Letters: What’s to Become of Free Speech in Canada?

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Court’s Jordan Peterson ruling ‘deeply troubling’

As a (retired) professional, a former member of the Law Society of Ontario, I am deeply troubled by the court decision regarding Jordan Peterson and the potential for future repercussions on my profession, and others.

Firstly, requiring Peterson to undertake training from college-chosen teachers, and to have his (presumably newthink) attitudes then approved by the college, is frightening in that it implies that should the college decide his mandatory re-education is insufficient, that his attitude still is independent of what the members of the college see as “correct,” they can continue the process.

Secondly, the reasoning is doubtful. The court accepted, without questioning, those parts of the professional code that directly limit the right of free speech. Requiring psychologists to treat colleagues and patients with respect is seemingly innocuous — but when it reaches so far as to prohibit otherwise legal opinions from being expressed in a non-professional context, it goes too far.

The third issue is the outside context. Like thousands of others, I am a frequent commentator on a wide range of affairs, on online platforms. On those platforms, my profile includes the usual — education and professional qualifications in particular. Many of my opinions generate discussion, including valid and sometimes heated disagreement. The court’s decision in Peterson means that merely by referencing my legal education in my profile, I bring all those statements within the purview of the Law Society of Ontario for discipline. Were I to post somewhere (and here I unabashedly mock the decision) that I dislike skinny people, then so long as my profile identifies me as a trained lawyer, my professional body could, apparently, require me to subject myself to an attitude adjustment.

Democracy, it has been said, is messy, and not a spectator sport. And it has also been said that the test of a society’s quality lies in how it treats not its favourite, but its most dislikeable citizens. Free speech cannot be entirely unrestrained, but any restraint needs a better excuse than “you are embarrassing us.”

Tom Curran, Prince Edward County

In light of the Ontario court’s ruling on Jordan Peterson’s clash with the College of Psychologists of Ontario, the suicide of principal Richard Bilkszto following his disagreement with a Toronto District School Board contract DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) trainer, the Law Society of Ontario’s imposition of a statement of principles with respect to DEI on its members, and the firing of teacher Jim McMurtry by the Abbotsford District School Board for saying that most student deaths at residential schools were caused by disease, primarily TB, I have to conclude that we are being brainwashed by professional regulatory organizations, education systems, the courts and all three levels of government to accept and live by their collective DEI ideology or suffer.

We no longer have free speech in Canada. We can no longer debate contentious issues in public. We can no longer disagree with outrageous ideological statements in public. Our schools are more focused on indoctrination than on education.

Canadians must stand up and speak out against this rampant assault on our rights and the values upon which this country was founded.

Bob Chisholm, Calgary

The advancement of “administrative law” in Canada remains a phenomenon understood by those few who fall victim to its authority, such as Jordan Peterson. The majority of Canadians do not appreciate the ongoing erosion of their charter rights and freedoms.

A judiciary that rules that legally determined “rights” can be violated in the interest of “administrative justice” has essentially voided the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Canadians are increasingly subject to the whims and foibles of appointed regulatory and administrative authorities.

Peterson’s views are shared and respected worldwide. With judicial deference, the College of Psychologists of Ontario now has the power to silence him.

The tyranny of the administrative state is increasingly in control. Democracy is in the rear-view mirror.

Source : National Post