The Critical Case of Dr Canaday – Part 1

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Peter Canaday’s Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal (HPDT) Hearing.

Dr Peter Canaday, a medical doctor, former respiratory physician and more recently a retired radiologist, defended several charges of alleged professional misconduct laid by the New Zealand Medical Council’s PCC (Professional Conduct Committee).  The hearing was held from 17-21 April 2023 in New Plymouth.

The charges were in relation to 3 discussions Dr Canaday participated in:

  • 9 July 2021- an interview broadcast on Raglan Community Radio, just prior to that evening’s public presentation in Raglan,
  • 21 July 2021 – a Courageous Convos free-form conversation with the founders of VFF (Voices for Freedom),
  • 19 August 2021 – an online webinar hosted by VFF titled COVID-19 and the Pfizer Vaccine: Fact or Fantasy

Various allegations leading to the charges were made, including:

  • Statements that were inaccurate and/or misleading, or had the potential to mislead;
  • Statements that were disparaging and/or amounted to unprofessional criticism of other health practitioners, and had the potential to encourage criticism of other health practitioners; 
  • Statements that individually or cumulatively brought, or were likely to bring, discredit to the medical profession;
  • That such conduct amounts to professional misconduct; amounts to malpractice and/or negligence in relation to Dr Canaday’s scope of practice.

When news of the COVID-19 pandemic potentially involving New Zealand arrived in March 2020, Dr Canaday, as Head of Radiology, was involved in the Taranaki District Health Board’s preparations for managing it. Following his retirement in March 2021, he spent many hours researching about the disease and about the main, and nearly exclusive, approach in New Zealand to its management, the vaccine distributed by Pfizer. 

Having been a former respiratory physician, he already had substantial knowledge about respiratory infections and how to manage them, including critical care and ventilator management.

He had been present during the original worldwide SARS epidemic in 2003 while practising radiology in the United States and was familiar with many respiratory-related vaccines during his earlier practice of respiratory medicine through 1993. 

As the pandemic progressed, he became increasingly concerned with the NZ Government’s public health response, the experimental nature of a gene-encoding medical intervention unlike any prior vaccines in common use, the unexplored potential harms it may have been causing, the apparent disregard for the principles of informed consent, and the lack of discussion about, and active suppression of, potentially effective re-purposed treatments. 

As the novel vaccines were rolled out to the entire adult NZ population, instead of those most at risk (the elderly and infirm who were usually targeted for vaccine administration in prior infectious respiratory disease outbreaks), he became more concerned about the information the public was being given.  More importantly, though, he was concerned about Missing Information— that which the public was NOT being told.

Shortly after his retirement in March 2021 as a consultant radiologist as noted above, Dr Canaday was asked by a local coordinator of grassroots advocacy group Voices for Freedom if he could prepare a brief public presentation about the background of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, COVID-19, what was known about typical vaccines and about the Pfizer product that had been deployed in New Zealand. In view of his past experience treating patients in the United States with respiratory diseases, as well as his academic appointment at an American university medical centre teaching radiology trainees, he agreed to do this.

On 13 June 2021, his first presentation was given to interested New Plymouth area residents who had found fellowship with others who had similar concerns through Voices for Freedom, one of whose founders, Claire Deeks, flew from Auckland to attend the event.

At the invitation of the principals of Voices for Freedom, Dr Canaday embarked on a countrywide speaking tour, giving continually updated versions of his original “COVID-19 and the Pfizer Vaccine: Fact or Fantasy” presentation to 17 venues hosted by VFF local groups. These events occurred throughout the North Island and also Wanaka in the South Island between June and August 2021.  

His popular, well-attended talks covered a range of topics related to COVID 19.  At the end of the presentations there was always time for engaging the audiences with a Q and A session, and this generated much discussion among New Zealanders thirsty for additional information.  Many Kiwis had “smelled a rat”, felt that they were not getting the full story, and often had brought findings from their own research to Dr Canaday’s attention for discussion.  

Just prior to the anticipated largest speaking engagement scheduled for Auckland on 19 August 2021, New Zealand entered a level 4 lockdown on 17 August, and the planned presentation was moved to an online ZOOM forum 2 days later, hosted by the three principal founders of Voices for Freedom instead.  

With nearly 1000 attendees at that time, Dr Canaday built on that level of public interest by presenting a series of webinars called “Fireside Chats” hosted by Voices for Freedom in which he presented timely new information, published scientific papers of high relevance to the pandemic and how it affected New Zealanders and their health concerns. These were carried out at nearly biweekly intervals from August 2021 to April 2022.

