Steve Paikin discusses freedom of speech with five Canadian professors

Wilfred Laurier’s attempt to stifle/punish Lindsay Shepherd for playing a bit of Jordan Peterson video in her class has ignited a big debate in Canada, none of which would have happened had Shepherd not been savvy enough to tape the meeting in which she was admonished, and then to release the tape to the press.

The debate  goes on, below in a 40-minute television debate on Steve Paikin’s show The Agenda, a debate involving five professors:

Janice Stein, University of Toronto
Thomas Merritt, Laurentian University
Shannon Dea, University of Waterloo
Rinaldo Walcott, University of Toronto
Emmett Macfarlane, University of Waterloo

And after hearing it, I have to say, “O Canada!” The debate, about free speech and how to treat students, should arouse passion, but only three people show any: Janice Stein, whose views seem close to mine, and two Authoritarian Leftists, Rinaldo Walcott and Shannon Dea. Dea mouths the jargon of postmodern feminism, even arguing that Shepherd might have been on the side of Jordan Peterson (Shepherd says she was not), and Walcott sees white supremacy everywhere, to the extent that many of his answers aren’t responsive. The geneticist Thomas Merritt politely shows that Regressive Leftism has infected his class in genomics and genetics, to the extent that when teaching Jim Watson’s work he’s impelled to say that the man is a racist and a homophobe, and political scientist Emmett Macfarlane politely straddles the fence.

I suppose this is worth listening to to see how well the beavers have dined in Canadian universities, with only Stein sticking up for freedom of speech (Walcott even says that some speech, like Jordan Peterson’s views on pronouns, should not be allowed to be uttered in society).  If ever passion was needed to defend truly progressive principles, it’s now, and I fear, after hearing this, that Canadians are, by and large, too polite to muster that passion, and will simply go along with the demands of Regressives. Since this is only a sample of five professors (but there were two more in Shepherd’s “hearing”), I may be overly fearful.

Finally, I’ll say, as I have before, that Paikin is one of the best t.v. moderators around. He asks just the right questions, doesn’t intrude or dominate the discussion, but keeps it on track right up to the end. That there’s no agreement among these five faculty is not his fault.


  1. Posted December 9, 2017 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    It would be interesting to learn who picked these five and why.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted December 9, 2017 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

      Yes, it would be. I don’t know that they represent the views of all academics in Canadian universities, esp since they represent 3 universities in total at a time where Canadian education is considered one of the top educations in the world.

      I suspect they looked for those with controversial opinions for “balance” in the debate. I can see most academics not wanting to touch this one with a 10 foot pole.

    • Posted December 9, 2017 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

      Probably for “balance”, imo.

  2. Diana MacPherson
    Posted December 9, 2017 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    Saying Canadians are too polite to fight for values of our democracy is such a stereotype and it’s a real I suit to Canadians. I think the fact that we have these public discussions on national platforms, that Canadians were disgusted at the behaviour at Laurier to the point of a alumni withdrawing funds, says we aren’t going to just go along with authoritarians. We are a free and just society and I’m frankly tired of hearing how we aren’t by Americans who have plenty of issues with their own desmocracy and universities.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted December 9, 2017 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      I suit = insult. iPad typing.

    • Posted December 9, 2017 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      My apologies; I was just going by these people. And of course I’m calling out American universities constantly!

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted December 9, 2017 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      Democracy? You believe that large area south of you is a democracy, could have fooled me. I thought is was little more than a subsidiary of Russia at the moment. I’ll be sure and tell my comrades about this.

    • Posted December 9, 2017 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

      One thing for sure: there are a whole lot of loonies up in Canada. 😉

      • Merilee
        Posted December 9, 2017 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

        🤓and I have some weighing down my wallet…

      • nicky
        Posted December 10, 2017 at 1:35 am | Permalink

        Loonies? Two out of five? Not that bad a score, methinks.

        • Posted December 10, 2017 at 10:20 am | Permalink

          On the panel, I’d count one lunatic and two enablers. But Merilee got it.

