Free speech and unequal prejudice

Emma Teitel on freedom of expression at two very different universities


Have you heard? Free speech is a thing of the past. And religious liberty is dying fast.

It began last week when Arun Smith, a seventh-year human rights student at Carleton University in Ottawa, tore down a “free speech wall” on campus because it featured socially conservative comments. The action inspired three National Post columns and an Ezra Levant exclusive lamenting the end of freedom of expression as we know it.

Elsewhere, on the religious liberty front, the Canadian Council of Law Deans wrote a letter of protest to Canada’s Federation of Law Societies about Trinity Western University. The Christian liberal arts school in British Columbia wants to open a law school that would require students to sign a Community Covenant Agreement that pledges “Healthy Sexuality.” The agreement has nothing to do with gonorrhea or how to avoid it: what’s to be avoided is love and sex between people of the same gender (which is, I guess, by Trinity Western’s standards, worse than gonorrhea). “Sexual intimacy,” says the covenant, “is reserved for marriage between one man and one woman.” In other words, gays need not apply.

In a bizarre twist, one of Trinity Western’s champions is the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, whose double-speak on this issue would confound George Orwell himself. From the Vancouver Sun:

“Despite TWU’s ban on homosexual relationships and sex outside marriage, Lyster [British Columbia Civil Liberties Association president Lindsay Lyster] also defended the evangelical school’s approach to academic freedom — saying secular universities often impose restrictions on free thought, including in regards to religious perspectives.”

Lyster’s concern, I suspect, is the same kind shared by Rex Murphy and Ezra Levant when they lament the end of free speech at Carleton University. There’s no denying most secular liberal arts schools are left-leaning, but do they really “impose restrictions on free thought and religious perspectives” draconian enough to match the injustice of Trinity Western’s ban on homosexuality?


Secular schools are by and large socially liberal, yes, but the mere presence of seventh-year human rights students and atheist professors in blue jeans does not equal discriminatory policy against socially conservative, religious students. Nor does the overwhelming presence of socially liberal thought prohibit social conservatism. Telling gays they are going to hell probably won’t make you valedictorian, but there is no rule against doing so. Arun Smith ripped down the “free speech wall” because written on it, among other things, was “Traditional marriage is awesome,” and “Abortion is murder.” He was wrong to do so. But the fact remains: he was punished. The students who wrote the conservative comments were not. As for the free speech wall? There is a new one in its place.

Freedom of expression: 1.

Arun Smith: 0.

Free speech dead? Apparently not.

Socially conservative students may find that in a modern university classroom, they’re uncomfortable stating their views on the civil rights of gays and lesbians (possibly that they shouldn’t have any), but that doesn’t mean they’re not allowed to. However, your right to speak freely doesn’t negate someone else’s right to tell you to stop talking. And asking that you do so because your argument has no place in an institution of higher learning, or in a court of law (my right to marry my girlfriend is no longer a valid debate topic, nor is it any of your business) is not a letter of expulsion.

Echoing the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, Barbara Kay writes in the National Post that secular law schools are breeding grounds of their own a-religious philosophies; prone to different but equal prejudice. Here she is below:

“So although white Christian students of European descent don’t actually have to sign a Covenant attesting to their original sin of white or male privilege when they sign up for law school, they may as well have had to, considering what they will be taught once they’re in, and the way they’ll be treated if they dissent from the critical race theory or feminist line. Unlike gays, who have their pick of law schools that cater to minority sensibilities, those who reject the Marxist-based faith governing most law schools in the West are forced to submit to their tenets.”

Let’s assume for a moment Kay is correct: Canadian law school is a three-year pinko party to which all would-be gay law students aspire. And one at which all socially conservative law students feel out of place.

That she can even allude to the isolation of socially conservative students on secular campuses proves my point precisely. They are allowed on secular campuses. They don’t have to sign a covenant. They may not Take Back the Night, or Occupy Bay Street, but nobody’s stopping them from going to school. More on point, their rights to rant and lobby against my rights does not bar them from enrolling in a secular institution. But my right to be myself would bar me from enrolling in theirs.