As the apparent suppression of public discourse on this important topic became more obvious, Dr Canaday also incorporated regular vignettes of life in the Soviet Union and other repressive regimes, taken from his own early study of Russian language and history, and the lived experiences of his Ukrainian-born wife who grew up during the Soviet era. 

However, some members of the public complained to the HDC (Health and Disability Commission) that Dr Canaday’s comments were full of “dangerous misinformation” and that he “needs to be deregistered” from the Medical Council, which then started an investigation in September 2021. 

Very quickly Dr Canaday was deemed to be such a threat to public health that the MCNZ (Medical Council of New Zealand) undertook an “interim suspension” of his APC (Annual Practice Certificate) without identifying what precisely this “dangerous misinformation” was.

At the same time, the MCNZ referred the matters in question to a Professional Conduct Committee. This is a group of 2 medical professionals and one layperson who looked in more detail at the allegations made about Dr Canaday’s conduct. 

They ultimately made a determination that specific charges should be lodged against him which should be heard before a HPDT. Referral to the HPDT generally occurs in cases of serious misconduct, and public expectations of this are typically related to concerns about inappropriate behaviour with patients, gross negligence, habitual drunkenness, narcotics addiction and other ethical failings. 

Believing that his APC suspension was inappropriate, unfair and unprecedented and that the PCC investigation would take many months, Dr Canaday immediately filed an appeal to this decision by the MCNZ in Wellington District Court.  His court hearing was on 24th and 25th Feb 2022, and Judge Harrop’s decision was delivered on 31 Mar 2022. 

Judge Harrop ruled that the suspension had not been a fair, reasonable or proportionate response to the risk of harm to public health that MCNZ had asserted after reviewing his public statements.  Judge Harrop also noted that the suspension had not, in any case, resulted in Dr Canaday’s discontinuation of his public speaking on the topic of great interest to New Zealanders.  

The MCNZ legal team were directed to confer with Dr Canaday’s team and come to an arrangement, known as a “Voluntary Undertaking” In this “VU”, Dr Canaday agreed to state, in part, that his views and the topics presented in his webinars “… may differ from what the MCNZ considers to be the views held by the majority of my New Zealand medical peers, and may be contrary to evidence set out on the Ministry of Health website”, and also to note that a Professional Conduct Committee had been appointed “… which may lead to disciplinary actions because of my publicly expressed views on the vaccination or immunisation against COVID-19.”

In fact, Dr Canaday had already made the first of these conditions an essential announcement at the beginning of all his presentations anyway.

The HPDT hearing was conducted from 17-21 April 2023 in New Plymouth.  The expert witness for the PCC was Dr Mark Thomas, a retired infectious diseases specialist from Auckland City Hospital but still active member of the faculty of the University of Auckland.  The lawyer for the PCC was Hayden Wilson. 

Dr Canaday was represented by attorneys Adam Holloway and Matthew McClelland KC. Tribunal members consisted of a Chairperson with prior legal training and experience, a semi-retired GP, an active community GP, an academic psychiatry faculty member and a lay member of the public serving on a North Island District Health Board.

During the Tribunal hearing, the PCC’s charges were presented, the PCC expert read out his brief of evidence and was cross-examined by Mr McClelland. The 19 August 2021 recorded VFF webinar “COVID-19 and the Pfizer Vaccine: Fact or Fantasy” was next screened for the Tribunal members in order to give context to the written transcripts.

Next Dr Canaday read out his brief of evidence, sometimes referring to scientific reports from the nearly 2000 pages of documents supporting his brief. He then underwent lengthy cross-examination by Mr Wilson, continuing into Thursday morning.

On the final day of the week-long Hearing, the closing submissions were read, first by Mr Wilson, and then by Mr Holloway. These incorporated the cogent legal arguments, the assessment of whether the PCC’s charges had been proven, and also what each counsel considered to be the most damning statements made during cross-examination of their respective client’s opponents.

To date, at more than six weeks since the close of the hearing on 21 April 2023, the Tribunal has yet to announce its determination as to whether the PCC’s charges had been proven, or if proven, what disciplinary measures were to be recommended. 

