A Canadian court has ruled that clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson must undergo “social media sensitivity training” due to his frequent controversial statements, which were deemed “unprofessional.”
Wednesday’s decision was handed down by a panel of three Ontario Divisional Court judges who unanimously ruled in favor of the College of Psychologists of Ontario — of which Peterson is a member, according to CTV News.
The “coaching program,” as court documents explained, will require Peterson to “reflect on, and ameliorate [his] professionalism in public statements.” If Peterson fails to complete the program, he could lose his license to practice.
Peterson is a former University of Toronto professor of psychology who went viral for a 2016 lecture in which he condemned the use of alternative pronouns and took aim at Canada’s expanding laws on gender identity or expression, according to BBC.
“The order is not disciplinary and does not prevent Dr. Peterson from expressing himself on controversial topics; it has a minimal impact on his right to freedom of expression,” Justice Paul Schabas wrote for the court.
In making their decision, the court weighed several of Peterson’s controversial comments to decide if they were in compliance with the College’s Standards of Professional Conduct.
The first example cited by the court was a tweet from Jan. 2, 2022, in which Peterson responded to an individual concerned about overpopulation by stating: “You’re free to leave at any point.”
Less than a month later, during an appearance on “The Joe Rogan Experience,” Peterson reportedly referred to a former client of his as “vindictive,” and said that their complaint against him was a “pack of lies.” In the same episode, while speaking about air pollution and child deaths, Peterson reportedly also said: “it’s just poor children, and the world has too many people on it anyways.”
Another controversial comment of Peterson’s was in response to news of actress Elliot Page, formerly Ellen, identifying as a man and undergoing gender-affirming breast removal surgery.
“Remember when pride was a sin? And Ellen Page just had her breasts removed by a criminal physician,” the June 2022 tweet reportedly read. He was consequently suspended from Twitter for misgendering and “deadnaming” the actor.
Peterson, meanwhile, has argued that his comments were made in an “off-duty” capacity as a clinical psychologist.
However, the court rejected his argument, with Justice Schabas writing: “Dr. Peterson sees himself functioning as a clinical psychologist ‘in the broad public space’ where he claims to be helping ‘millions of people’ and as he put it, he is ‘still practicing in that more diffuse and broader manner.’”
“Dr. Peterson cannot have it both ways: he cannot speak as a member of a regulated profession without taking responsibility for the risk of harm that flows from him speaking in that trusted capacity.”
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
The Canadian Constitution Foundation (CCF), which is representing Peterson, expressed their disappointment in the ruling and warned of the “chilling effect” it could have on other regulated professions.
“Professionals should not have to soft pedal their speech for fear that activists will weaponize regulatory bodies so that unpopular speech is penalized, even when there is no connection between that speech and the profession,” CCF Litigation Director Christine Van Geyn said, according to PJ Media. “The right to freedom of expression must be given more weight than the court gave it here, and the mere assertion of risk of harm is not enough.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
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