Statement from the Interim President of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms

On July 12 it was revealed that the Justice Centre’s then-President, John Carpay, decided to retain a private investigator to conduct surveillance on several senior government officials in Manitoba, including Chief Justice Joyal of the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench. This was an egregiously poor decision, and has been condemned unequivocally by the Justice Centre’s Board of Directors.

The Justice Centre’s mandate is to defend Canadians’ constitutional freedoms through litigation and education. Surveilling public officials is not what we do.

It was, however, a unilateral decision made by one person in the organization, who has now departed on an indefinite leave of absence. Although our litigation director, Jay Cameron, learned of the decision after the fact, none of the members of the board, staff lawyers or outside counsel had any knowledge of it.

These facts have been stated in court and in our public statements on the matter. Nevertheless, a Law Society complaint was made against Manitoba counsel, Allison Pejovic, and earlier today, the Manitoba Attorney General called for all lawyers at the Justice Centre to be investigated by the Manitoba Law Society. These efforts to damage the professional reputations of our lawyers are groundless and unjustified. None of our staff lawyers or outside counsel, including Ms. Pejovic, had knowledge of or involvement in the surveillance of officials.

The Justice Centre has a growing team of courageous, principled, capable, ethical, and professional lawyers who work hard every day to defend the Charter-guaranteed rights and freedoms of ordinary Canadians against government overreach.

Mr. Carpay has owned this mistake and will deal with whatever flows from it. In the meantime, many people in this country are counting on the Justice Centre to continue its work. The organization will use this opportunity to implement improvements in operations and decision-making processes, refocus on our mission, and continue our important legal battles on behalf of Canadians.

Lisa Bildy
Interim President
The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms