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John Carpay takes leave after hiring Private Investigator to observe Manitoba’s Chief Justice: Statements from Justice Centre and Carpay

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As Covid restrictions moved past the initial promise of two weeks into months and waves, John Carpay and The Justice Centre have taken on significant prominence for individuals and businesses fighting against them.  For those who believe their rights have been infringed by Covid restrictions the Justice Centre offers an extensive and free list of information on its website, including an entire ‘living’ book, constantly updated with the latest information on the rights and freedoms in respect to the various sets of Covid restrictions across Canada.  Those facing legal challenges, are offered direct connection with members of their legal team.

This week the President of the Justice Centre, John Carpay suddenly stepped down.  In his statement to the Board of Directors for the Justice Centre Carpay says he went too far when he decided to hire a private investigator to observe Manitoba Chief Justice Glenn Joyal.  Carpay says he was trying to confirm information that certain members of Manitoba’s leadership responsible for enforcing strict restrictions, were violating those same restrictions.  

Here are the statements made by both he Board of Directors of the Justice Centre, and former President John Carpay as posted on the website of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms 

Statement from the Board of Directors of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms

On Monday July 12, 2021, the members of the Board of Directors of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (Justice Centre) were informed that a private investigator had been retained by Justice Centre President John Carpay to conduct surveillance on senior government officials, including Chief Justice Joyal of the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench, in regard to their compliance with Covid regulations.

No member of the Board had any prior notice or knowledge of this plan and had not been consulted on it. Had the Board been advised of the plan, it would have immediately brought it to an end. Mr. Carpay has acknowledged that he made the decision unilaterally. Apart from the Justice Centre’s Litigation Director, none of the Justice Centre’s lawyers or Board members were aware that this was occurring until July 12.

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. We apologize to Chief Justice Joyal for the alarm, disturbance, and violation of privacy. All such activity has ceased and will 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. Mr. Carpay has advised the Board that, effective today, he is taking an indefinite period of leave from his responsibilities at the Justice Centre. The Board will appoint an interim president to serve in his absence, and has instituted a comprehensive review of Justice Centre operations and decision-making.


Statement by John Carpay, President – July 12, 2021

As has been communicated in the media, I apologized this morning to Chief Justice Joyal in the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench for my decision to include him in passive observation conducted by a private investigator at my request, to hold government officials accountable.  In an error of judgement, Chief Justice Joyal was included with the observation of government officials.

No other judges were included. Over the last 16 months, Canadians have faced unprecedented restrictions on their Charter-guaranteed freedoms to travel, assemble, associate with others, and worship. The Justice Centre’s mandate is to defend Canadians’ constitutional freedoms through litigation and education.

When public officials breach health orders, as we saw recently with Alberta Premier Kenney’s “Sky Palace” dinner, it is evidence that they do not feel compelled to abide by the same restrictions which they impose on other citizens, often with significant penalties. It was reported to the Justice Centre that Manitoba’s leadership were similarly breaching public health regulations.  I made the decision to hire an investigator to ascertain whether this was true.

In no way was this intended to influence or impact the Justice Centre’s litigation efforts, or any of our court cases.  This decision was my own initiative, and was not discussed with Justice Centre clients, staff lawyers or Board members.

After 15 years as a TV reporter with Global and CBC and as news director of RDTV in Red Deer, Duane set out on his own 2008 as a visual storyteller. During this period, he became fascinated with a burgeoning online world and how it could better serve local communities. This fascination led to Todayville, launched in 2016.

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CDC director announces shake-up, citing COVID mistakes

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NEW YORK (AP) — The head of the nation’s top public health agency on Wednesday announced a shake-up of the organization, saying it fell short responding to COVID-19 and needs to become more nimble

The planned changes at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — CDC leaders call it a “reset”— come amid criticism of the agency’s response to COVID-19, monkeypox and other public health threats. The changes include internal staffing moves and steps to speed up data releases.

