OTTAWA - Some Harper government appointments and hirings that have raised questions:
Arthur Porter: An arrest warrant was issued Wednesday for Porter, former head of the CSIS watchdog agency, SIRC, for alleged fraud in the $1.3-billion construction of a Montreal mega-hospital. The Conservative government appointed Porter — a medical doctor and cancer specialist — to the Security Intelligence Review Committee in 2008. He became chairman less than two years later. Porter resigned in 2011, and now runs a private cancer clinic in the Bahamas.
Bruce Carson: Before becoming one of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's closest advisers, Carson had a history of fraud convictions and financial woes. Now he faces trial in the summer. The Prime Minister's Office contacted the RCMP in March 2011 after the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network first raised concerns about possible impropriety. Carson has pleaded not guilty to a charge of fraud on the government, also known as influence peddling. He was an adviser to Harper from 2006 to 2008.
Sen. Patrick Brazeau: He was arrested on assault and sexual assault charges — to which he has pleaded not guilty — a day after a Senate committee announced it had hired independent auditors to examine his housing expense claims. Brazeau was immediately kicked out of the Conservative caucus. He was forced by his Senate colleagues to take a leave of absence from his duties, but continues to collect his $132,000-a-year salary.
Sen Mike Duffy: The former broadcaster, appointed to the Senate in 2008, is being investigated by the Senate's Board of Internal Economy over his housing expenses. He has volunteered to repay tens of thousands of dollars in an improperly collected housing allowance, blaming confusing paperwork for the mistake.
Sen. Pamela Wallin: The Saskatchewan senator's travel expenses are also under scrutiny from the Senate's Board of Internal Economy. She has racked up travel expenses of $321,000 since September 2010. Those expenses were listed as "other travel," presumably to places other than Saskatchewan. Over the same period, she claimed only $29,423 in travel to the province she was appointed to represent. Wallin has said Senate accounting rules count only direct flights between Ottawa and a senator's home province as regular travel. She has said she often flies to Saskatchewan from Toronto, where she owns a condo, or from other parts of the country, which is counted as "other travel."
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