So let’s be clear. We are not dealing with equal prejudices. One is far more insidious. Secular law schools, no matter how annoyingly liberal, do not have the power to expel socially conservative, religious students simply because they are socially conservative and religious. Trinity Western University’s law school, on the other hand, would have the power to expel gays because they are gay.

Social conservatives of this ilk are not defenders of liberty. They are its thieves.


Free speech and unequal prejudice

  1. Right wingers can play the victim about simply anything. Ezra Levant was never the subject of a human rights hearing (one investigation, one withdrawn complaint). Maclean’s won their case handily. The Knights of Columbus won the right to not rent out their community halls to homosexual couples for marriages and they STILL claimed they were hard done by.

    • Yeah, a church on every corner, a section in each media, a spot in every ceremony, news coverage………everything they’ve always had in fact, and yet lately they act as though Romans are still throwing them to the lions.

      Political manipulation used in the US, creeping north.

    • And why did any of the above have to justify any of what they did to the government? Why were there any hearings at all, why did any of these folks have to spend a penny in legal fees?

    • Holy crow is the pot calling the kettle black or what? Right wingers playing victim? ROTFLMFAO.
      In comparison to the left?

  2. Great piece. It’s definitely been my perception that there is a significant part of the conservative movement that use the pretence of protecting freedoms to take them away. We’ve seen it in the States and we’ve certainly seen it here.

    I really have no idea of why guys go on about being discriminated against for being white and male. I’m a white straight guy who’s been in university for 11 years and I’ve never felt discriminated against nor given particular favour because of it. Maybe equality seems like discrimination for those who’ve gotten everything their way for most of their lives.

    Also, in all of my years in university, the only time I’ve seen a conservative student made to feel uncomfortable in a class was when he called something “socialist” (I forget what it was now, it was 6 years ago) that clearly had nothing to do with socialism. The prof took him to task for being a fourth year political science student that didn’t have a basic understanding of what socialism is. It was embarrassing for him, but the prof was measured and her point was totally fair.

    • Alas, if only we would have professors calling out the Arun Smith’s of this world. Arun Smith studied human rights. You think any professor would have pointed out to Smith, that not giving others the right to call traditional marriage awesome goes against human rights.

      Seems to me that not all professors are thinking professionally enough!

      • 1. Most profs I know would roll their eyes and call the dude an a**hole.

        2. If Smith had asked a prof, most would have argued against censorship. But I’m betting he didn’t.

        3. Most profs, however, would call bullish*t on the concept of ‘traditional marriage’. Even a passing familiarity with history and cross-cultural variation renders the concept facile and political. (Neocon columnists want universities to be hotbeds of opinions. Most profs want universities to be hotbeds of learning, critique and understanding. There’s a big difference between the two.

        4. Smith tore down a sign. He didn’t do a damn thing to the rights of others. Any scholar of human rights has bigger fish to fry.

        • “Neocon columnists want universities to be hotbeds of opinions. Most
          profs want universities to be hotbeds of learning, critique and
          understanding. There’s a big difference between the two.”

          On the topic of traditional marriage: for a liberal mindset to be of any value, any notion of traditional mindsets must be understood likewise. Namely that the meaning of marriage must always have been regarded in terms of society forming. For if the meaning of marriage is not considered within framework of a society overall, then the meaning of marriage is null and void.

          Traditional marriage, the one between a man and a women, must come out of a mindset being constructive for the well being of societies at large. And indeed they are for only a union between a man and a woman can produce an offspring, and it is the producing and caring of offspring which is of concern to the betterment of any society.

          Now, if we will admit that marriage as such has no intent or meaning within societal settings or intent or meaning within a working framework for the betterment of society, then marriage can be anything we want it to be at any given time.

          But when thinking within a more encompassing framework of finding ways for betterment of society, then the meaning of marriage must be more than just an empty slogan of being adjustable to all. The meaning of marriage, however, does not operate within a vacuum. But by saying that the meaning of marriage can only be found between the love of two people is doing just that: finding solutions within a vacuum which in reality does not exist.

