'Had I known these things'

Stephen Harper reacts to the latest revelations about his former advisor, Bruce Carson.

“I did not know about these revelations that we’re finding out today. I don’t know why I did not know,” Harper said. “Had I known these things, I would not have … hired him.”

Mr. Carson’s lawyer says all of his client’s criminal record was disclosed to the RCMP. Whether or not that briefing made it to Mr. Harper, on May 12, 2006, Sun Media reported that Mr. Carson had been “disbarred, convicted of theft and sentenced to 18 months in jail in the early 1980s for stealing money from clients of his law firm.”

Update 2:39pm… The Globe adds these comments from Mr.Harper: “Let me be very clear about the situation: I knew that Mr. Carson had difficulties with the law many, many years ago—some 25 years ago.”

For the sake of clarity, note that there are two sets of charges here. Five years ago, it was reported by the Sun that in 1982 Mr. Carson had “pleaded guilty to two counts of theft over $200, after forging the signatures of two clients and stealing almost $20,000.” Yesterday, it was by CP that in 1990 Mr. Carson had pleaded guilty to defrauding Budget Car and Truck Rental, the Bank of Montreal and TD Bank.

It is the latter set of charges that Mr. Harper says he was unaware of. And it is on account of this latter set of charges that Mr. Harper says he wouldn’t have hired Mr. Carson.

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