-Natasha Macdonald, staff

Bruce Carson, former senior aide to Prime Minister Steven Harper, has recently been put under question for using approximately $20,000 of The Canadian School of Energy and the Environment’s money for personal expenses. This is not the first time Carson has been charged with fraud.

The Canadian School of Energy and Environment, where Carson served as Executive Director is a combination of efforts from the University of Alberta, University of Calgary and the University of Lethbridge. The school’s website boasts that “The vision of CSEE is to contribute to a future of abundant supplies of clean energy, a vibrant and healthy environment and sustainable prosperity and social well-being for Canadians.”

This school is deemed a necessary and worthwhile part of Canadian research facilities until attention was brought to the inappropriate spending habits of Carson. The $20,000 used from the school’s account lay in luxuries such as personal travel expenses. Carson has been charged with  five counts of fraud and  mandatory psychiatric treatment prior to government work.

“[Carson] was well-regarded. On that basis, the Privy Council Office gave him a security clearance. The fact is, I did not know about these revelations … I don’t know why I did not know,” says Harper.

The school, which has managed to collect $5000 of the lost funds, has deemed the remainder as “uncollectible.”

“In the overall scheme of things, it is not a large amount, but we all feel that when you’re dealing with public funds, every single dollar counts,” said Robert Turner, Chairman of The Canadian School for Energy and Environment in an interview with the CBC.

Carson, is not the first to be charged with spending government money on personal expenses and previous commiters are far from sparse. Saxby Chambliss, a California senator, was put into the limelight in 2009 regarding the government’s apparent funding of his golf habits. Mark Sanford, a former governor in the States, was accused of funding his affair through government money.

The average taxpayer can see that government money is being spent frivolously by certain individuals who hold the power to do so. Citizens can do little more than stay informed to ensure that their taxpayers’ dollars are spent in an appropriate and responsible manner.

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