The National Citizens Inquiry —Almost There—And Then—??

I was a strong  supporter of the National Citizens Inquiry.

As a matter of fact , with others , I was in the front line suggesting such  a measure.

On the steps of the BC Legislative on May 28, 2022 I issued what I called my Magna Carta —-specific measures that I thought were necessary to re establish our democracy and national integrity. The very first item in that manifesto was:

‘An Independent Public National Inquiry to Examine whether Government  (Federal, Provincial and Territorial) mandates and lockdowns were necessary and constitutional.  People in Government and their agencies who are found guilty of breaking the law after due process MUST be brought to Justice.

Such an Inquiry CANNOT be led by any of the Governments of Canada who are the major subjects of the Inquiry.  Instead, a Citizens Group MUST be formed for that purpose.   And these Governments and their agencies MUST open their books and release to the inquiry and the public all necessary relevant information concerning their actions during the pandemic.’

Many orgaizations got involved and lo and behold such an Inquiry organization came into being and is up and running . On its website in the introduction section the following is stated:

‘ Citizen-Led Accountability When Governments Stayed Silent… ‘

And then goes on to say 

‘Over the past few months, hundreds of Canadians from coast-to-coast began focusing their efforts in the development of a collaborative, transparent, and truly independent national inquiry. Their efforts led to the National Citizens’ Inquiry, a completely citizen-led and citizen-funded initiative through Citizens Inquiry Canada, a newly created not-for-profit organization.’

I was a member of the support committee organizing its formation. 

I resigned from the Committee because my vocal anti government positions could be construed that the Inquiry was not truly neutral and independent having someone like me as part of it.  Other committee members concurred or did not oppose my resignation. 

While a part of the Committee I had expressed some views about the soft approach on accountability in the wording of the  mandate and made concrete suggestions to strengthen that aspect. Hence,  I had some concerns.

Nevertheless, I continued to support NCI and said so publicly on this blog . 

NCI has proceeded to organize and tens of thousands have written to the NCI indicating their moral support.

It is my clear understanding in talking to hundreds involved in the freedom movement that they supported NCI largely because it was independent of Governments. That given what had happened since early 2020 Governments were not to be trusted given the manner and nature of various government initiated mandates and lockdowns . 

Recently one of the leaders of NCI the Honourable Preston Manning has accepted a paid position ( $250,000 ) with the Alberta Government to lead that Province’s own ‘covid ‘ inquiry while still maintaining involvement with NCI. 

I have written to NCI expressing my concerns that such involvement with a Canadian Government by one of the leaders of NCI puts in jeopardy one of the principles that is the bedrock of NCI’s existence—independence and non governmental involvement as articulated not only by me but in the ideas outlined on NCI’s own website. 

NCI has responded that they have made changes to ensure there is no conflict in Mr. Manning’s dealings with the Alberta Inquiry and the National Inquiry . In other words Mr.Manning still being  involved with NCI is acceptable.

In my involvement in Government and business over decades I have come to realize even more than I had earlier the absolute necessity of integrity in all matters to ensure and safeguard a working democracy. I even remember it said to me by more than one citizen that there was only one thing wrong with me and that was I was too honest. A compliment indeed. But there is this festering , nasty idea that there are levels of honesty in public and business life. 

And often it is not what is or was written but the natural exchange between parties too closely aligned but serving  separate masters where real or perceived conflict arises. And when financial gain is involved that further complicates the situation. 

The reason why this Country and most of the world is in crisis is because its leaders have lost their moral authority to lead . Double standards, ethical and conflict of interest violations abound and misrepresentation and misinformation and partial science are sold as fact. Recently another Federal Minister is found breaking the ethics law joining the Prime Minister and Former Finance Minister Morneau.  Conservative Party leaders use party funds for personal use. Health professionals have been fired for expressing their views and the esteemed intellectual Jordan Peterson is having to fight to keep his professional designation. 

