On 3 January, the Ontario College of Psychologists (OCP) demanded that the famous Canadian clinical psychologist, Dr Jordan Peterson, undergo a ‘mandatory social-media communication retraining’, or they would suspend his clinical licence. Peterson should pay 250 dollars per hour for the retraining that, as he said, is ‘not a scientific nor a clinical speciality by any standing’. The board regulating psychology practice in Canada has become so politicised that their disciplining fervour is based solely on political disagreements, as no complaints have been cited that were brought by people Peterson interacted with in a clinical context.
Peterson rejected the forced retraining
and messaged the OCP stating that he is ‘absolutely willing to make every single word of this legal battle fully public’ so that the issue of his professional competence and his right to say what he has to say and stand by his words ‘can be fought in full daylight.’ Since Peterson is unwilling to sign up for the retraining, he will most likely have to face a mandatory public disciplinary hearing—which he said he would videotape and put online. If he loses his licence, he will be barred from practising clinical psychology in Ontario and representing himself as a psychologist. However, as Peterson’s latest tweet suggests, the OCP has not yet proceeded with its ‘inquisition’.
Jordan Peterson became a champion of freedom of speech after he publicly went against the Canadian Bill C-16 in 2016. The bill essentially entails that misgendering people by referring to them with the ‘wrong pronoun’ may qualify as hate speech. According to Peterson, this practically introduces ‘compelled speech’. A confrontation Peterson had with students of the university where he used to teach was videotaped and went viral, making the professor internationally famous. He has become widely known as a voice of dissent regarding wokeism and also a best-selling author. Seven million people bought his first book titled ‘12 Rules for Life’; over 50 million people are following him on his social media platforms; his events are almost always sold-out; videos of his university lectures always go viral and hundreds of thousands of people say he helped them in critical phases of their lives.
Before he became an outspoken advocate of free speech, the OCP had not submitted any complaints against Peterson for the 20 years he has been practising and hadn’t had any issues with him during his years as a research psychologist at Harvard University and the University of Toronto, either. However, from the moment he became well-known, he has been harassed non-stop.
In a 90-minute conversation with his daughter Mikhaila Peterson, the famous psychologist reacted to the complaints against him and explained how his home country Canada basically drove him out. The OCP’S complaints included the whole transcript of Peterson’s three-hour-long discussion on Joe Rogan’s podcast,
his tweets in which he criticised Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau,
his former chief of staff, Gerald Butts, an Ottawa city councillor, and in which made a joke about the prime minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern. The OCP added that Peterson did it ‘ “disrespectfully”, in a “horrific” manner that spread “misinformation”; that was “threatening” and “harassing”; that was “embarrassing to the profession.’ To the claims, Peterson wrote a public letter to Justin Trudeau in which he stated: ‘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.’
In the discussion with his daughter, Peterson reflected on the first ugly personal accusation based on trumped-up charges he got from the OCP in 2016. The board first accused him of having inappropriate personal conduct with one of his female clients, evidenced by her having claimed that ‘whenever he was interested in a complaining client, he would spin his wedding ring’. Although the case was soon dismissed, it impacted Peterson’s mental health deeply. At that time, the University of Toronto and the Canadian authorities were also going after Peterson. In the discussion, Peterson admitted that the persecution greatly contributed to him developing a serious mental illness that resulted in severe benzodiazepine addiction. Peterson was suffering from a serious withdrawal syndrome between 2019 and 2020.
After the new threats, Peterson had to revisit all the allegations made against him since 2016 and read through 400 pages of documents, resulting in the manifestation of PTSD symptoms. Peterson explained that as he had to review the unjust complaints, he almost fainted multiple times and experienced the same symptoms he had previously developed when ill. Peterson also shared his and his wife’s terrible experience of their neighbours turning against them in Toronto and the exclusion, as well as the verbal and physical threats they had to endure. He explained that ‘there are two great classes of fear: fear from biological death and a fear of social exclusion because if you’re socially excluded, you’re dead as social inclusion protects you from dying…your nervous system reacts to threats of social exclusion as if it’s a mortal threat’.
In an article published by the National Post, Peterson highlighted that what the Canadian government is doing to him is becoming a trend,
and the same harassment can happen to anyone who doesn’t accept the ruling ideology.
He remarked that his own case shows that physicians, lawyers and psychologists can no longer tell the truth to their patients because they’re ‘terrified of their regulatory boards’, which also means patients can no longer communicate honestly with their physicians, lawyers and psychologist. He added that teachers also have to teach the ‘woke ideological lies’ even if they disagree with them, and that parents can no longer have a say in what their children are taught in school.
It’s not the first time the Canadian licensing system has been weaponised against professionals with dissenting views. The authoritarian streak of the Ontario College of Physicians was revealed in 2021, when doctors were effectively instructed to get on board with the official Covid narrative or risk losing their licenses. One Ontario physician, Dr Patrick Phillips, had his licence suspended in May 2022 for ‘inappropriate’ COVID-19 treatments and advice. As an article on Fee Stories notes, the main underlying problem in Canada is government licensing, whereby professionals can effectively be deprived of their livelihood if the licensing bodies decide so.
Instead of rewarding and recognising Peterson as the nation’s pride, the Canadian government has not only been persecuting him since he became famous, but would obviously like to see him leave the country for good.
As opposed to that, when the famous psychologist visited Hungary as part of his book tours in 2019 and then in 2022, the Hungarian government and the people of Hungary gave him all the respect he deserves. At the time of his 2019 visit, he was received by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, and had a discussion with him, and both of his public appearances drew a full house. In 2022, Peterson gave a lecture at the Sándor Palace, the official residence and offices of the President of Hungary, he was awarded the civilian class of the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary by President of the Republic Katalin Novák ‘in recognition of his outstanding scientific work in the field of clinical psychology, as well as his exceptionally dedicated and influential activities in defence of creative freedom and the education of youth.’