    • Martin Levin
      Posted December 9, 2017 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

      Diana, I watched this with some horror, esp at Walcott, who actually said that Ms Shepherd had the advantage over Rambukkana because she is whie and who knows what racial damage had shaped him. For Walcott, everything is about race, which so limits to his definition any conversations. Shannon Dea, while attempting to appear fair-minded, accused Ms Shepherd of “bad pedagogy<" tho giving no indication of why shhe thought so. The other 2 profs contributed nothing, other than to show how far this virus is spreading.I'm pretty sure Janice Stein was there as a rational control, someone who understands not just free speech, but free inquiry, both now under threat.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted December 9, 2017 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

        Read what I wrote. I never disputed anything you said.

      • nicky
        Posted December 10, 2017 at 1:39 am | Permalink

        Ms Stein was not just the voice of reason, she was by far the oldest, is reason dying out? 🙂
        Your points about Mr Walcott and Ms Dea are pertinent.

    • Craw
      Posted December 9, 2017 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

      As a Canadian I do not entirely agree, there is no room for complacency.
      We have the various “human rights” councils. Those interested should google; there are a lot of horror stories.

      I have lived under martial law in Canada, which I expect few Americans have done.

      There is much about our system of government that is better than the American, IMO, and our politicians seem less awful in general, but we have some troubling signs.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted December 9, 2017 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

        Well you certainly read a lot into what I wrote. I never called for complacency. As for the time PET called for the Wars Measures Act because of the terrorist attacked in the early 70s, I’m sure you’ll appreciate his comments about those liberals who didn’t like it as they would seem congruous with those who oppose bleeding hearts.

        Yes, well there are a lot of bleeding hearts around who just don’t like to see people with helmets and guns. All I can say is, go on and bleed, but it is more important to keep law and order in this society than to be worried about weak-kneed people who don’t like the looks of a soldier’s helmet.

        • Posted December 9, 2017 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

          The FLQ terror attacks began in the late 60s and War Measures Powers were invoked late in the year 1970.

          The joke is that even after the tanks rolled in, in the end the extremists won and still run the gov’t of Quebec.

          50 years on they remain dissatisfied even though they are Supreme and have outrageous powers with which to uphold their idea of a Franco state. They seek to expand their territory every single day – totalitarians ought never to become empowered. This is what we are fighting against right now, again, and this is why we cannot soft peddle the way the Canadian media is currently doing.

    • Posted December 9, 2017 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

      Diana, you make me laugh!

      You’re offended! ha!
      You believe there is vigorous debate & strong push back against the Post Modernists! ha!
      Where? Please point me to the televised debates where this is happening? Link me to the articles using strong language (and I do not want to see Rex Murphy or Conrad Black in the reply – these 2 are fixtures of the media whose purpose is clearly a steam-valve for all things anti-government, no matter the issue.)

      There is virtually no strong opposition to the Post-Modernist agenda represented in the media in Canada. They offer tepid controlled ‘push-back’ to give off the impression that both sides are being vigorously represented… and obviously their strategy works! You are a case in point.

      If you look at Britain or Australia those countries regularly have heated exchanges on all of the issues we badly need to discuss in Canada. Nothing even close is happening in this country.

      You might be insulted by the author’s use of the “Polite Canadian” stereotype but it doesn’t mean it isn’t justified.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted December 9, 2017 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

        Blah blah blah. Assertion assertion assertion. Learn what the null hypothesis is.

        • Posted December 9, 2017 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

          Lol – back before the Prog madness people knew how to converse, how to spar.. I miss those days.

        • Craw
          Posted December 9, 2017 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

          What was that about complacency?

    • Davide Spinello
      Posted December 9, 2017 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

      The current leadership is showing all the signs of capitulation. While the prime minister is busy writing dear diary articles (or posing for Vogue and Rolling Stone), the Minister of Science shows lack of understanding of what is free speech (or perhaps too much confidence in the fact that she will always be the one deciding what is hate speech). At a Senate hiring for Bill C-16, at least one speaker has been accused of promoting genocide for objecting to coercive language legislation (about preferred gender pronouns).

