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Media Release – Open Letter to Brian Peckford May 10th, 2023

For Immediate Release: May 10, 2023

An open letter in response to Hon. Brian Peckford

On Friday, May 5th, Hon. Brian Peckford, former Premier of Newfoundland, publicly denounced the
National Citizens Inquiry at the Great Canadian Awakening Conference in Whitby, Ontario. It is my
understanding that organizers had asked Mr. Peckford to speak about the Canadian Charter of Rights
and Freedoms.

I have to admit that I am disappointed and dismayed by Mr. Peckford’s criticism that this important
initiative is “seriously flawed” due to what he perceives as a “conflict of interest”. The criticism is
surprising given it was Mr. Peckford who initially called for an independent public national inquiry in
May 2022 as part of his message at the Reclaiming Canada conference in Victoria, BC. He served as
one of the founding members of the steering committee responsible for bringing the vision of a citizen
led, citizen funded inquiry to fruition. Mr. Peckford resigned from the steering committee because his
vocal anti-government positions could be construed that the Inquiry was not truly neutral and
independent, and he felt that his best contribution could be as a witness presenting his evidence for the
public record.

The Hon. Preston Manning was also an early supporter of the Inquiry as one of more than a dozen
people initially organizing the hearings. Earlier this year, Mr. Manning accepted a request from Alberta
Premier Danielle Smith to chair a panel to review the legislation that guided Alberta’s response to
COVID-19 and recommend changes to improve the handling of future public health emergencies for
Albertans. With early and full understanding of Mr. Manning’s separate roles, both parties agreed that
he could continue to serve both his fellow Canadians and his fellow Albertans and appropriate
modifications were made to Mr. Manning’s responsibilities with the Inquiry. The independent members
of the steering committee agreed that Mr. Manning’s contributions to the committee are very valuable
and the organizers believe the National Citizens Inquiry is much better with him than without him as
one of our highly valued volunteers. Further, Mr. Manning is but one vote of many. Despite extensive
explanation, Mr. Peckford disagrees with the members of the steering committee, (which includes
experts in ethics) which is his right.

However, the Inquiry is in progress with amazing success and Mr. Peckford’s concerns are not likely
shared by the tens of thousands of Canadians who have signed the petition, volunteered their time and
talent, and had their lives changed by the experience of attending and watching the hearings. Six of
eight scheduled hearings have to date been completed. Due to the overwhelming demand from people
to speak about the harm they have experienced and the need for still more expert testimony, organizers
are considering ways to hear from more people.

I encourage Mr. Peckford to watch the testimony of the hundreds of courageous witnesses who have
stepped forward, overcoming their fear of social and financial impacts. I respectfully submit that there
is nothing flawed about the National Citizens Inquiry:

  • The independent commissioners are not flawed
  • The lawyers facilitating the testimony are not flawed
  • Those courageous Canadians testifying are not flawed
  • The hundreds of individuals volunteering to support the inquiry are terrific people who may not
    be “perfect” but neither are they “flawed”

In fact, I am personally humbled by all those involved, and incredibly proud of what the National
Citizens Inquiry has accomplished to date. We have brought forward the testimony of those whose
lives have been catastrophically harmed by government mandates and policies. We have given voice to
the millions of Canadians whose experiences have been silenced, censored and diminished. And we
have invited government and media across our nation to justify their measures and mandates. The
public’s response to the NCI confirms what we assumed to be true – Canadians want the truth based on
solid verifiable evidence. We are delivering as promised. We knew there would be those who would
attempt to discredit the NCI because of what it is exposing. There are vested interests who do not want
the truth to be shared with the public. But collectively the hundreds of NCI volunteers have faithfully
discharged their responsibilities, and for that, all Canadians should be grateful.

I suggest the NCI may be one of the most important citizen-led events in the history of Canada; time
will tell. We have two further hearings scheduled for Quebec City and Ottawa. I welcome and
encourage all Canadians to witness the testimony and decide for themselves.

David A Ross FCPA FCA
Director, National Citizens Inquiry