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LILLEY: Jordan Peterson threatened with psychologists licence being revoked over political statements online

Toronto Sun logo Toronto Sun 2023-01-05 Brian Lilley
Dr. Jordan Peterson sits down with the Toronto Sun on Thursday March 1, 2018. © Provided by Toronto Sun Dr. Jordan Peterson sits down with the Toronto Sun on Thursday March 1, 2018.
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Is Jordan Peterson about to lose his licence to practice psychology in Ontario? That’s what Peterson is claiming online and, so far, the College of Psychologists of Ontario (CPO) has not denied it.

Peterson took to Twitter on Tuesday to say that he was ordered to take social media training or face a disciplinary hearing.

“BREAKING: the Ontario College of Psychologists @CPOntario has demanded that I submit myself to mandatory social-media communication retraining with their experts for, among other crimes, retweeting @PierrePoilievre and criticizing @JustinTrudeau and his political allies,” Peterson tweeted Tuesday morning.

I’ve heard of this happening in other medical professions but for attacking another doctor, not taking a political stance.

Last year I reported on how Dr. Nili Kaplan-Myrth , the Ottawa family doctor turned mask everyone forever crusader and school board trustee, was told to smarten up on social media by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario. Kaplan-Myrth was chastised by the College for trying to use social media to discredit a fellow doctor, not a politician.

Kaplan-Myrth later complained that I had reported on the matter and attempted to silence me. This is also the same doctor who has accused TV Ontario’s Steve Paikin and Bill Carroll from Ottawa’s 580 CFRA of spreading disinformation by asking basic questions when she agreed to interviews with these respective hosts.

But enough about Kaplan-Myrth, let’s get back to Peterson, the medical professional who doesn’t want to silence opponents but who is being threatened with punishment if he does not recant criticisms of the powers that be.

Peterson isn’t being asked to reconsider his actions towards a fellow psychologist online, he’s being asked to submit to social media training for political statements he’s made. None of the people who have lodged complaints are clients, Peterson said, nor are they connected to clients. They haven’t experienced personal harm from Peterson, but they want the good doctor to be punished.

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Oh, and Peterson said the roughly one dozen complainants are spread around the world and have gone through his comments online and in interviews over the past four years to make the complaints.

Attempts to reach Peterson by phone, text, email and Twitter DM were unsuccessful. As for the College of Psychologists, they did send a statement that didn’t say much beyond the fact that they couldn’t comment due to privacy reasons.

While the non-answer could be seen as neither confirming nor denying Peterson’s claims, my questions gave them plenty of opportunity to deny what he had posted online, and they didn’t. If the claims Peterson is making were false, the College could have easily said so and not been bound by privacy restrictions — that they invoked those restrictions tells you there is a process in place.

In a series of tweets, Peterson said that many professions in Canada are now run by associations or colleges that are highly political and which impose fear on their members. He said this included physicians, lawyers, psychologists and among others.

“This means that your care and legal counsel has been rendered dangerously unreliable,” Peterson tweeted.

He’s absolutely right, given my experience.

I speak to doctors, lawyers and other professionals governed by such bodies on a near daily basis. It’s all too common to hear one of them say that they can tell me something but it must be off the record because having their name attached to the comment would be detrimental to their career. It even happens, often happens, when discussing easily demonstrable facts.

This is Canada in 2023, a nation that says it supports free speech but wants to stop citizens from exercising that very right. Bodies like the College of Psychologists of Ontario aren’t government bodies, but they are government sanctioned and regulated bodies tasked via legislation with administering professions on behalf of the provincial government.

If the CPO won’t back down on this, Premier Doug Ford and his government will need to step in to protect free speech and the integrity of these professional bodies.


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