Gad Saad is Jewish and emigrated from Lebanon due to religious persecution, yet he supports the freedom of speech of Holocaust deniers.
That’s how committed he is to an open dialogue, something he says is being lost in the western world.
Saad is scheduled to speak Monday evening at the University of Regina on “forces that impede the free and rational exchange of ideas.”
“I support the right of grotesque, diabolical people saying that the Holocaust and anything that I might have experienced is a hoax. Why? Because that’s what freedom of speech is. It’s the right for people to be idiots, to be wrong,” said Saad, a marketing professor at Montreal’s Concordia University and the Canada Research Chair in evolutionary behavioural sciences and Darwinian consumption.
There are only two exceptions to “absolute” freedom of speech, said Saad.
The first is using words to directly incite violence against other people.
The second is defaming or libelling someone.
Those criteria aside, it is “dangerous” to decide what other people can and can’t say.
That’s what happened last month, as Saad was set to be part of a panel at Toronto’s Ryerson University, which was cancelled in protest of two speakers: Faith Goldy, a Rebel Media contributor, and Jordan Peterson, a professor who has refused to use students’ preferred gender pronouns.
The panel discussion topic was “the stifling of free speech on university campuses.”
“I guess the irony was lost on the people who shut us down that that event was stifled,” said Saad.
Saad counts himself as neither right nor left on the political spectrum, but “a classically liberal guy.” He said the political left drives most of academia, which can be detrimental.
“As a student, what you’d like to develop is your ability to critically think, to analyze different positions and then form an informed opinion,” said Saad.
“But if most of the professors tend to be almost exclusively linked to one particular political ideology, then you are removing the intellectual diversity that is needed, especially in a university.”
Saad said he has received emails from students who are afraid to express an unpopular opinion lest they be ostracized or receive a failing grade.
“Really we’re pretty much like North Korea at this point,” said Saad.
“I mean, people are walking around afraid that someone might find out the dark, dark secret that they preferred Trump over Hillary Clinton.
“You could have a million very, very good reasons to dislike Trump, and I would understand probably all of them. But is it really a good idea for professors and for students to be walking around fearful …? Is this the type of intellectual environment that we want?”
Saad said to shut down free speech in fear of hurt feelings is a “slippery slope that becomes an abyss of infinite lunacy.”
He said if people disagree with an idea, they should “fight them with better ideas.”
“Be committed to the truth, battle others peacefully through dialogue, through debate, through science, and then hopefully the better ideas win,” he said.
“But what we’re seeing today is there is a group of people that get to decide whether Gad Saad is allowed to speak on campus or not. And if people don’t see how dangerous that is, then I’m afraid we’ve already lost the battle.”
Saad is scheduled to speak Monday at 7:30 p.m. in the U of R Education Auditorium.
THE CANADIAN RED ENSIGN
SATURDAY, JUNE 24, 2017
One example of this is Bill C-16, which passed its third-reading in the Senate on Thursday, June 15th and which was signed into law by the Governor-General on Monday, June 19th. Bill C-16 is a bill which amends both the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code. To the former it adds “gender identity or expression” to the list of grounds of discrimination prohibited by the Act. To the latter it adds the same to Section 318, the “hate propaganda” clause of the Code. The Canadian Human Rights Act and Section 318 of the Criminal Code were both inflicted upon us by the present premier’s father in his long reign of terror and it would have been better had the present Parliament passed legislation striking both out of existence rather than amending them to increase the number of ways in which they can be used to persecute Canadians. When, a century and a half ago, the Fathers of Confederation put together the British North America Act which, coming into effect on July 1, 1867, established the Dominion of Canada as a new nation within what would soon develop into the British Commonwealth of Nations, their intention was to create a free country, whose citizens, English and French, as subjects of the Crown, would possess all the freedoms and the protection of all the rights that had accumulated to such in over a thousand years of legal evolution. The CHRA and Section 318 do not belong in such a country – they are more appropriate to totalitarian regimes like the former Soviet Union, Maoist China, and the Third Reich.
The CHRA, which Parliament passed in 1977 during the premiership of Pierre Trudeau, prohibits discrimination on a variety of grounds including race, religion, sex, and country of origin. It applies in a number of different areas with the provision of goods and services, facilities and accommodations, and employment being chief among them. Those charged with enforcing this legislation have generally operated according to an unwritten rule that it is only discrimination when whites, Christians, and males are the perpetrators rather than the victims, but even if that were not the case, the very idea of a law of this sort runs contrary to the basic principles of our traditional freedoms and system of justice. It dictates to employers, landlords, and several other people, what they can and cannot be thinking when conducting the everyday affairs of their business. It establishes a special police force and court – the Canadian Human Rights Commission and Tribunal respectively – to investigate and sit in judgement upon those private thoughts and prejudices. Those charged do not have the protection of the presumption of innocence because the CHRA is classified as civil rather than criminal law.
