Ontario Premier Doug Ford had a private meeting with Prof. Jordan Peterson in October 2018, according to documents obtained by CBC under a freedom of information request.
The meeting with Peterson was to discuss free speech on campus, an issue Ford raised during the campaign and has tackled as premier with a policy requiring publicly funded post-secondary institutions adopt free speech policies.
Since his January 2019 deadline, universities and colleges throughout the province of Ontario have implemented policies affirming their commitment to free speech and open inquiry.
Peterson has been a vocal advocate for free speech around the country and worldwide.
He gained notoriety in 2016 after publicly criticizing Canada’s Bill C-16 and objecting to being forced to use gender pronouns.
Peterson has since become a best-selling author and global critic of left-wing ideology and censorship.
Despite CBC’s belief that this meeting is a bombshell revelation, it isn’t surprising given Ford’s priorities and Peterson’s expertise and profile.
When free speech is a provincial priority and Peterson is among the most vocal and prominent figures advocating for it, it only makes sense that Ford would seek Peterson’s advice on matters pertaining to campus policies.
Shortly before the meeting, Peterson took to social media to criticize the Ontario Human Rights Commission, saying there isn’t a “more dangerous organization in Canada, with the possible exception of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.”
Peterson previously called the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario a “kangaroo court” that “should be abolished as soon as possible.”
The tribunal was established in 1961 after the implementation of the Ontario Human Rights Code.
According to employment lawyer, Howard Levitt, the human rights tribunal has several glaring flaws, including the potential for extortion.
When a complainant files a claim with the tribunal, they initially face no screening process, according to Levitt, and give the complainant the benefit of the doubt.
People defending themselves against complaints at the tribunal are faced with a situation where they might have to pay their own legal fees, with no chance of compensation whether they are guilty or not. Complainants get to walk away free, even if their claims are proven fraudulent.
Because the nature of the meeting was private, it is uncertain how much discussion, if any, there was between Peterson and Ford about the human rights tribunal. However, it is clear that Ford is intent on engaging experts who have dealt with free speech on campus first hand, to inform his own policy decisions for the province.