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Dr. Jordan Peterson’s Legal Battle Against “Remedial Training” Over Tweets

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In an Ontario courtroom, the limelight was captured by an intriguing legal tussle involving the renowned speaker and former University of Toronto professor, Jordan Peterson, who refused to kowtow to the demand of the College of Psychologists of Ontario for him to undertake a “remedial” re-education program for his contentious commentary on Twitter or face the revocation of his license as a psychologist.

It was earlier in January when Peterson found in his mail a rather stern letter from the College, which has its eye on regulating and licensing psychology professionals in Ontario, Canada.

The letter demanded that he toe the line by submitting himself to what he termed a “mandatory social-media communication retraining with their experts,” following his perceived social media misdeeds that included, among other issues, his retweet of Pierre Poilievre and his criticism of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau along with his political cohorts. Peterson disclosed this piece of news and openly declared his steadfast refusal to comply with the demand through Twitter.

As the legal skirmish intensified, the Canadian Constitution Foundation (CCF) took a stand alongside Peterson. The CCF, through its Litigation Director Christine Van Geyn, argued that professional regulators must be cautious and prove a tangible connection between an individual’s off-duty conduct and the profession’s legitimate interest before exercising control over the said conduct, particularly when the conduct in question is related to Charter-protected freedoms such as freedom of expression.

According to a news release, Van Geyn stated that “people in regulated professions have private lives outside of their professional roles,” and asserted the need for a stringent examination when the regulator’s actions seem to be impinging on an individual’s rights to engage in public discourse, which includes making statements through social media that may be considered controversial.

Peterson’s legal team added fuel to their argument by highlighting the misinterpretation of his comments, which were a blend of sarcasm, banter, and needed to be understood in context, as per the Toronto Star. They expressed that Twitter’s platform isn’t conducive to nuanced discussions, which led to his comments being taken out of context.

The lawyers of the college countered by defending the panel’s directive. They held the view that the order doesn’t trample on Peterson’s freedom of speech as it neither muzzles him nor serves as a sanction or penalty.

As the day in court drew to a close, the judgment was left hanging in the balance with the court deciding to reserve its decision for an undisclosed future date.

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