October 7th, 2017

Free speech in Canada

I had somehow missed the fact that an extraordinary law called C-16 passed Canada’s Senate in mid-June of 2017 by overwhelming numbers, sliding the country further down the slippery slope of the tyranny of hate speech laws:

Canada’s Senate passed the Justin Trudeau Liberals’ transgender rights bill unamended this afternoon by a vote of 67 to 11, with three abstentions.

The bill adds “gender expression” and “gender identity” to Canada’s Human Rights Code and to the Criminal Code’s hate crime section. With the Senate clearing the bill with no amendments, it requires only royal assent in the House of Commons to become law [that assent was given a few days later, so the bill is now law].

Critics warn that under Bill C-16, Canadians who deny gender theory could be charged with hate crimes, fined, jailed, and compelled to undergo anti-bias training.

Foremost among these critics is University of Toronto psychology professor Dr. Jordan Peterson, who along with lawyer D. Jared Brown, told the Senate committee that Bill C-16 is an unprecedented threat to freedom of expression and codifies a spurious ideology of gender identity in law.

I have long known that the US is the only country in the world with laws that adequately defend freedom of speech (for now, anyway). I’ve also long known that in Canada anti-hate-speech laws have been used to try to silence people such as Mark Steyn who criticize Muslims. But I didn’t really know just how far the Canadian campaign against free speech had gone, although I have to say I’m also not surprised.

Here’s a video showing a discussion about this, where Jordan Peterson (professor at the U. of Toronto who has become fairly famous as a result of his stand against C-16) responds to a pro-C-16 activist. It’s quite an exchange. I’ve cued it up to give you a couple of minutes of the most dramatic part. I warn you, though—if you’re easily perturbed, take a chill pill or a bit of wine before you watch it, because your blood might start boiling at some of it. Peterson is the guy with the graying temples, by the way:

I find certain parts particularly chilling. There’s the part at about 16:12, where the eyeglassed person says “…because people have been making complaints about your behavior,” and then gives that little smile on “yes.” But in particular there is minute 16:56, where that same person asks in a quiet voice, “Are you open to learning?”

I imagine that’s what some said as they sent people to the Gulag, or in any of the many places around the world where there’s been no thoughtcrime that a little re-education couldn’t fix.

[NOTE: When I wrote a draft of this post a day or two ago, I didn’t think we in the US were as close to doing this as we apparently were, although of course I realized it could happen. Well, California’s the trailblazer.

Just for nursing homes—right? I’m sure they’ll stop there.

Look, if you want to work in a nursing home and the nursing home wants you to treat all residents with respect and call them by their preferred pronouns as part of that respect, fine. If you don’t do it, they can fire you because you’re not complying with their policies. But criminalizing this offense is wrong, wrong, wrong.]

24 Responses to “Free speech in Canada”

  1. M J R Says:

    “There are some ideas so absurd that only an intellectual could believe them”
    — George Orwell

  2. Griffin Says:

    The first amendment will be greatly diminished with the blessing of the Supreme Court in 20-30 years. Just give all these activist lawyers and judges time to move up the ladder to SCOTUS and then voila we will have a new understanding of speech.

  3. steve walsh Says:

    Congress shall make no law… it seem so simple, really, so unequivocal, and yet there are those that think it ambiguous enough that certain ways of speaking or topics, e.g. hate speech and gender pronouns, are fit for prohibition. Why don’t they see that their argument can so very easily be turned against them?

  4. mezzrow Says:

    The bespectacled person positivelyaches to be Diana Moon Glampers.

  5. charles Says:

    As the saying goes – be careful what you ask for as you may get it.

    One day, that person who asked “are you open to learning?” in a clearly rhetorical putdown will find that someone will charge (and win) that kind of rhetoric as “hate speech.”

    And who will be left to defend their free speech?

  6. Ymar Sakar Says:

    You will say and think, what the Left tells you to say and think. And apparently, many Americans are fine with that. They’ll get upset and argue or attack me, for making note of the problems and risks with giving power to DC.

    Meanwhile, other people have their own motivations for giving power to DC, and will try to ridicule those using the 1st Amendment to keep the mortality of the leadership in check.

    This isn’t a political problem any more, it’s an American national problem. They don’t want the US Constitution any more, and thus no divine law necessitates that they keep to a set of divine laws or human laws, that the humans don’t care about upholding.

  7. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    That fanatical ideologue who asked, “are you open to learning?” is another Heinrich Himmler.

  8. Dave Says:

    They should have their correct pronoun tattooed on their foreheads to avoid confusions

  9. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    They have a perfect right to embrace whatever label they wish. I have a perfect right to laughingly decline.

  10. vanderleun Says:

    These pronoun idiots need to be hunted down and educated strenuously.

  11. n.n Says:

    Binary sex. Gender spectrum with two normal distributions: masculine and feminine, physical and mental characteristics, centered on male and female sex, respectively.

  12. Ymar Sakar Says:

    The State will determine what sex or gender you are, period.

    All those giving more power to DC, just wait for it. You won’t see it coming.

  13. AesopFan Says:

    steve walsh Says:
    October 7th, 2017 at 5:57 pm
    Congress shall make no law… it seem so simple, really, so unequivocal, and yet there are those that think it ambiguous enough that certain ways of speaking or topics, e.g. hate speech and gender pronouns, are fit for prohibition. Why don’t they see that their argument can so very easily be turned against them?
    * * *

    This has become an all-purpose cartoon, like the Hitler Learns X video clip; imagine it with the appropriate titles for today’s topic:
    https://i2.wp.com/www.powerlineblog.com/ed-assets/2017/10/Confused-Liberals.jpeg

  14. FOAF Says:

    AesopFan, that was in PowerLine’s always amusing “The Week in Pictures”. They had another one, a father asking his daughter, “Still taking a knee to protest police violence?”. She responds, “That’s so last week Dad, there was a shooting so now we’re saying only cops should have guns”.