      I hope to be missing something, and I don’t even want to start with the Ontario social justice tribunal that seems preoccupied with professors not properly accommodating students for finals (I know of at least one more case of this level of laughability).

      I hope to be just a victim of confirmation bias, but the high ranks seem to be completely lost.

  3. Randall Schenck
    Posted December 9, 2017 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    I would say your assessment is pretty good on this one. Sure am glad I’m not going to school these days.

  4. Merilee
    Posted December 9, 2017 at 2:00 pm | Permalink


    • Diane G.
      Posted December 9, 2017 at 7:15 pm | Permalink


  5. mikeyc
    Posted December 9, 2017 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    Wow. Walcott is a real piece of work.

    • Mark Reaume
      Posted December 9, 2017 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      Yes that is a nice way of putting it.

    • Posted December 9, 2017 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

      Walcott is the director of a “Women and Gender Studies Institute”. ‘Nuff said.

      • Posted December 9, 2017 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

        Walcott was tweeting openly racist stuff at Lindsay, accusing her and other ‘white TAs’ of undermining the authority of black professors. It was disgusting. This overt hatred of white people for crimes committed by a few people more than a hundred years ago is just insane. Real racists are hard to find among white people, but black racists seem to be everywhere thanks to the regressive left.

        • mikeyc
          Posted December 9, 2017 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

          You’ve made some risable statements on this thread not the least of which is; “This overt hatred of white people for crimes committed by a few people more than a hundred years ago…”. A “few”? Over a hundred years ago? This alone suggests I can safely ignore your comments.

        • Saul Sorrell-Till
          Posted December 10, 2017 at 8:14 am | Permalink

          “This overt hatred of white people for crimes committed by a few people more than a hundred years ago is just insane. Real racists are hard to find among white people, but black racists seem to be everywhere thanks to the regressive left.”

          What utter bullshit. Your grasp of history is so skewed and your priorities are so messed up I wonder what exactly you’re doing on a liberal website like this.

          • Posted December 10, 2017 at 9:54 am | Permalink

            Regardless of what history of white racism Walcott was referring to, in that panel discussion he was making blanket accusations against whites as a class, which is clearly racist.

        • Posted January 27, 2018 at 5:53 am | Permalink

          + 1

      • nicky
        Posted December 10, 2017 at 1:46 am | Permalink

        From the sound of it, I would have bet Mr Walcott would be in a XYZ-‘studies’ department.
        XY or Z ‘studies’ is a red flag and should be looked at with a jaundiced (yellow) eye. [This is not as colour-crazy as it sounds, the ‘Red’-receptors in our retina’s have their maximum absorption in the Yellow wavelengths’]. That being said, I think Mr Walcott is ‘colour-crazy’ indeed. 🙂

  6. Richard Sanderson
    Posted December 9, 2017 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    I have criticisms of Peterson, but the regressive left’s hyperbole and reaction to him is incredibly silly.

    One regressive, Eiynah (aka “Nice Mangos”) states “Jordan Peterson is one of the most dangerous extremists around today”. Something fellow regressive Peter “Humanisticus” Ferguson agrees with! Off the top of my head, I can thinks of thousands more people who are a LOT more extreme than him, and actually qualify for the “extreme” label.

    Don’t be surprised though, if the regressive left continue to gaslight us, and insist we are all imagining this Neo-Marxist regressive claptrap take hold on campuses and in academia. It is now obvious.

    • Posted December 9, 2017 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

      Peterson is one of the biggest dangers to extremists around today.

      • Michiel
        Posted December 10, 2017 at 7:30 am | Permalink

        Indeed. I’ve listened to a lot of Peterson’s talks on youtube and while I certainly don’t agree with everything he says, he is as far from being “extremist” as one can be. But then anyone with spine enough to stand up the the postmodernist bullshit machine is labeled “extremist”, “far right”, “alt right” etc. Whatever. I don’t consider myself to be particularly right or left wing, but I sure don’t support the intersectional lunatics that are running the asylum nowadays and Peterson is one of the better antidotes against their crazyness.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted December 9, 2017 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

      I’ve listened to Eiynah (Nice Mangos) only intermittently, but from all I’ve heard so far, she’s hardly a “regressive.” A font of sanity, seems more like it.

