The battle between several Canadian churches and authorities over COVID restrictions took a bizarre turn this week when the president of a group representing several churches admitted he hired a private investigator to surveil a judge.
John Carpay is president of nonprofit group Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF), which is representing seven rural Manitoba churches fighting public health orders. The JCCF is also representing two Alberta pastors in high-profile cases—James Coates of GraceLife Church in Edmonton and Tim Stephens of Fairview Baptist Church in Calgary. Both pastors were jailed for their defiance of public health guidelines, which garnered international attention.
At a public hearing Monday, Carpay disclosed that he had hired an investigator to tail Court of Queen’s Bench Chief Justice Glenn Joyal to see if Joyal was adhering to COVID guidelines.
Justice Joyal said the move was an attempt to embarrass him and to sway the current case. Joyal noted he was followed around Winnipeg by a vehicle, and that his home residence and his cottage were surveilled.
“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 at the hearing.
Carpay apologized at the hearing for the “error in judgment.” But he claimed the surveillance was not an attempt to influence the case before the judge.
In a statement issued later, Carpay said: “It was reported to the Justice Centre that Manitoba’s leadership were breaching public health regulations. I made the decision to hire an investigator to ascertain whether this was true. This decision was my own initiative, and was not discussed with Justice Centre clients, staff lawyers or Board members.”
Yesterday, the JCCF’s Board of Directors announced that Carpay was taking “an indefinite period of leave” following this incident and an interim president would be named.
By Josh Shepherd from The Roys Report, a Christian media outlet reporting the unvarnished truth about what’s happening in the Christian community so the church can be reformed and restored.