Dr. Jordan B. Peterson, the renowned psychologist and culture commentator, is embroiled in a court dispute with a Canadian regulator, challenging a directive to undergo "remedial" social media training or risk losing his psychologist license.
The College of Psychologists of Ontario, a government-endorsed entity overseeing the province's psychology profession, accused Peterson of potential "unprofessionalism" in some social media posts in November. It mandated "social media communications retraining", inclusive of guidance for Twitter commentary.
The celebrated author and Daily Wire host criticized this mandate as a threat to his license and an attack on free speech, refusing to partake in the procedure. Peterson has contended the regulator has been targeting him since 2017, following his rise to fame. He currently boasts a substantial following of 15 million across YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram.
On Wednesday, his case was brought before the court. Peterson's legal representation urged a three-judge panel in a crowded Toronto court to overturn the requirement for the retraining. They defended his social media activities as essential components of free expression in contemporary times.
Peterson's alleged infringements ranged from retweeting a critique of Trudeau by Conservative Party leader Pierre Poilievre, to voicing opposition to radical gender theory on Joe Rogan's podcast. His legal team contested the regulator's interpretation of his comments, alleging they were taken out of context.
The regulator's legal representation argued that the remedial training did not significantly inhibit Peterson's freedom of speech and wasn't a form of punishment. They maintained that members must adhere to professional standards and ethics and are subject to regulation as long as they remain part of the profession.
The Canadian Constitution Foundation expressed support for Peterson in court, arguing that regulators should not govern off-duty conduct without establishing a clear connection to the professional interest.
Peterson had previously written a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, expressing concern over the Canadian government targeting political critics. He emphasized the importance of political criticism and voiced his dismay at the current state of affairs in Canada.
I simply cannot resign myself to the fact that in my lifetime I am required to resort to a public letter to the leader of my country to point out that political criticism has now become such a crime in Canada that if professionals dare engage in such activity, government-appointed commissars will threaten their livelihood and present them with the spectacle of denouncement and political disgrace.
There is simply and utterly no excuse whatsoever for such a state of affairs in a free country.
The court's verdict is currently pending.