All the more reason that a Citizen led independent inquiry’s behaviour must be utterly beyond reproach in its own operation and functioning when looking at Government policies and programs which negatively impacted citizens all the way to death , injury, psychological distress, loss of employment and family disruption and separation .

Lord Hewart, Lord Chef Justice of England in 1924 said : “

Justice must not only be done, but must also be seen to be done

The present structure of NCI in my view presents a perceived conflict of interest . This is tricky business and to provide the opportunity to Governments to criticize us for that which we criticize them surely undermines our credibility. 

The National Citizens Inquiry’s independence is at stake . The organization would do well to heed the advice ( as I have done) of the Lord ChiefJustice almost one hundred years ago.

Honourable A. Brian Peckford 

20 thoughts on “The National Citizens Inquiry —Almost There—And Then—??

  1. My sincere apologies if this is obviously stated somewhere already, but I’ve found myself wondering more and more what the NCI is authorized to do with their findings and rulings. Will it affect the guilty in any way? Will laws be changed or made to ensure such insanity can never happen again in Canada (or will, at the very least, receive many more checks on its descent into madness)? Or will it just be an echo chamber of the already-convinced agreeing with each other while the rest of Canada is barely aware it happened or that the NCI exists? I do not mean to be disparaging, but am honestly asking.


  2. When I first heard that Preston Manning was heading an inquiry for Danielle Smith my first thought was: What about the NCI? Thank you Mr. Peckford for putting into words that wonder. Now, I think it is great that Mr. Manning is doing an inquiry for Premier Smith. But you are right – he must step away from the NCI and explain why in the spirit of total transparency. I am sure the NCI can proceed effectively without him. Both inquiries will then have the whiff of conflict fumigated. And we will have two tips of the same spear to slay the Canadian version of this dragon called C-19. No other country in the world is doing what we are doing. As with the trucker’s Freedom Convoy, Canada leads the way.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Money talks; integrity walks and another Canadian movement could be headed for the toilet.

    My first thought when reading this article was “aw (bovine excrement)”!

    The only way the NCI can be seen to be above reproach is to totally distance itself from any and all forms of government.

    As patriotic as Mr. Manning may seem to be, he has got to go. Otherwise the NCI will be seen to be a farce.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Bang on!!! Honesty IS the best policy on all fronts, of which there are ZERO!!! Amongst today’s political parties and or governments.
    Manning, as a paid official should be nowhere near the inquiry as it WILL spread the rot into the whole process.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Senor Peckford,

    I was going to write the NCI and voice my concerns regarding this obvious conflict of interest and ask why any serious, honourable individual (i.e. Preston Manning) would not recuse/resign from his leadership role in the NCI.

    Well, let’s say my confidence level in the NCI dropped like a stone. It is apparent from their website that they don’t really want to make it easy for people to contact them. Certainly not to voice one’s concern regarding this obvious moral and ethical issue.

    I’m left with several potential conclusions:

    If Preston doesn’t resign, he is just another hypocrite who puts his ego and self-interest ahead of the cause; 2. He isn’t a principled person and is tarred with the same brush as those whom he is “investigating”; 3. The NCI will be providing loads of ammunition, to its adversaries, who can legitimately state the NCI is bias, untrustworthy, inundated with hypocrisy, and just another attempt by bigots to play politics, camouflaged with the very virtue signalling the NCI indicates it disdains.

    Your article was one of the most disappointing I have read in the last several years. Why? Because I thought the NCI was a vehicle that could and would bring a modicum of credibility to the cause. Sadly, they are now, it seems, prepared to take the 12 gauge out and shoot themselves, repeatedly, in the feet.

    Do you have an e-mail address where I could send my concerns where it would have a chance, that is a scintilla of the possibility of it being read by someone in a position of influence, regarding this Manning conflict-of-interest matter?



    Sent from my iPad


    Liked by 3 people

  6. How does Manning on the one hand sing the praises of a citizens led inquiry because of the independent nature of such an endeavour then go and lead a “public” inquiry for the current government of AB? 🤔

    Liked by 1 person

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