A Canadian civil liberties organization is intervening in Jordan Peterson’s dispute with the College of Psychologists of Ontario (CPO).
The Canadian Constitution Foundation (CCF) announced its intervention on Mar. 28 and, with representation from a law firm, will defend Peterson against the CPO’s attempts to curb his freedom of expression.
While Americans enjoy stronger free speech protections, Peterson’s experience in Canada has become increasingly common as U.S. regulatory boards censor professionals whose opinions on topics including the COVID-19 pandemic and racial justice fall outside of the woke orthodoxy.
Peterson, a public intellectual and former psychology professor at the University of Toronto, received notice of complaints to the CPO about his social media activity in Jan. 2023, as noted in a to a previous Campus Reform report. CPO, a provincial regulatory board, told Peterson that he could lose his license to practice clinical psychology if he did not complete a social media training that he dubbed “re-education.”
“Freedom of speech is increasingly under attack from professional bodies seeking to regulate what their members can say,” CCF Executive Director Joanna Baron told Campus Reform.
“In most cases, this censorship would not be constitutional if it were imposed directly by legislation, but courts are often too deferential when the restrictions are imposed by arms of the state like professional regulators.”
CCF is joining Peterson’s case against the CPO that the Ontario Divisional Court will hear in the summer of 2023, according to the CCF’s news release. The case, obtained by the Windsor Star, alleges that the CPO’s ethics code violates Canada’s version of the Bill of Rights because it restricts the speech of clinical psychologists.
The CPO is invoking its ethics code over media appearances and tweets of Peterson’s, including those criticizing COVID-19 restrictions and the surgical procedure that one woman underwent as part of her gender transition.
In the U.S., regulatory boards similarly attempt to restrict the speech of teachers, doctors, and engineers. Regulations–and recent disputes over these regulations–in Minn. show that state boards can and will censor professionals who fail to espouse critical race theory (CRT), support the COVID-19 consensus, or keep their criticisms about the boards to themselves.
Baron told Campus Reform that “the fight for free expression must take into account not just direct government censorship, but also indirect restrictions on speech by licensing bodies.”
— Dr Jordan B Peterson (@jordanbpeterson) March 31, 2023
He tells the CPO to “take note.”
Campus Reform contacted all relevant parties listed for comment and will update this article accordingly.
Republished with permission from Campus Reform