      • Rich Sanderson
        Posted December 9, 2017 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

        If you had followed her as much as me, and knew some of the people she has attacked and maligned, you would think differently.

        Eiynah has strict purity tests, and if you fall foul of them, as a lot of ex-Muslims, progressives, and humanists, have, then you are labelled a “Nazi” or a “white supremacist”. Just ask Yasmine Mohammed or Charmain Neary.

        Eiynah is a regressive. A nasty one at that. Pure and simple. And her statement regarding Jordan Peterson is insane, regardless of of the validity of some of his opinions.

        • Posted December 9, 2017 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

          I have to agree. I used to listen to her podcast until her narcissistic regressiveness put me off completely.

          • Rich Sanderson
            Posted December 10, 2017 at 11:46 am | Permalink

            I checked on her Twitter recently, and yep, she is still chumming around with antisemitic loons and nutbars such as Johnny Spooner, Sacha Saeen, and Dan Arel.

            She’s a regressive, who lays pipes for Islamists to have a go at ex-Muslims and progressive Muslims.

  7. Ken Kukec
    Posted December 9, 2017 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    … to see how well the beavers have dined in Canadian universities …

    The standard Hitchensian termite metaphor is no longer sufficient to the task in The Great White North, eh?

    • Craw
      Posted December 9, 2017 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

      We’re a tougher gnaw than you Yanks!

  8. Posted December 9, 2017 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    Rosalind Franklin’s data was stolen by her white supervisor?

    • Posted December 9, 2017 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

      Matthew Cobb, who knows these things, wrote a Guardian piece, here, about the “theft” issue, and concludes, “The race to uncover the structure of DNA reveals fascinating insights into how Franklin’s data was key to the double helix model, but the ‘stealing’ myth stems from Watson’s memoir and attitude rather than facts.”

      • Posted December 9, 2017 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

        How nice that the PC genomics prof feels the need to include that tale in his curriculum.

      • nicky
        Posted December 10, 2017 at 1:49 am | Permalink

        There is no doubt in my mind that if Rosalind Franklin had still been alive, she would have shared in that Nobel prize.

        • Posted December 10, 2017 at 9:58 am | Permalink

          LOL. There are feminists who point to her not receiving the Nobel as proof of Teh Patriarchy™.

  9. Kelly
    Posted December 9, 2017 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    Walcott’s views are disturbing. He really goes off the deep end when he tries to argue that people’s outrage over how the teaching assistant Lindsay Shepherd was treated was really about power,HER power because Rambukkana, her supervising professor was an “untenured man of color”. As additional proof, Walcott adds that in his own experience as a “young black professor” he has had TA’s that overstepped their boundaries. In Walcott’s oppression Olympics, Rambukkana is actually the victim. Let’s forget all about how Rambukkana bullied and threatened Lindsay Shepherd, because in Walcott’s world only identity matters and I guess only certain people’s words hurt.

    • Mark Reaume
      Posted December 9, 2017 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

      Its noteworthy that he complained about Peterson talking about things that he isn’t an expert in, but he was able to talk authoritatively about the dynamics between this TA and her professor.

      • Posted December 9, 2017 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

        A convenient bit of sophistry that, unless you are yourself a scholar in a particular field, you are unable to hold an opinion on that field. Regularly employed by the peddlers of PoMo nonsense, biblical apologetics, and woo alike.

        • Posted December 9, 2017 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

          Reminds me of a Muslim guest speaker in our science & religion course: “You are only criticizing the translations of the Koran, not the Koran itself. Have you read it in Arabic? Then it is not the true Koran.”

          • Posted December 10, 2017 at 10:03 am | Permalink

            To paraphrase A.C. Grayling: I don’t need to study every variant of astrology to know the whole thing is hogwash.

