By Kenneth Jackson and Jorge Barrera
ATPN National News
Bruce Carson took his former fiancee Barbara Lynn Khan to meet Prime Minister Stephen Harper on the grounds of his official residence during a going away party for the prime minister’s outgoing chief of staff Ian Brodie.
Khan told APTN that she found Harper “approachable” and “friendly” during a conversation.
A Conservative Party spokesperson confirmed Monday that Khan visited the grounds of 24 Sussex during the June 2008 garden party.
Khan was deported to Canada from the U.S in 2006 on a felony conviction stemming from her part in running an escort agency in Charlotte, North Carolina.
“I can confirm that (Khan) was at Mr. Brodie’s farewell party at 24 Sussex,” said Conservative Party spokesperson Alykhan Velshi, in an email. “That’s the only time we are aware of that she visited 24 Sussex.”
Khan said her conversation with Harper dispelled in her mind the caricature of the prime minister often portrayed in the media.
“I was surprised because Harper is portrayed as being cold and indifferent, which I did not see a hint of that evening,” said Khan.
“Mrs. (Laureen) Harper was genuinely warm and an incredibly gracious hostess…Everyone attending was pleasant and the evening was an experience I will always remember.”
Carson, a former senior adviser to the prime minister, is currently the focus of an RCMP investigation triggered by a request from the Prime Minister’s Office.
Carson met Khan by chance on an Ottawa street shortly after she came back to Canada and was working as an escort. Their relationship ended last year after about four years.
The PMO made the written request to the RCMP after an official met with APTN reporters investigating Carson’s lobbying activities for an Ottawa-based water filtration company. The company was seeking to sell its product to First Nations communities hard hit by dirty water.
The company, H2O Pros which later formed H2O Global Group to deal with potential contracts, also had a financial agreement with Michele McPherson, a former Ottawa escort who Carson said was his fiancee.
Carson met McPherson in March 2010 and Khan in 2006.
APTN obtained emails written by Carson where he promoted the company to Indian Affairs officials. Carson also claimed to have inside government knowledge in the emails.
Brodie was Harper’s chief of staff until he left the post on July 1, 2008.
In an email to APTN, Brodie said he remembered Carson at the party, but not Khan.
“I remember Bruce was there, but otherwise, can’t help,” said Brodie.
The PMO referred questions about Khan’s presence at 24 Sussex to the Conservative Party.
The PMO, however, continues to refuse comment on whether Carson, who had only Secret-level clearance, had access to Top Secret information on Afghanistan and on Canadian allies involved in the war.
Quoting an anonymous source, the Toronto Star reported last week that Carson had access to Top Secret information after he was handed the Afghanistan file.
“We don’t comment on security matters,” said the PMO in an emailed statement.
Brodie told APTN he doubted Carson had access to Top Secret files, which were handled separately and securely.
The Canadian Security Intelligence Service, Department of National Defence and Foreign Affairs all referred questions on the matter to the Privy Council Office (PCO).
A PCO spokesman said there would be no comment on current or former employees.
Harper has faced questions throughout the election campaign over how Carson could have obtained security clearance with five criminal convictions on his record and two bankruptcies.
Harper has said he was only aware of Carson’s two criminal convictions in the 1980s, not the three convictions in 1990 uncovered by The Canadian Press.
Harper said he would not have hired Carson is he knew the full extent of his criminal record.
Carson, who told APTN he was a close friend of Harper, said he disclosed everything during the security clearance process, which was handled by mid-level PCO officials.