In January of this year, best-selling author Jordan Peterson was told by Canada’s College of Psychologists of Ontario to undergo re-education therapy for his very public statements, not on professional psychology and science, but politics and culture. The Canadian College of Psychologists holds Peterson says things they don’t care for and feel they have the duty to fix his beliefs. Peterson took his case to court because the College’s order threatens his professional licensure.
The Ontario Divisional Court dismissed Dr. Peterson’s claim in late August and upheld the College of Psychologists’ demand. The Court’s ruling admits its concern is “language used by Dr. Peterson in public statements” made in 2022. The nature of these statements?
The Court explains Peterson’s words were “degrading, demeaning and unprofessional.” So the author and wildly popular commentator must undergo, at his own expense, a “coaching program” directed by the Canadian College of Psychologists so that he might “reflect on, and ameliorate (his) professionalism in public statements.”
Peterson responded to the ruling by saying, “Bring it on” in a social media post, telling his fellow citizens, “If you think you have a right to free speech in Canada, you’re delusional.”
So the Ontario Court of Appral ruled that @CPOntario can pursue their prosecution
If you think that you have a right to free speech in Canada
I will make every aspect of this public
And we will see what happens when utter transparency is the rule
— Dr Jordan B Peterson (@jordanbpeterson) August 23, 2023
Peterson stated he will make his forced re-education process very public so that everyone can see exactly what he is being subjected to, explaining “we will see what happens when utter transparency is the rule.”
The Court’s ruling admits that Dr. Peterson has confessed that he has, by his own will, established a thorough accountability group to ensure his public communications are in line with his status as a public intellectual and clinician. This includes his “expert editorial teams at Penguin Random House” who publish his books, members of his immediate family “who work professionally with me,” and “a very wide network of expert thinkers from the world of theology, psychology, politics and business.”
The Court also included this confession from Peterson, seasoned with a dash of sarcasm, of violating the delicate speech ordinances of current Canadian politics.
I would say, then, in my defense, that I have already undertaken the remediation of my actions in a manner very much akin to what has been suggested … and would like to therefore submit … that I have already and plan to continue to atone for what are no doubt my multiplicity of sins in relation to my interaction with the public audience I have the privilege to serve.
The National Post, Canada’s national newspaper, editorialized that “Professionals everywhere should be watching this case” because it “could have a chilling effect on people in other regulated professions, like doctors, lawyers, teachers and accountants.” They add,
Professionals should not have to soft pedal their speech for fear that activists will weaponize regulatory bodies so that unpopular speech or an unpleasant tone is penalized, even when there is no connection between that speech and the profession.
The Financial Post lamented, “The impact of this decision is to empower woke bodies everywhere to discipline members who express unpopular opinions that cause someone ‘offence.’”
This decision will inevitably motivate political enemies of any member of a regulatory body — whether it be one of lawyers, osteopaths, engineers or, well, psychologists — who have no legal basis for any claim otherwise, to harass that person by filing complaints about their expressed opinions or writings.
Free speech used to be a deep value to many so-called “free-thinking” progressives. The evidence continues to mount that this is sadly no longer the case. Speech control, fueled by the powers of the Left, is gaining increasing steam.
Everyone, regardless of political beliefs, should be greatly concerned.
Photo from Getty