Spying on judge decried

Spying on judge decried

Re: Group apologizes for having chief justice followed during COVID-19 court challenge (July 12)

I was revolted to read that the president of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms hired private investigators to track multiple government officials, including the chief justice of Manitoba’s Court of Queen’s Bench. This was apparently done with an eye toward embarrassing these people and was, perhaps, an attempt to influence public policy and judicial outcomes. Simply put, the decision to surveil (especially, a member of the judiciary) is unconscionable and greatly oversteps the line of decency.

The organization’s lawyer tried to defend the surveillance by stating that it was an effort to hold public officials accountable and to expose their "widespread hypocrisy." Yet, when the behaviour was initially raised by the chief justice, the lawyer immediately asked for it to be discussed behind closed doors. After all, this was "not necessarily" something "the public has a right to know about." Now, isn’t that the definition of hypocrisy?

Sean Petty


News of Chief Justice Glenn Joyal being stalked by the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms and their leader, John Carpay, comes as no surprise. Carpay and the JCCF are possibly the biggest disinformation source currently conning Canadians.

The very idea of setting a private investigator upon a noted public servant seems to go against the very idea of freedom. I guess Carpay doesn’t understand his legal field all that well, which makes it doubly surprising that anyone would support his organization and spread its message of disinformation and propaganda.

Will Jones


The self-styled Justice Centre for Constitutional Rights spies on a judge, approaches his family and, when caught, "apologizes" that its spies were "only" there to "observe."

No doubt, if a decision is rendered against those irresponsible churches being defended by the centre, the centre will appeal, citing its actions as having prejudiced the judge and the courts against its clients, thus fulfilling its mandate of bullying while playing the victim.

Tim Sayeau


Will churches condemn lawyer?

Re: Fringe group that had chief judge tailed should be pushed back to the shadows (Opinion, July 13)

Do the seven rural Manitoba churches also belong on what columnist Dan Lett so eloquently describes as "the island of misfit toys"? If they knew what their oddball lawyers were doing or, now that they do know, if they don’t roundly condemn it, they too should book passage to that floating toy box of unbecoming conduct.

Barry Craig


Dodging taxes outside city limits

Re: Fire response "horrendous": McGillivray recycler (July 13)

Despite the claim of Prakash Gowdar, the owner of the recycling business destroyed by fire, it’s likely he located his business outside of city limits to avoid city taxes, as do thousands of commuters. His beef for poor firefighter response is with his municipality.

During a city election some time ago, Terry Duguid suggested we erect toll booths and charge a fee for all vehicles not registered in Winnipeg. Sounds like time to have tax avoiders pay for the services Winnipeg taxpayers provide.

Bill Allan


Statue vandalism disgraceful

Re: Manitoba premier says statues will be rebuilt (July 7)

Premier Brian Pallister was in full bully mode when he said Maxime Bernier, leader of the People’s Party of Canada, was unwelcome in Manitoba to lead a protest against lockdown measures, and that he would "empty" Bernier’s pockets if he came to Manitoba. Bernier was arrested at the protest.

Where was the premier, or at least the police, when protesters disgracefully pulled down statues of Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth on the grounds of the Manitoba legislature?

Authoritarian toward the law-abiding, and supine in the face of left-wing idiots who flouted the law worse that Bernier ever did, Brian Pallister is a bully and coward.

Vincent J. Curtis

Foothills, Alta.

It was genocide

Re: Genocide? Prove it (Letter, July 13)

Letter writer Jim Temple would like us all to stop calling the results of the residential school system "genocide" because of when the word originated. It was coined in 1944 by Raphael Lemkin after learning about crimes committed in the First World War by the Ottoman Empire against Armenians. Because he understood that similar mass murders were an old practice committed throughout the ages, he made it his mission to have the term added to international law by the United Nations so that perpetrators could be legally brought to justice.

For reference, the UN defines genocide as, "any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the groups conditions of life, calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; forcibly transferring children of the group to another group."

Sound familiar?

Joan Stephens


From my perspective, genocide is the correct language, since Canada’s efforts to eliminate Indigenous peoples as groups is a stark example of the very harm Raphael Lemkin sought to prevent when he coined the term. Groups, for Lemkin, are threatened by loss of physical life, interruption of biological reproduction, and erasure of the social and cultural bonds that sustain them.

These are the three techniques of destruction he worked to see reflected in the UN Genocide Convention, and all three assaults on group life were enacted through Canadian policies designed to remove Indigenous peoples as perceived obstacles to settlement and resource extraction.

Andrew Woolford


Make cards paper, not plastic

Re: Province pauses production of COVID-19 immunization cards (July 9)

I read with interest the letters indicating a need for plasticized immunization cards. There is already too much plastic in the world.

We needed to provide our individual Manitoba Health numbers when making our vaccination appointments. We also provided an email address on the same website. Can we not be provided with a link where we could print ourselves a paper card that indicates our name and number, and that we have received full vaccination against COVID-19?

Those without a smartphone, computer or printer could request the card from Manitoba Health, and it would be sent to them. But the large majority of Manitobans would have digital access, free of plastic and waste.

I recently retired from a large health-care benefits provider that, a few years ago, decided to reduce plastic waste in landfills by no longer providing plasticized cards. An app was developed whereby plan members could have their card on their smartphone, or print themselves a paper version of the card with all the pertinent information. Everyone loved it.

Janine Milani