Jordan Peterson and the Battle for Free Speech in 2023
As 2022 disappears in the rearview mirror, we who are committed to a biblical worldview and policies supportive of life, family and freedom are all too aware that our ability to speak boldly about these issues—to have open and frank discussions about them—has been . . . and remains . . . under attack. In 2022, the Liberal government, supported by their NDP colleagues, passed Bill C-11 in the House, legislation expected to be used by government to restrict free speech on a variety of topics. C-11 has passed 2nd Reading in the Senate and is expected to pass into law in 2023.
In addition to direct control of media news coverage by specific content regulation, the impact of taxpayer-funding of CBC ($1.2 billion annually) and other mainstream media on the independence of journalists and editors cannot be overestimated. “He who pays the piper calls the tune.” Of course, it is not taxpayers themselves, but the government of the day, the one dishing out the cash, that gets to determine which news outlets are worthy of support. In this day of brutal competition for operating revenues, it goes without saying that editors, publishers, producers and media board members feel pressured to make politically-correct decisions regarding media content in order to please the holders of the purse.
Add to that the bias that seems to extend through most of the major social media platforms. Google, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and others have become much more than merely places for the exchange of ideas. The “deplatforming” or deletion of accounts, the use of “shadow-banning” and the adjustment of algorithms to artificially control the flow of certain information has been at work for years but became undeniably obvious in 2022. Elon Musk—notwithstanding his controversial public persona—has performed a valuable service in exposing the types of internal communications that led to the deletion of conservative-thought accounts at Twitter. It’s now clear that some of those decisions were made under pressure from government representatives. When government agencies are allowed to dictate who may publicly express facts and opinions, we have reason to fear the cancerous growth of a despotic state. It’s one thing for politicians to use these platforms to promote their ideas. It’s quite another thing when the party in power can prevent others from presenting theirs.
Now, at the start of 2023, we come to Jordan Peterson, the popular and outspoken professor, psychologist and philosopher. The College of Psychologists of Ontario (CPO) is now threatening to revoke his licence, citing conduct they consider “unprofessional,” much of their focus being on comments he has made on Twitter. Some of those comments were political in nature and critical of PM Justin Trudeau. When a citizen of Canada is threatened for speaking against government policy, we are in trouble. Jordan Peterson is not known for obsequious diplomacy. His comments can be sharp. However, for the majority of his 3.6 million Twitter followers, his common-sense advice and practical assessments of political realities have tremendous value. His ability to function independently of the blessing of the CPO goes without question. He’s not planning to waste much time on their demands, which include a sort of “sensitivity training” with a social media expert of their choosing. Instead, he’s going straight to court.
Dr. Peterson is not new to these games. Back in 2016, he took a stand against compelled speech, particularly in regard to “gender-neutral” pronouns. He won that debate with the University of Toronto and was launched to international fame as a result. He has not made a habit of kowtowing to progressive ideology and is not likely to start now. We who value free speech owe him a debt of gratitude for his bold defence of freedom of speech. Without it, we cannot defend the right to life, marriage, parental rights or personal sovereignty.
The Christian Heritage Party has championed freedom of speech since our inception. The need for that defence and the threats posed by political correctness and compelled speech (or compelled silence) have never been greater in Canada. We welcome you to stand with us by joining us. If we lose our voice, who will speak for the voiceless and vulnerable?
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Other Commentary by Rod Taylor:
- La confiance: une denrée rare
- Trust: A Commodity in Short Supply
- Jordan Peterson et la bataille pour la liberté d’expression en 2023
- Jordan Peterson and the Battle for Free Speech in 2023
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