          Therefore, traditional thinkers are not opinion makers when it comes to traditional marriage. In fact, it is the none-critical thinking which has guided the SSM movement. The topic could not even be discussed in Parliament, for crying out loud because the so called well-educated masses could not handle the learning, critique and understanding required in order to have a debate. Hence, the Chretien government was cowardly enough to have it referred to the courts which at the time and even at this time, have not ruled conclusively on the subject.

          So much for open debates being on demand from the schooled massed………………

          • “Traditional marriage, the one between a man and a women, must come out of a mindset being constructive for the well being of societies at

            I personally don’t know any couples (straight or gay) whose motivation for getting married was “being constructive for the well being of societies at large” (whatever that means).

            It seems to me most normal couples (i.e., excluding narcissists, predators, psychopaths, etc.) get married because they make each other happy and, in some sense, fulfilled. The needs of greater society are rarely, if ever, among their concerns.

            Nor do people I know (including my wife and myself) typically procreate in order to perpetuate the species or provide a new generation of consumers or citizens. If parenthood is premeditated, it’s for the selfish reason that we want the joy of nurturing children (and, perhaps, a little security and emotional sustenance for ourselves in later life).

          • Your argument is completely inconsistent. For if there is no wider reason to be found for the meaning of marriage to be set within the framework of society’s well being, how then to explain the ban on marriages between siblings, or marriages between father and daughter? After all, some fathers make their daughters very happy.

            When you’re done explaining that one to me we can move on to correct the rest of your inconsistencies. One step at a time seems to be the better course to take in these sets of circumstances.

          • Incest is a(n almost)) universal taboo, probably because it exponentially increases the possibility of defective offspring, which is primarily a parental (not societal) burden. Of course, the most notable historic exception to this taboo was the apparently not infrequent marriage of royal siblings in ancient Egypt – ostensibly for “the good of society”, BTW.

            It’s also probably a taboo because it fosters dangerous rivalries within the family unit, again a self-interested, not altruistic, concern.

            Moreover, in families where it occurs, the biggest fear is shame, stigma, and ostracism, not concern for any possible damage to the welfare of the larger community.

            You’re welcome.

          • So we agree then that some restrictions are placed on the term marriage, namely in regards to offspring. But why have restrictions on the term marriage when, according to you, the offspring has nothing to do with the term marriage?

            Are you of the opinion now that marriage must, in some way, be seen in relation to offspring?

          • unprotected offspringing should be restricted, lest it lead to lusty relations with unmarried offspring. And we know where that leads to…terminal inconsistencies and gay circumstances.Which is one step removed from communism and liberal tyranny ;but nevertheless one step up from outright fascism – thank goodness.

          • LOLOL Thanks for that!

          • We may agree on the need for restrictions on the term “marriage” but I doubt we agree on what those restrictions should be. I would restrict it to voluntary unions between two adults (however that’s defined), irrespective of the sex of the partners. I would (in Canada, at least) exclude arranged marriages unless the partners freely and independently consented to the union.

            No, I don’t see that marriage is necessarily related to offspring. We know heterosexual couples who are child-free (the new term for childless) by choice. And, as a casual (unscientific) observation, a significant number of couples among our adult children’s friends appear to be having children without any apparent concern about their marital status.

            Do you not find it odd that the very people who, in other matters, believe in smaller government, less red tape, and unfettered enterprise are the ones who seem to clamour most stridently for state regulation of marriage, parenthood, and abortion?

          • Ok, voluntary unions between two adults. Father and daughter, both adults, freely consenting.

            Ok, voluntary unions between two adults. Brother and sister, both adults, freely consenting.

            And so forth.

            Yet,those unions as set out above, are not legal in terms of marriage. So there must be something about those unions to which the restriction applies. Why would we want to stop brothers from marrying sisters or why would we want to stop fathers from marrying daughters if not for the outcome of offspring? What besides the possibility of offspring could be held as a valid restriction in those cases. You mentioned shame and family disunity, but I know many marriages between strangers by which the families feel ashamed and by which family members may become disunited.

            Please tell me on what ground those restrictions are based?

            And I am not going to discuss abortion or parenthood here. We were discussing the meaning of marriage. Why veer off into another topic if you haven;t even been able to give a clear explanation as to why certain restrictions exist in regards to marriage?