As we wait for the promised decision “within a month”, a number of questions can be asked in anticipation of the Tribunal’s report:
  1. Do doctors have the same right to freedom of expression as other citizens in a declared health emergency?
  2. The NZ Bill of Rights Act 1990, Section 14 states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of expression, including the freedom to seek, receive and impart information and opinions of any kind in any form.” Does this essential right, underpinning all free and democratic societies, have any meaning if it can be abridged by government when that speech departs from government messaging?
  3. When is a doctor not only a doctor but also a person or citizen entitled to rights and privileges of ordinary persons or citizens?
  4. What jurisdiction does the MCNZ have over retired or non-practising doctors when it comes to public comments which are not related to any doctor-patient consultative role?
  5. Having obtained an MBChB or equivalent degree, is one entitled to call oneself a doctor even if one is without a current APC?
  6. Does a doctor have the right to speak based on prior education, training and clinical experience in a field of medical practice different to that for which he or she is registered with the Medical Council, but may be registered overseas?
  7. Should a charge with potential disciplinary implications be lodged if a statement:
    • Simply has the “potential to mislead”?  Who is to judge that “potential” or is that to be determined solely by the Medical Council or their favoured expert?
    • If it was later proven to be inaccurate, but was sincerely believed to be accurate at the time based on published literature and sound logic? 
    • If it was actually accurate at the time, but not widely recognised to be accurate until much later, or perhaps not yet but is still not implausible? 
    • If it alleged “unprofessional criticism” of other health practitioners when none have been named? 
    • If such criticism, even if identified against a specific individual, was possibly accurate but unwelcome?
  8. How does one objectively determine whether a statement or statements bring or “… were likely to bring” discredit to the profession as a whole? Is that something that the MCNZ should have sole authority to determine?
  9. Are we to conclude that speaking against what “the profession believes” will be equivalent to “bringing discredit” upon it?  
  10. How do we know what “the profession” believes? Does the Medical Council actually represent “the profession’s” views? How can we know “the profession’s” views without canvassing doctors in a fashion which is fair, statistically reliable and uncoerced?
  11. How is “the consensus” view determined where charges are made that one’s views depart from it? Who determines “the consensus”?  How do we know that “consensus” is not compromised by those with commercial conflicts of interest?  
  12. While “consensus” has value in a political or decision-making sense, does “consensus” have the same value in the realm of science? Is it not true that if all that doctors could operate from was “the consensus”, there would never be any innovations?

These and many more questions have been raised as a result of Dr Canaday’s Tribunal. It is apparent that the outcome of this proceeding will not simply affect the practising status of one semi-retired doctor, and not only that of many other doctors who have chosen to “go against the grain”, but also what it means to live in a nation that has historically prided itself on the rights and freedoms of a free and democratic society.


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  1. Thank you, thank you , thank you for all your good work .
    We appreciate your knowledge and courage to work on our behalf.

    1. Anyone speaking against the official narrative is getting nailed to a cross, seems a lot like Nazi Germany…no surprise the private company w.h.o who dictates to U.N countries what to do in a pandemics leader is the son of a Nazi. Nothing to see here folks move along.

  2. You ask very pertinent questions. Another to consider, maybe. When a professional individual is promoted to a position outside his/her demonstrated professional competence, it is surely an incumbent ethical, legal and moral responsibility to achieve in a manner expected of such a position. The need to consult expert opinion and constantly review decisions in light of new information would seem a very reasonable expectation. After all this is the very basis of professional development, especially in the fast changing world of medicine cases of negligence may be applied. Recently a certain Director General of Health was appointed. One who was specialised in public health yet a career manager in our public health system. One might ask about his clinical experience given his few located published papers, pertained to such things as importance of exercise and use of sunblock. Yet he used his position to over rule recommendations to provide individual vaccine exemptions, in some cases from seemingly much more qualified specialists, such as consultant cardiologists. A field in which he appears to have no great demonstrated expertise. Especially given it took him 9 months to issue a warning of myocarditis as a possible consequence even though the US military had long confirmed this serious adverse reaction, initially documented in the Pfizer papers. As a result vulnerable individuals who were mandated to keep their job, were coerced to take a first or second injection only to suffer severe reaction and in some cases apparent permanent injury. Where is the accountability on such people in these positions of “public servant”? In wartime even Generals are accountable for their decisions, sometimes facing imprisonment or worse, but apparently not in our health care system. Even if it is a time of “war” against an unknown microbial threat. There would seem to be a number of very serious deficiencies within our health care system, particularly involving a variety of unelected officials with dubious purpose, who hold an ultimate power to impede an ethical, moral and legal discharge of duty of those in the front line and seemingly without consequence. This at a time where those unselfishly acting to give service to the public are doing so in a wholly professional manner which withstands logical (therefore legal) scrutiny ….where political motivation is over riding a behaviour expected within a professional group, a group to which an Oath of Promise is held in the highest regard, surely there is a case to answer here… a case of Malfeasance ….. So… if we really desire our society to learn and grow to provide a better system for the future….what do we do about it?

