John Carpay of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms said freedom of expression is like a muscle that must be exercised to grow stronger. Photo by Deborah Gyapong

The fight never ends for free speech, say panelists at Manning conference

  • March 1, 2017

OTTAWA – Freedom of expression on university campuses must be fought for despite threats said a Censorship on Campus panel Feb. 25 at the Manning Centre Conference.

John Carpay, president of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, said his organization has helped a number of pro-life groups successfully sue student councils that have prevented them from obtaining official club status.

However, Carpay has observed a new trend for pro-life clubs. They get status, but if they book a speaker, authorities are “letting the mob enforce” political correctness by not doing anything to stop groups actively shutting speakers down.

“This is going to have a huge impact on the rule of law,” Carpay said.

At the University of Alberta, a pro-life club was told if it wanted to have a speaker, it must pay $17,000 upfront for security, he said.

Carpay had several suggestions on what must be done to push back.

“Exercise your free expression rights,” Carpay said, comparing free expression to a muscle that becomes weak and atrophied if not used, but stronger the more it’s exercised.

“Do not be intimidated by name-calling,” he said. “If you self-censor, you are giving ground to the enemies of freedom. It’s better to die standing than to live on your knees.”

Come to the defense of others even if you disagree with their opinions, he said. He pointed out the Justice Centre does not take a position on the issue of abortion, but defends campus pro-life groups because their free expression is being curtailed.

“It’s powerful when you say ‘I don’t agree with that viewpoint, but they have a right to say it,’” he said.

Carpay urged people to sign a Justice Centre petition to “remove taxpayer funding from universities that perpetuate censorship.”

Universities receive $13 billion in taxpayer dollars, but they are engaging in fraud if they say they foster free inquiry while suppressing freedom of expression on campus, he said.

He urged people to support groups like his that fight for freedom of expression, noting they depend on small donations of $100 to $500 to survive.

“When you are in a position where your freedoms are being violated, stand your ground,” he said. “Do not capitulate on the fundamental grounds of freedom of expression.”

University of Toronto professor Jordan Peterson, who risked losing his job over videos he had posted protesting against the totalitarian imposition of transgender pronouns by human rights commissions, joined Carpay in urging people to speak up truthfully.

Peterson blamed the suppression of freedom of speech on postmodernism, a nihilistic philosophy that dominates the humanities and social sciences in academia. “You are up against it far more than you think,” he said.

“Postmodernism is totally opposed to western civilization,” he said. Postmodernism does “not believe in the individual; it does not believe in logic,” and it does “not believe in dialog.”

It doesn’t “agree with letting people speak,” he said.

Almost all education faculties have been infiltrated with this neo-Marxist agenda, and are interested in indoctrination rather than education, he said.

“Our society has to figure out how to stop shunting public money to left wing groups,” he said.

While admitting western civilization has its flaws, Peterson said, “You are heirs to a great tradition.”

Though not perfect, “it is superior to anything else that has ever been produced.”

“It is time for conservatives to stop apologizing for being conservative,” Peterson said. “They read apology as an admission of guilt.”

Peterson said those who speak up will pay a price, but they will also pay a price for not speaking up.

“Tell the truth,” Peterson said. “The truth redeems the world from hell.”

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