John Carpay was born in the Netherlands, and grew up in Williams Lake, B.C. He earned his B.A. in Political Science at Laval University in Quebec City, and his LL.B. from the University of Calgary. He is fluent in English, French, and Dutch.
John served the Canadian Taxpayers Federation as Alberta Director from 2001 to 2005, advocating for lower taxes, less waste, and accountable government. During that time, Alberta Venture magazine named him as one of Alberta’s 50 most influential people. The Edmonton Sun described him as the “unofficial leader of the opposition.” When the PCs and Liberals voted themselves huge MLA severance pay packages (more than $1,000,000 for Ed Stelmach; $257,000 for Dave Rodney) John placed 82 plastic pink pigs on the Alberta Legislature lawn in protest. The PCs have never forgiven John for exposing their taxpayer-funded extravagance.
John is the founder and president of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms. His clients include university students across Canada who are defending their campus free speech rights in the face of censorship from university administrations. John co-authored the Campus Freedom Index, the first study of its kind in Canada, ranking universities and student unions on how well they carry out their mission of serving as a forum for free speech and frank debate. In Whatcott v. Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission, John served on the legal team defending free speech rights that are threatened by human rights commissions.
In 2010, Preston Manning presented John Carpay with the Pyramid Award for Ideas and Public Policy in recognition of John’s work in constitutional advocacy, and in recognition of John’s success in building up and managing a non-profit organization to defend citizens’ freedoms.
In Benoit v. Canada, John advocated for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation position that race, ancestry, descent, and ethnicity should have no bearing on tax law. John also championed racial equality before the Supreme Court of Canada in R. v. Kapp, representing the intervener Japanese Canadian Fishermen’s Association. He defended freedom of expression before the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal in Whatcott v. Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission, and before the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench in Lund v. Boissoin. In Wilson v. University of Calgary (currently before the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench) John proudly advocates for the right of tuition-paying students to express their opinions on campus in the face of the university’s censorship demands.
John, his wife Barbra, and their four children reside in Calgary.