          • Alright, if you want me to concede there are exceptional circumstances in which the state shouldn’t sanctify a union by permitting legal marriage, incestuous relationships qualify. I’d go further and say that if a person of either sex was recruited into an incestuous relationship by a parent of either sex before the age of majority/consent, the adult should be criminally charged (which is the case when any minor is involved, anyway).

            As odious as incestuous relationships between consenting adults seem to be, the state can’t really interfere otherwise in their behaviour.

            If you want me to volunteer another exception, I’m not really big on bigamous marriages where fraud or duplicity is involved, either.

            OK? Let’s move on. Somehow, we’ve wandered away off the original post.

          • Actually we have not wandered off the original post at all, since the above written article deals with ‘traditional marriage’ and free speech and such speech being offensive to some.

            You see, this is not about conceding or about winning, not by you or by me. This is all about setting forth a reasonable debate. And reasonable debates require liberal minds. The liberal mind wants to understand the logic inherent within policy and public discourse. The meaning of marriage is such an idea which comes forth out of policy and public discourse. But when the meaning of marriage or the debate of such a meaning is closed because logical arguments are no longer of interest, then we have more to loose than to gain.

            My argument is that we see less and less evidence of liberal minds at work precisely because the logical aspects of a debate are forgotten about. Or, as it seems, critical thinking is in decline. Such decline cannot be hung around the necks of traditionalist alone. Something else is going on, and I think the above written column must be read in such context. That’s all.

          • The first problem you’re having is that you don’t understand the meaning of freely given consent. Such consent cannot happen between a father-daughter, or sibling-sibling relationship because of the power and authority structures *inherent* in the familial relationship.

            There may be occasional exceptions to this, but these would be rare, much like how we do not let young people drive until a certain age — because the cases of when a young person is fully mature enough to be responsible for operating a vehicle before that age are rare enough that it is simply not effective to individually design a law for each individual circumstance. Thus, it is entirely appropriate for society to disallow such relationships not because of any “betterment to society” argument, but for reasons of protecting the vulnerable.

            The second problem you have is that your assertion that marriage exists for procreative purposes falls flat on its face when confronted with the practice of marriage in other cultures and times. More often than not, marriage was based around institutionalized control of the women, because women that did not have a recognized partner were a source of strife in the society among the males. This argument also fails because if that were the reason for marriage, it would be illegal for a man or woman to have a vasectomy or hysterectomy if they were married and had no kids. It would also be illegal for people who were infertile to marry, regardless of sex. That this isn’t the case I think demonstrates that society does not view procreation as the purpose of marriage.

            This leads us to the third problem you’re having. The assumption that because that’s the way things were, it’s obviously the way they should be. Societies change. Once it was viewed as wrong for a black person to marry a white one. Purity of race and/or class was viewed as a societal good. Think we should go back to those times? Because that has more tradition behind it than simply “man and woman, race is no issue.” If not, then you acknowledge that tradition is no reason for something to remain the same. So you need real reasons — we’ve already shown that procreative ability isn’t one. So what is?

            Marriage has its purpose in making it easier for society to define property rights, estate rights, guardianship rights and responsibilities, and also a societal form of acknowledging when a person is no longer a viable candidate to seek an intimate or committed relationship with. (The old, making the group more stable). As homosexuality becomes more acknowledged and open, it stands to reason that conflicts over possible homosexual partners becomes more likely, as it becomes more acceptable for homosexuals to demonstrate their feelings about these prospective partners.

            This brings us back around to the original point of marriage — helping to ensure the stability of society. If homosexuality is an accepted form of relationship in our society, homosexual marriages must be allowed for the original, some might even say traditional, reasoning of helping to define which partners are available and thus preventing conflicts from breaking out.

          • Hint: Society isn’t static.

          • “Society isn’t static.”

            But it is frangible.

  3. Well put, and bang on. Those columns irked me too. The idiocy of using one event, committed by one student, to make a generalized judgment is astounding. Kay’s law school example was so convoluted and suppositional it ought to have embarrassed her to print it.