  15. Sorta Blogless Sunday Pinup » Pirate's Cove Says:

    […] Neo-neocon holds forth on Canadian free speech […]

  16. Matt_SE Says:

    Just like the gay marriage debate, it won’t end here. Any victories for the left will be used as another beachhead from which to launch new assaults.
    What’s next, beastiality? Incest? Polygamy? Pedophilia?

    At some point the talking must stop because there’s no reasoning with kooks and zealots.

    P.S. per Theodore Dalrymple’s observations, the purpose of this exercise isn’t to persuade anyone, it’s to establish dominance.

  17. J.J. Says:

    Professor Peterson shows the kind of will it takes to oppose these fascists. “If you fine me, I won’t pay it. If you put me in prison, I will go on a hunger strike.” I believe he means what he says. Standing up for principles like a man.

  18. GRA Says:

    “that recognizes their humanity and dignity”

    More like comforting their pathology.

  19. Richard Aubrey Says:

    The infuriating thing is that believing she and people like her are making a good faith argument leads to trying to dissuade on the basis.
    And you get nowhere.
    Thing to do is presume they’re evil liars before they get out the first sentence and go from their.

  20. Richard Aubrey Says:

    there.

  21. Dave Says:

    Liberals love to waste time legislating these type of feel good while accomplishing nothing but restricting people’s free speech laws as a way to appease their minorities identity politics supporting base as they have nothing to offer in ways of improving their life economically. It’s very easy to legislate useless social justice policies, improving the economy and creating more high paying jobs and upward mobility for minorities and the so called disadvantaged, not as easy. At least the conservatives are willing to take on that challenge instead of virtue signaling all the time for votes.

  22. DNW Says:

    “RA Says:
    October 8th, 2017 at 6:43 pm

    “that recognizes their humanity and dignity”

    More like comforting their pathology.”

    Sounds like little Herr neue Goebbels believes that humanity is a real category and that dignity is an intrinsic attribute which objectively mandates recognition on the part of others.

    It would be interesting to hear the little clown’s exposition of that thesis … given his apparent views on “gender” itself.

  23. Ackler Says:

    I’ve been quite impressed with what I’ve read and watched from Jordan Peterson thus far (which is, granted, a miniscule amount as I only learned of him a few weeks ago). His dialogue with Camille Paglia was a tour de force!

    Two points:

    First, the non-left* desperately needs academics like Mr. Peterson clearly yet elegantly explicating and defending freedom of speech and conscience as well dissecting and excoriating cultural Marxism (in all of its mutations) cogently and convincingly.

    Second, the left knows this. As such, they will do everything possible to destroy him. Destroy his reputation, his livelihood, possibly even personal liberty. And, just maybe, destroy him physically. I just hope he understands the firestorm he will likely face for years to come. I also hope he doesn’t yield in face of such monumental torment. Standing firm on principle here requires ice-water in the veins.

    According to Wikipedia, Peterson has two children and a new grandchild. I only hope they are spared the brunt of the left’s unyielding wrath.

    *I say “non left” because there is a small but sigmoficant number of old school liberals who are just as alarmed as libertarians and conservatives about the left’s relentless assault on freedom of speech. Alan Dershowitz is the most noteworthy example

  24. Ymar Sakar Says:

    First, the non-left* desperately needs academics like Mr. Peterson clearly yet elegantly explicating and defending freedom of speech and conscience as well dissecting and excoriating cultural Marxism (in all of its mutations) cogently and convincingly.

    Peterson is rotating subjects down so that lower IQ levels can comprehend his lectures. His lecture, in his own words, is a dramatic presentation, similar to the old Greek rhetorics.

    To me, his information is too low density and is spread out and decompressed to way too long a time. His speeches and lectures, are longer than my comments and blog posts combined.

    I prefer a higher density academic presentation, that compresses information into a tighter format. It requires higher computational decryption and understanding, but most of his information can be summed up with thesis, conclusion, evidence, and corrollary examples in about 10-20 minutes vs the usual 60 minute length presentation.

    I, however, am in the minority. I don’t need a 60 minute podcast, to connect the dots that Peterson is carefully laying out for his audience. Not even 6 minutes, perhaps, due to my background and current capabilities.

    That is why his presentation is comprehensible to most people. He is “rotating” his data level down to a different level.

    Most people, over the years, behave in a manner that implies that they need the dots to be connected for them. That was too slow and inefficient a process, so I had to make some upgrades to the software processing capability.

    cogently and convincingly.

    Many people use the label/term tl;dr or “brevity is the soul of wit”. It’s a corruption and a lack of comprehension of why people get bored reading or hearing speakers.

    They get bored because the level does not match their IQ or understanding level. If Peterson had been more concise, then he wouldn’t have been able to clearly explain the connections. That is why he takes 60 minutes to explain something I got in less than six minutes. Before his lecture is half way over, I could already write down what his conclusions are.

    Peterson didn’t get much of a chance to talk in the Paglia discourse, however. That’s mostly because it was a man vs a woman… you can’t underestimate the sheer information super high way of a woman’s mind when it comes to “talking”.

    I watched and listened to Peterson’s formal lectures, which are recorded online or on youtube.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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