    1. The medical profession was steadily losing the confidence of the public for a long time. But the superlative effort at arrogance, stupidity and plain lack of knowledge about the bioweapon consigns them to the junkyard of medical history. A new workable health profession will emerge in time. The medical council to every individual is culpable [ in my opinion here] of homicidal malpractice. I look forward to the utter collapse of this vile council in the ensuing legal cases against it, and the individuals comprising this rotten mercenary evil system.

    2. This is an entirely accurate summary of this whole disaster. Thankyou Anon. Yes, there are certainly big questions to be answered by these officials, ideally in the law courts. Time will tell if the public has the gumption and awakened self-interest to demand this, and see the enforcement of consequences as it is not happening on its own.

      Justice delayed is justice denied. Peter Canaday has the right to a decision, but it would seem the tribunal cannot bring itself, or is not allowed, to declare the correct one.

  3. Bryan bloody Betty. He still hasn’t acknowledged the copy of RFK’s book ‘The Real Anthony Fauci’ which we sent to him…

  4. This will be an important decision, as there are many outspoken doctors whose livelihoods could be similarly threatened if there is an adverse finding against Dr Canaday, whose qualifications and experience surely make him eminently qualified to give an opinion on the safety and effectiveness (or otherwise) of the Pfizer gene therapy.

  5. I salute Dr Canaday and all those that stand by him , history is driven by so few.

  6. The government should be brought before a royal commision for their actions. I was born in NZ and with what was done cannot return to a country being destroyed. No wonder Jacinda has run away to the USA.

  7. Who the hell should we vote for. Because I cannot vote for any of them it seems.

    1. That is a excellent question in regard to the NZ coming up election David, all of the present members both in Government and the opposition are in my view criminals, one could never really trust any of them. We require a group of people who said no to the taking of the mRNA injection, because they have proved that they have lateral thinking ability, that’s really what this country badly needs right now.

  8. Vilified for his honesty, an unremarkable man in a remarkable situation with the guts to speak the truth.
    We shall see how corrupt this politically inspired medical rot has gone by the resulting decision.

  9. Anyone speaking against the official narrative is getting nailed to a cross, seems a lot like Nazi Germany…no surprise the private company w.h.o who dictates to U.N countries what to do in a pandemics leader is the son of a Nazi. Nothing to see here folks move along.

  10. MCNZ is the modern Spanish inquisition. This is nothing more than intimidation tactics in the guise of public health. It’s clear that the all intention here is to intimidate doctors and to keep them in line. Dr Canaday will win but this will come at a huge financial and mental cost. Which serves the purpose of intimidation of doctors.

    What does this say about the medical profession as a whole? How can doctors be trusted if they are not allowed to state their honest processional opinion?

    When I see a doctor should I ask him / her whether the diagnosis is based on political motives or purely on scientific grounds? How can I even believe the answer if it can put the doctor at risk?

    MCNZ has done a lot to destroy public trust in the profession.

  11. Dr Canaday is a Hero. He stands as a real man who leads and gives us strength to follow. We do have the numbers. There will be a tipping point.

  12. There are so many doctors and researchers that have spoken against the medical boards that control their ability to earn a living as medical practitioner.

    I am always amazed these medical personnel, and researchers, who have much more expertise in the areas of vaccines and respiratory illnesses, get defensive when attacked.

    Why not instead immediately prosecute the medical board representatives, those that signed the letters. It only takes a single solicitor’s letter on behalf of the maligned doctor, and a threat of millions of dollars for defamation.

    Then let the medical boards get defensive.

  13. There are so many doctors and researchers that have spoken against the medical boards that control their ability to earn a living as medical practitioner.

    I am always amazed that they, who have much more expertise in the areas of vaccines and respiratory illnesses, get defensive when attacked.

    Why not instead immediately prosecute the medical board representatives, those that signed the letters. It only takes a single solicitor’s letter on behalf of the maligned doctor, and a threat of millions of dollars for defamation.

    Then let the medical boards get defensive.

  14. In reply to David Perry, best you have a good hard look at “NZ Democracy Party” headed by
    Matt King, they seem, to me, to be the only outfit saying the right things. Matt was an MP and resigned in disgust. Check it out, last time I looked they had representatives in about 10 or 11 electorates. Dave39

  15. Dear Dr Canaday, you won our hearts as we listened to you on VFF zoom. You gave us courage. Kindest regards and best wishes, Ngā mihi! Kia kaha!

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