Canadian News Jul 13, 2021 8:19 PM EST

Justice Centre caught in surveillance controversy involving Manitoba judge, President John Carpay takes leave of absence

JCCF: "Surveilling public officials is not what we do. We condemn what was done without reservation.”

Justice Centre caught in surveillance controversy involving Manitoba judge, President John Carpay takes leave of absence
Alex Anas Ahmed Calgary, AB
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Justice Centre President John Carpay, who is a Post Millennial contributor, announced he is taking “an indefinite period of leave” from the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, following his decision to surveil a Manitoba judge and other senior government officials regarding their compliance with Covid regulations.

Carpay unilaterally hired a private investigator to surveil senior government officials, including Chief Justice Joyal of the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench. A decision the Board claims that had it been advised of the plan, they would have “immediately brought it to an end.”

“No member of the Board had any prior notice or knowledge of this plan and had not been consulted on it,” said the Board in a public statement. “The Justice Centre’s mandate is to defend Canadians’ constitutional freedoms through litigation and education. Surveilling public officials is not what we do. We condemn what was done without reservation.”

They extended an apology to Chief Justice Joyal for the “alarm, disturbance, and violation of privacy,” and reassured him that all such activity has ceased and would not reoccur in future.

“For years, Mr. Carpay has been a tireless advocate for Canadians’ constitutional rights and freedoms. With the integrity that we know him for, he has owned this mistake, openly, directly, and without reservation,” the Board added.

They also announced Tuesday that it intends to appoint an interim president to serve in Carpay’s absence, and has instituted a comprehensive review of Justice Centre operations and decision-making.

In a virtual hearing on Monday Joyal, the Western Standard reported that the matter concerning the private investigator would not influence his ruling on several Manitoba churches breaching public health measures.

However, he deemed the move by the Justice Centre not to share this information with Manitoba’s Court of Queen’s Bench as “unthinkable.”

“I am deeply concerned that this type of private investigative surveillance conduct could or would be used in any case involving any presiding judge in a high-profile adjudication,” said Joyal, who added that not informing the courts of the surveillance could be viewed as obstruction of justice.

Joyal revealed he had been followed both to his home and cottage on July 8 when he left the Manitoba courts building in Winnipeg. The situation is under an ongoing investigation by local law enforcement.

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