            If a field is based on Critical Theory, it is hogwash. If based on postmodernism, it’s hogwash. Lacanian? Hogwash. etc.

  10. Jake Sevins
    Posted December 9, 2017 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    I want to know where we draw the line: would it be reasonable to host a debate between Richard Spencer (who is clearly a racist) and say, Noam Chomsky? Most people would say no. You wouldn’t want to legitimize Spencer by giving him that platform.

    But what about a debate between Ben Shapiro and Noam Chomsky? Shapiro is strongly right-leaning, but far more reasonable than some of the alt-right folks.

    It seems like some of the panelists here are in favor of barring any debate that doesn’t support their ideology. I’m not sure what the “correct” answer is.

    • danstarfish
      Posted December 10, 2017 at 2:02 am | Permalink

      I don’t think debating a person legitimizes them. When our host debated John Haught, Haught was so embarrassed by the encounter that he asked that the video not be made public as was planned. In no way did the debate legitimize Haught.

      I think debating people with illegitimate ideas gives you good practice at shooting down those ideas. There can be opponents that are not worth wasting time on or many other valid reasons not to debate. But unless you are particularly pathetic at debating, I wouldn’t worry too much about legitimizing your opponent.

    • Michiel
      Posted December 10, 2017 at 7:42 am | Permalink

      I’m just not sure where this idea that having someone talk “legitimizes” them comes from. If the person is spouting racists nonsense during this talk I would say it does the opposite of legitimizing, at least if he or she is then countered by someone with more acceptable arguments.
      Not that a debate between Chomsky and Spencer would be particularly welcome or enlightening, but that’s probably why no one has thought of organising such a thing. And if someone’s views are popular and echoed in larger society they will somehow find a platform anyway (a la Trump). You can’t counter such views by deplatforming. At least not without doing more damage at the same time (the rise of postmodernist/intersectional nonsense can, I think, partially be attributed to the fact that countering views have for a long time now been deemed “offensive” “racist” etc and therefore been off limits to debate.
      And what do we get? Rise of regressive leftism in western societies. Rise of Islamic extremism because their views can’t be countered in public debate, and Trump and other right wing populists rising in power because the only place people can still make their voice heard is at the ballot box.

      • Jake Sevins
        Posted December 10, 2017 at 8:45 am | Permalink

        Both of you guys above make good points, and I tend to agree to an extent. But I know that certain people who’ve thought a lot about this have expressed their feelings about “legitimizing” someone by talking to them. For example, Sam Harris has spoken about having certain people on his podcast like Stefan Molyneux or Jared Taylor, and thought better of it, saying both seem to be racists (Taylor is pretty overt about his views, including his belief that whites are genetically superior to blacks).

        So, is Sam wrong to worry that sharing his platform with these men would be a mistake?

    • Posted December 10, 2017 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      I’d like to see Shapiro face a true wit, instead of the usual SJW undergrads parroting dogma. Harpooning tuna vs. shooting dazed fish in a barrel.

  11. Craw
    Posted December 9, 2017 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

    More on Lindsay. Some of this is jaw dropping. Apparently she bulled Rambukkanah with her “white women tears”!

    • Rich Sanderson
      Posted December 10, 2017 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      Quillette are really on it when it comes to covering the SocJus madness and anti-liberalism on campuses. Regressives like Dan Arel really dislike the publication. Then again, he’s a pro-violence racist. So who cares what he thinks.

      It is not at all surprising though, is it? SJWs and Neo-Marxists always present themselves as the victims, even when it is them doing the bullying, intimidation, and harassment. Plus, they hold the power. Nobody with any intelligence or sense will fall for the “Lindsay Shepherd is white so she has all the power” nonsense. Rambukkanah and company have all the institutional and social power, here.

  12. Posted December 11, 2017 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    I wonder too if they contacted any faculty involved in the civil liberties organizations around the country. Andrew Irvine at UBC, for example, might be a good choice. Mind you, I see that the selection is all from Ontario, which might make sense given the network …

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