There are more protections for defendants under Section 318 because it is part of the Criminal Code but it is still a bad law. Incitement of criminal violence was already against the law long before Section 318 was added. It is not, therefore, the incitement of criminal violence per se that Section 318 was introduced to combat, for the existing laws were sufficient, but the thinking and verbal expression of thoughts that the Liberal Party has decided Canadians ought not to think and speak.
Bill C-16 takes these bad laws and makes them even worse. By adding “gender identity and expression” to the prohibited grounds of discrimination the Liberals are adding people who think and say that they belong to a gender that does not match up with their biological birth sex to the groups protected from discrimination. Now, ordinarily when people think they are something they are not, like, for example, the man who thinks he is Julius Caesar, we, if we are decent people, would say that this is grounds for pity and compassion, but we would not think of compelling others to go along with the delusion. Imagine a law that says that we have to regard a man who thinks he is Julius Caesar as actually being the Roman general! Such a law would be crazier than the man himself!
Bill C-16 is exactly that kind of law. Don’t be fooled by those who claim otherwise. The discrimination that trans activists, the Trudeau Liberals and their noise machine, i.e., the Canadian media, and everyone else who supports this bill, all want to see banned, is not just the refusing of jobs or apartments to transgender people but the refusal to accept as real a “gender identity” that does not match up with biological sex. Dr. Jordan Peterson, a professor at the University of Toronto who has been fighting this sort of nonsense at the provincial level for years, and who testified against the Bill before the Senate committee that reviewed it, has warned that it could lead to someone being charged with a “hate crime” for using the pronoun – “he” or “she” – that lines up with a person’s birth sex, rather than some alternative pronoun made-up to designate that person’s “gender identity.” Supporters of the bill have mocked this assertion but we have seen this sort of thing before – progressives propose some sort of measure, someone points out that the measure will have this or that negative consequence, the progressives ridicule that person, and then, when the measure is passed and has precisely the negative consequences predicted, say that those negatively affected deserved it in the first place.
Indeed, progressive assurances that Peterson’s fears are unwarranted ring incredibly hollow when we consider that the Ontario Human Rights Commission has said that “refusing to refer to a trans person by their chosen name and a personal pronoun that matches their gender identity” would be considered discrimination under a similar clause in Ontario’s provincial Human Rights Code, if it were to take place in a context where discrimination in general is prohibited, such as the workplace. Bruce Pardy, Professor of Law at Queen’s University, writing in the National Post, explains that this new expansion of human rights legislation goes way beyond previous “hate speech” laws in its infringement upon freedom of speech. “When speech is merely restricted, you can at least keep your thoughts to yourself,” Pardy writes, but “Compelled speech makes people say things with which they disagree.”
It is too much, perhaps, to expect Captain Airhead to understand or care about this. Like his father before him – and indeed, every Liberal Prime Minister going back to and including Mackenzie King – he has little to no appreciation of either the traditional freedoms that are part of Canada’s British heritage or the safeguards of those freedoms bequeathed us by the Fathers of Confederation in our parliamentary government under the Crown. For a century, Liberal governments have whittled away at every parliamentary obstacle to the absolute power of a Prime Minister backed by a House majority. The powers of the Crown, Senate, and the Opposition in the House to hold the Prime Minister and his Cabinet accountable have all been dangerously eroded in this manner. Last year the present government attempted to strip Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition of what few means it has left of delaying government legislation. The motion in question was withdrawn after the Prime Minister came under strong criticism for behaving like a spoiled, bullying, petty thug in the House but it revealed his character. These Opposition powers are a necessary safeguard against Prime Ministerial dictatorship but Captain Airhead, the son of an admirer of Stalin and Mao, regards them, like the freedoms they protect, as an unacceptable hindrance to his getting his way as fast as he possibly can. Years ago, George Grant wrote that the justices of the American Supreme Court in Roe v Wade had “used the language of North American liberalism to say yes to the very core of fascist thought – the triumph of the will.” This is also the modus operandi of Captain Airhead and the Liberal Party of Canada.
Free Speech Takes A Big Hit: Bill C 16 Passes Senate & Enforces Special Privileges for the Sexually Confused
Thursday, June 15 was a grim day for freedom of speech. After months of debate and some spirited opposition, the Senate passed.67-11, one of the pet projects of self-described feminist, best
buddy of the transgendered and enthusiastic participant in gay pride parades from Montreal to Vancouver, Justin Trudeau. This bill will make criticism of yet another privileged minority — now gender identity and gender expression — difficult. If your criticism is deemed “hate” under Sec. 319 of the Criminal Code, Canada’s notorious “hate law”, you could go to prison for two years. Under Canada’s welter of pernicious federal and provincial human rights (minority special privileges) laws, you might be compelled to call a sexually weird individual by whatever pronoun he/she/it/zee/zuu/zur insists on. As the next story makes clear, this is already happening. CTV News (June 15, 2107) reported: ” Nicole Nussbaum, a lawyer with expertise in gender identity and gender expression issues, says she’s relieved the bill has finally passed. Parliament has seen earlier versions of the bill for more than a decade, but never approved one. Including gender expression and gender identity in the Canadian Human Rights Act will ‘address the really desperate situation that many trans and gender non-confirming, non-binary people experience as a result of discrimination, harassment and violence,’ she said in an interview with CTVNews.ca.” Hang on a minute: Violence against anyone, sexually weird, confused or otherwise is already illegal. And, “non-binary” — meaning not one of two (that is, male or female) — would seem to suggest people who are seriously confused and perhaps mentally ill. Now, they must be treated with care and their delusions adopted. The CTV report continued: “The Senate took seven months to study and debate the bill, a process that included discussions about whether it would force people to use unusual pronouns.
