeeboy’s Watergate….???

  • Anonymous

    AFN`s Watergate?

  • Malcolm McColl

    Things that make you go, `Hmmm`

  • Malcolm McColl

    As a situation like this unfolds, I watch closely for the growing torrent of lateral violence that will ensue. The systemic racism that has been imposed on First Peoples in Canada involves a lot of internal combustion. The issues burn under the incredible stress of outside forces and inside pressures igniting at any spark. The explosions render the issue less than carbon neutral.

  • Anonymous

    twittergate is more like it. This isn’t investigative reporting its innuendo pure and simple. Get with it APTN there is a lot of work to do and you guys are only posturing and grandstanding…not doing the job…and while I am at it…Blackstone is a real slap in the face….Y & R does a better job….of portraying reality

  • Anonymous

    Your first link doesn’t work. Perhaps retry. Thanks.

    • WardoftheState

      Wow- it took them a while to post that. The first link works when I click on it.

      • Anonymous

        Not from here it doesn’t.

        • WardoftheState

          I double checked, the link is correct, but it opens a pdf. Could you be having pdf issues?

  • Anonymous

    Ok I have had it about this so called “contract” after pausing the video on that “contract” I see another name that has not been mentioned ANYWHERE. Not 1 news source has mentioned the 4th name that should be involved in this mess… Can anyone say, source of ill gotten information….

  • Anonymous

    how does one investigate a story like this? Some of these events happened in private places, and surely these individuals wouldn’t speak so openly with media present? It would be good to know how this is done? Also I assume the afn gets briefed before he meets ppl, or maybe he wasn’t aware this Carson fellow was involved with this escort? One can only guess. Another question is if this escort works for a company and has a job why does she escort for, surely not for money, not unless she wants more more money? Why would this company hire an escort for a job like that? Also, (just a little joke), why should FNS trade dirty water for more dirty water from a bad aid and an escort? nSomehow this seems to surreal, like somewhere the truth and that lies kind of got mixed up here, but hopefully in time the real story will come out. nMaybe this is just some form of interference or something to deviate from real issues and stop everything. Like now, this company’s proposal will be canned. This may stall reall issues like clean water for FNS that need it. If anyone wanted to review the Indian Act that maybe stalled. So basically, it’s back to square one. I didn’t even read the water problems, that much but the only good thing about this was to shed light on the situation, which is now, people probably know FNS have to drink dirty water which isn’t very good. Waiting for the facts, but right now, bigger headlines are taking over but I hope this doesn’t get ignored for good. Now what? Does one have to wait for the RCMP to investigate? Waiting.

    • Anonymous

      If I were doing the investigation< I would follow the money. According to other news sources, Carson was parading this escort all around and bringing her to meetings with top officials. There was a link to a review board where the escort is talked about. I read on the board that the girl was as dumb as a door knob and wasnt popular because of her conversational skills if you catch my drift. I am sure many heads would turn just due to the age difference by itself. The escort has pictures up of herself showing her face. How stupid does one need to be?nnIt wouldnt take a rocket scientist to figure out that something is off especially because this girl has absolutely no skills (other then in the bedroom) that would warrant her being the face of the company and pocketing a 20% commission – being in the television business, not that it compares to the water business, but I can tell you that 20% commission is unheard of. if it smells like a duck, and looks like a duck, its probably a duck. I also read that a Chief at the reserve near Kingston suspected a scam cause it seemed "to good to be true". nnwe have all seen the video where Carson admits to what he is doing, I am sure he just confimred what many have suspected and APTN decided to dig abit deeper. The story seems to be full of holes so it wouldnt be hard.nnI am also confused as to how the banking records were acquired, but in my experience, many jump of the ship when its about to sink and I bet you even more are disguisted with Carson and party so they are probably lining up to help APTN fill in the blanks. nnA conservative advisor openly associating with an escort and flaunting her around at a gossipy hot spot like Hy's… oh I can just imagine what the Rockcliff house wives have been whispering about.nnIf these people werent so arrogant and pathetic, it would be humerous. I honestly would like to hear from this escort and Carson and hear what they say about this. nnAPTN reporter: Michelle, why do you deserve 20% of the deal?nnMichelle: "I deserve 20% of the money cause while the systems are being installed, I will be ensuring the chiefs are happy and well taken care of and my time is worth alot of money".nnnAPTN when can we expect an interview from these people? Now that is what is missing here.

  • Anonymous

    I saw a comment somewhere about Nicolas Kaszap( who is named in the “contract”) and Elizabeth Kennedy, Kenneth Jackson and another rub and tug called Club Madeleine Jae are these people all involved in this scandal too? What happened to that post? And who are these people, How are they tied into this?n

  • Anonymous

    Well it is now quite obvious to me who is the “leak” or the “source behind this story for all the documents and personal emails. I have posted 2 comments questioning the “other” party named in the “contact” and have had my posts removed each time. So, if anyone cares to know who is behind this story just have a look at the video where the contract is shown you will see another name on that piece of paper, the minute u post that name of that person the post gets removed. Are you only reporting what you want to report APTN or are you going to be fair and let the cards fall where they may. I hope you allow this post to stay up so people can investigate as they please, and maybe get all the facts…

    • Anonymous

      You are seriously going to question why APTN removed your slanderous post? You cannot name people, that you have absolutely NO PROOF of, and accuse them of being involved. I thought you would have learnt the last time you posted as (standfortruth2011) and posted some womans full name accusing her. APTN will not allow slander on its comment section.nnIf this person, who you are trying to suggest was responsible, why would their name not be hidden? If they were a person of interest, or if they were involved in anything illegal, then I am sure it will come out without you slandering them.nnIts so obvious what happened – Bruce Carson told APTN what he was doing on camera !!!!!!nnYou are shooting in the dark and its honestly, exhausting. Do us all a favour and just go away… APTN, nor the rest of us on here, need or want your obnoxious commentary.nnnWe all get it, you are guilty as hell and desperately grasping at straws – like a rat trying to get out of a snake cage as the python is slithering towards it. If you werent so annoying, this would be funny.nnnAPTN – please ban these slanderous, obnoxious people with multiple accounts.

      • Anonymous

        Like I said just stop the video on the “contract” and you can see who the so called RAT is. My bet is there is more to this story and I am just trying to figure out who all the players are…Dont be so defensive unless you too have something to hide… C(all) M(e) J(oe)…

  • Anonymous

    Get over it. Your nose is out of joint because someone else had the guts to go after this story and now they are getting the credit which they deserve.Don’t be so petty. Give credit where credit is due.For ” sloppy journalism” seems to me the whole country is talking about this scandal and it has a lot of people running for cover. I would say pretty damn good work guys.My hat goes off to Kenneth Jackson and Jorge Barrera…

  • Anonymous

    Get over it. Your nose is out of joint because someone else had the guts to go after this story and now they are getting the credit which they deserve.Don’t be so petty. Give credit where credit is due.For ” sloppy journalism” seems to me the whole country is talking about this scandal and it has a lot of people running for cover. I would say pretty damn good work guys.My hat goes off to Kenneth Jackson and Jorge Barrera…