Wilfrid Laurier University asks the court to dismiss a lawsuit against him against Jordan Peterson, stating that the defender of freedom of speech has filed it in an attempt to limit the debate on matters of general interest such as gender identity.
"There is an irresistible irony in the fact that Peterson, who has become known through fierce intercession of the principles of free speech, claims a claim for the stated goal of making academics and administrators more circumspect in their words," says the defense of Laurier.
Mr. Peterson had asserted that the university had been alarmed by remarks in a meeting with a student in which they cast doubt on his academic references and compared to showing his comments on gender-neutral pronouns with "playing … a speech by Hitler". Laurier argues that because it has not recorded and disseminated those comments, it is not the fault of the consequences of becoming public.
The legal battle began after the university held a disciplinary meeting for teaching assistant Lindsay Shepherd, who showed her class a clip of Mr. Peterson argues about Bill C-16, the law that adds gender identity and expression to the list of prohibited grounds for discrimination. Ms. Shepherd secretly registered the meeting, which was posted online, leading to national repercussions against the university. Laurier has since apologized.
Mr. Peterson and Ms. Shepherd both filed a lawsuit against Laurier and the professors during the disciplinary meeting in June: Nathan Rambukkana, Herbert Pimlott and Adria Joel. Mr. Peterson claimed that he was vilified; Mrs. Shepherd claimed that the university had ruined her future in the academic world. None of the claims has been proven in court.
The defense statement claims that because Laurier professors had no idea that Ms. Shepherd would record and disseminate the sound of the meeting, they can not be held responsible for the consequences of the disclosure of their remarks.
However, the university states that Mr Peterson "suffered no or insignificant damage" as a result of the incident.
Peterson called this concept "ridiculous."
"There have been a lot of attacks on me because I was associated with the alt-right," he said, "and that was largely due to what happened at Wilfrid Laurier."
Howard Levitt, representing Mr. Peterson and Mrs. Shepherd, said that the professors should have assumed that their remarks would be recorded and made public.
"Everyone has recording devices at all times," he said. "That is a realistic risk in 2018."
In a public statement, the university stressed that Mr. Peterson admitted to filing the lawsuit to make academics more cautious about what they say about him, which, according to Laurier, is a "means of over-expressing matters of general interest, including gender identity. "
"I hope that the combination of lawsuits will be enough to convince careless university professors and directors, blinded by their own ideology, to be much more careful in their actions and their words," said Mr. Peterson in a YouTube video after he said business suit.
Laurier argues that this is reason for dismissal under Section 137.1 of the Courts of Justice, which aims in part to "discourage the use of lawsuits as a way to unjustly confine themselves to matters of general interest."
"In particular, Peterson did not say that he initiated the claim against the defendants to claim damages for reputational damage", says Laurier.
Peterson said that he meant that he hoped that the suit further closed closed door acquisitions on the basis of lies & # 39; would not recommend, no debate in general.
Laurier refused to comment further on the case.