Lawyer Lisa Bildy was one of the speakers last weekend at the Free Speech in Medicine conference in Baddeck, Nova Scotia. While the three-day conference scrutinized public health policies – including those involving gender theory, harm reduction/safe supply and COVID-19 response measures – Bildy discussed regulatory overreach and how it has hijacked independent medical practice(s).
Bildy discussed the role of the administrative state in suppressing free speech and once-independent medical practices. She notes that regulatory bodies play a huge, growing role in this overreach.
“They're becoming more intrusive into our daily lives. These are the bodies that decide whether you're licensed as a physician or a psychologist or even a lawyer, and many of them have sort of taken it upon themselves in more recent times to want to control the speech and the opinions [of licensees], sometimes even the beliefs of the professionals that they regulate. They view their mandate as increasingly expansive and that does have an impact – a chilling effect essentially – on whether physicians can feel comfortable speaking up against the prevailing orthodoxy on whatever topic.”
Bildy highlights that this was all exacerbated by the handling of COVID-19 doctrine, when those who agreed with public health diktats could be very rude and aggressive in their approach without fear of reprisal.
“Those who challenged the narrative,” Bildly begins, even if they were politely and eloquently presenting evidence, “were still taken to disciplinary proceedings for their comments, so it was a bit of a double standard.”
“It has been a long, slow process,” Bildy says, on how fringe theories have taken hold of, and blossomed within, the administrative state.
“We're seeing the effects of it now. If we were paying better attention in the 1990s or early 2000s, we might have been able to nip it in the bud, but we weren't. And so it's grown and now we're experiencing the effects of it in our day-to-day lives a lot more. It seems like a reasonable place to try to reign that in is through testimony and cross-examination of experts.”
While scrutinizing and criticizing unprecedented COVID-19-relate public policy was to be expected, Bildy notes that various colleges like the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) took the dictatorial stance that it was inappropriate to question public health edicts and doing so would jeopardize public safety.
“It didn't take long before we had a better handle on what we were dealing with COVID,” notes Bildy, “yet those policies and edicts stayed in place for a lot longer. It became very difficult then for doctors who wanted to raise the other studies, the other critiques, and the data, to be able to do so in a way that didn't jeopardize their careers. And that, I think, was a huge problem. So maybe it started with good intentions, I'll give it that, but I think it should have not continued as it did. And onward into even as we stand here, three years later… We can't assume that there's an expert class that we've appointed that knows everything and that they should be deferred to in every instance. It doesn't work like that. Science needs to hear from the dissidents and the skeptics and constantly work towards the best answer.”
Bildy ends on a positive note — that the conference represents what society needs to return to, robust debate and discussion over complex issues instead of censorship. Preserving free speech is crucial for a functional and free society and those in attendance at this conference shared this belief.