Groups call for immediate removal of Bruce Carson from Alberta panel

18 March 20111 (Edmonton) — Following the launch of an RCMP investigation into Stephen Harper’s former senior policy advisor Bruce Carson, Alberta environmental and Indigenous groups are calling for the immediate and permanent removal of Carson from the provincial tar sands water monitoring panel.

Carson, who was appointed to the water panel in February by Alberta Environment Minister Rob Renner, is being investigated for allegations of influence pedaling related to lobbying the Indian Affairs Department to land contracts on First Nations territory potentially worth millions of dollars for an Ottawa-based water company that employed his fiancé. Carson, whose offer to resign yesterday was declined by Minister Renner is taking a leave of absence. The groups are calling on Minister Renner to permanently remove Carson from the panel.

Greenpeace, the Indigenous Environmental Network and Sierra Club Prairie feel that in light of these allegations, and the link to both water issues and First Nation rights, Carson’s presence on the water monitoring panel is inappropriate and further undermines the already dubious credibility of the panel.

“Given the serious nature of the allegations that have been brought against Mr. Carson we are calling for his immediate removal from the province’s tar sands water monitoring panel,” said Clayton Thomas-Muller, tar sands campaigner with the Indigenous Environmental Network. “The information that has already surfaced shows very questionable actions by Mr. Carson dealing with First Nations communities and it would be improper for him to remain on a panel dealing with rising water quality concerns, of which many are from First Nation communities already feeling the brunt of the tar sands overwhelming impacts and pose broad treaty rights implications.”

This is not the first time that controversy has struck the water monitoring panel since Alberta Environment Minister Rob Renner appointed Mr. Carson and others at the beginning of February.  One member of the panel already resigned due to concerns over lack of First Nation representation, lack of scientists, and potential for government muzzling.

“Many of the members of the province’s tar sands water monitoring panel are already distrusted because of their close affiliations with the tar sands industry and the allegations against Mr. Carson are serious and deal another blow to the credibility of this panel,” said Mike Hudema Greenpeace climate and energy campaigner. “It’s clear that Minister Renner should step in and remove Carson immediately and permanently.”


For more information, please contact:

  • Mike Hudema, Greenpeace climate and energy campaigner, 780-504-5601
  • Clayton Thomas-Muller, IEN tar sands campaigner, 218-760-6632
  • Sheila Muxlow, director of Sierra Club Prairie, 780-660-0312