The CDC’s director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, told the agency’s staff about the changes on Wednesday. It’s a CDC initiative, and was not directed by the White House or other administration officials, she said.

“I feel like it’s my my responsibility to lead this agency to a better place after a really challenging three years,” Walensky told The Associated Press.

The Atlanta-based agency, with a $12 billion budget and more than 11,000 employees, is charged with protecting Americans from disease outbreaks and other public health threats. It’s customary for each CDC director to do some reorganizing, but Walensky’s action comes amid a wider demand for change.

The agency has long been criticized as too ponderous, focusing on collection and analysis of data but not acting quickly against new health threats. Public unhappiness with the agency grew dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic. Experts said the CDC was slow to recognize how much virus was entering the U.S. from Europe, to recommend people wear masks, to say the virus can spread through the air, and to ramp up systematic testing for new variants.

“We saw during COVID that CDC’s structures, frankly, weren’t designed to take in information, digest it and disseminate it to the public at the speed necessary,” said Jason Schwartz, a health policy researcher at the Yale School of Public Health.

Walensky, who became director in January 2021, has long said the agency has to move faster and communicate better, but stumbles have continued during her tenure. In April, she called for an in-depth review of the agency, which resulted in the announced changes.

“It’s not lost on me that we fell short in many ways” responding to the coronavirus, Walensky said. “We had some pretty public mistakes, and so much of this effort was to hold up the mirror … to understand where and how we could do better.”

Her reorganization proposal must be approved by the Department of Health and Human Services secretary. CDC officials say they hope to have a full package of changes finalized, approved and underway by early next year.

Some changes still are being formulated, but steps announced Wednesday include:

—Increasing use of preprint scientific reports to get out actionable data, instead of waiting for research to go through peer review and publication by the CDC journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

—Restructuring the agency’s communications office and further revamping CDC websites to make the agency’s guidance for the public more clear and easier to find.

—Altering the length of time agency leaders are devoted to outbreak responses to a minimum of six months — an effort to address a turnover problem that at times caused knowledge gaps and affected the agency’s communications.

—Creation of a new executive council to help Walensky set strategy and priorities.

—Appointing Mary Wakefield as senior counselor to implement the changes. Wakefield headed the Health Resources and Services Administration during the Obama administration and also served as the No. 2 administrator at HHS. Wakefield, 68, started Monday.

—Altering the agency’s organization chart to undo some changes made during the Trump administration.

—Establishing an office of intergovernmental affairs to smooth partnerships with other agencies, as well as a higher-level office on health equity.

Walensky also said she intends to “get rid of some of the reporting layers that exist, and I’d like to work to break down some of the silos.” She did not say exactly what that may entail, but emphasized that the overall changes are less about redrawing the organization chart than rethinking how the CDC does business and motivates staff.

“This will not be simply moving boxes” on the organization chart, she said.

Schwartz said flaws in the federal response go beyond the CDC, because the White House and other agencies were heavily involved.

A CDC reorganization is a positive step but “I hope it’s not the end of the story,” Schwartz said. He would like to see “a broader accounting” of how the federal government handles health crises.

___

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

Mike Stobbe, The Associated Press

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Public hearings in Emergencies Act inquiry to start in September

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OTTAWA — The inquiry into Ottawa’s unprecedented use of the Emergencies Act during protests in February will start its public hearings next month.

The Public Order Emergency Commission announced today that it expects the hearings to run from Sept. 19 until Oct. 28 at Library and Archives Canada in downtown Ottawa.

Commissioner Paul Rouleau said in a statement that he intends to hold the government to account and wants the inquiry to be as “open and transparent” as possible.

Hearings will be livestreamed online and members of the public will have opportunities to share their views, with a final report expected early next year.

Parties to the inquiry including “Freedom Convoy” organizers, police forces and all three levels of government are expected to testify and contribute documentary evidence on the invocation of the act in February.

The federal Liberals made the move amid border blockades and the occupation of downtown Ottawa by protesters demonstrating against COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 15, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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