The Canadian Bar Association, which spoke in favour of the bill, called those fears a misunderstanding of human rights and hate crimes legislation. ‘Nothing in the section compels the use or avoidance of particular words in public as long as they are not used in their most ‘extreme manifestations’ with the intention of promoting the ‘level of abhorrence, delegitimization and rejection’ that produces feelings of hatred against identifiable groups,’ Rene Basque, president of the CBA, wrote to the Senate legal affairs committee last month.” For one thing, Basque is speaking only of the “hate law” here, not the much more loosey goosey human rights laws. Supposing an employer refers to a person who looks male as “he”, but is told the person feels like a woman today and wants to be called she or zee or they. If the employer is a traditional Christian or just a common sensical sort and does not want to join this person in their fantasies and insists on referring to the individual as “he”, might this not suggest “abhorrence, delegitimization or rejection”? And, if so, the poor employer has big legal problems. Professor Jordan Peterson of the University of Toronto was warned last Autumn that, if he did not address the transgendered or sexually mixed-up by the made-up pronoun of their choice, he could face discrimination problems with the Ontario Human Rights Commission.
The Daily Caller News Foundation (June 16, 2107) explained the new law is “making it illegal to use the wrong gender pronouns. Critics say that Canadians who do not subscribe to progressive gender theory could be accused of hate crimes, jailed, fined, and made to take anti-bias training. Canada’s Senate passed Bill C-16, which puts ‘gender identity’ and ‘gender expression’ into both the country’s Human Rights Code, as well as the hate crime category of its Criminal Code. … ‘Great news,’ announced Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister. ‘Bill C-16 has passed the Senate – making it illegal to discriminate based on gender identity or expression. #LoveisLove.’ [Uh, what does sexual confusion have to do with love, Trust Fund Kid?]
Jordan Peterson, a professor at the University of Toronto, and one of the bill’s fiercest critics, spoke to the Senate before the vote, insisting that it infringed upon citizens’ freedom of speech and institutes what he views as dubious gender ideology into law. ‘Compelled speech has come to Canada,’ stated Peterson. ‘We will seriously regret this.’‘[Ideologues are] using unsuspecting and sometimes complicit members of the so-called transgender community to push their ideological vanguard forward,’ said the professor to the Senate in May. ‘The very idea that calling someone a term that they didn’t choose causes them such irreparable harm that legal remedies should be sought [is] an indication of just how deeply the culture of victimization has sunk into our society.’ Peterson has previously pledged not to use irregular gender pronouns and students have protested him for his opposition to political correctness. ‘This tyrannical bill is nothing but social engineering to the nth degree, all in the name of political correctness,’ Jeff Gunnarson, vice president of Campaign Life Toronto, a pro-life political group in Canada, told LifeSiteNews.”
Tory Leadership Candidate Andrew Scheer Promises: No Free Speech on Campus = No Federal Money
Did you ever think you’d see a day when the government had to press universities to promote and protect free speech?
Well, here we are.
We are hearing countless stories of universities being complicit in shutting down free speech. Stories like U of T Prof Jordan Peterson under attack for wanting to use traditional gender pronouns, a pro-life group at Wilfrid Laurier having a prior-approved demonstration shut down or of a student newspaper at McGill which refuses to print pro-Israel articles.
Freedom of speech is under attack on our campuses. More and more, the establishment of safe spaces, forbidden topics and the banning of speakers and campus clubs, are making our colleges and universities no-go zones for open dialogue.
Academic inquiry on our campuses should apply not only to professors but to students. It’s not just course-work that defines a post-secondary education, it’s people discussing and developing ideas.
On our campuses today, though, there are small but powerful special interest groups bent on imposing their own brand of political correctness. We cannot surrender our basic rights to them.
Something must be done.
That’s why as Prime Minister I will ensure that only post-secondary institutions which actively promote and protect free speech will be eligible for federal grants.
If public universities fail to protect this most basic right, they will lose the ability to apply for federal funding like NSERC, CIHR, and Canada Research Chair grants.
Free speech is important. That’s why I voted against C-16 and against M-103. As Prime Minister, I will ensure that free speech is always protected.
Thanks in advance,
Andrew Scheer, MP