    The neocon trope of universities not just indoctrinating, but systemically privileging ‘left’ opinion is getting stale (it was always feeble and whiny). A liberal arts education isn’t just about reading some books and learning some facts. It’s about acquiring an ability to think skeptically and critically. That existing structures of power and discourse tend to be the object of such a stance is a logical (and desirable) outcome of such an approach. (It’s also why good journalism tends to appear liberal, I’d argue, but that’s another rant…). It’s a bit too cute to suggest that reality has a liberal bias, but it’s not too far off to say that the act of questioning and deconstructing our world just might (still waiting for FOX news and Tom Flanagan to prove that idea wrong).

    Also, the stereotypical 7th year students such writers love to characterize as indicative of the brainwashing one receives at university are so few as to be negligible. And while we’re talking about students, does it ever occur to the conspiracy theorists that your average group of middle-class 18-24 year olds is generally going to skew left?

    And that tendency to skew left is exactly what defines the culture of most campuses. I teach at a university, and can attest to the general diminishment of authority professors and administrators hold over students. I have trouble getting students to read the damn material I’ve set for a course. Even if I was a raving lefty (I’m not), why does anyone think I’d be able to sway their world views so easily? And as Teitel ably argues, institutional sanctions and protections are equally afforded to all.

    • Well,, there you go: if you “have trouble getting students to read the damn material” you’ve set out for a course, how then could you consider them to be able to be liberal thinkers? Being a liberal thinkers means one is informed and being informed involves reading the material one opines about.

      • Your point?

        • Point being, most obviously, that if students claiming to be liberal thinkers without doing the reading, they could not be claiming to be liberal thinkers at all, for to be liberal is to be well read.

          • It’s not the students claiming to be such. It’s Murphy, Kay and Levant accusing universities of privileging such perspectives (and confusing the general approach of a liberal arts education with leftist opinions. There is a distinction to be made.)

          • “There is a distinction to be made.”

            Fat City:

            I fear that a young Ph.D. looking for work today who challenged the increasingly rigid political orthodoxies would have a hard time. But the discipline of sociology is so ideologically homogenous—a herd, as Harold Rosenberg put it, of independent minds—that this problem is rare. Universities cherish diversity in everything except where it counts most: ideas.

            According to data from the Center for Responsive Politics, Harvard, donating 4 to 1 in favor of Democrats in 2008, was one of the more politically diverse major American universities. Ninety-two percent of employees at the University of Chicago donated to Democrats. The University of California favored Democrats over Republicans, 90 percent to 10 percent.Neil Gross of Harvard found that 87.6 percent of social scientists voted for Kerry, 6.2 percent for Bush.

            Gross also found that 25 percent of sociologists characterize themselves as Marxists, likely a higher percentage than members of the Chinese Communist party. I would guess that if Lenin were around today he would be teaching sociology and seeking grants to fund the revolution.


          • You do know that when you quote part of a paragraph, Tony, you really should put “…” to indicate that you left something out.

            Otherwise, people might think you’re simply hoping to make a point by pulling crap out of context, and that would make you a pathetic axe-grinder, not worth anybody’s time. Especially because you fail to add any thoughts of your own.

            In this instance, I note you missed the very first line of the paragraph you start with.. you know, the line which read “My colleagues, to their credit, promoted me to full professor knowing my ideological heterodoxy,” and which basically demonstrates that all the crap that follows is irrelevant, as regardless of the political leanings of people, they can still be fair.. at least, if they lean to the left. It doesn’t actually give us any indication whether people to the right can be.

          • This is what you yourself wrote in your opening post above: ” A liberal arts education isn’t just about reading some books and
            learning some facts. It’s about acquiring an ability to think
            skeptically and critically.”

            To which I replied in other words, that when you cannot even get students to read the required texts, then why would I believe that they would read enough to be of a liberal mindset since the liberal mindset is defined by reading more, not less………….

          • But the selection of texts creates a huge bias.

          • I think Sean’s larger point as rebuttal to the neo con nonsense, was that even he has no say over the students political orientation. IOWs the marxist brainwashing theory crap is just that, idealogical clap trap.Trust you to spin off on a pointless tangent.

    • The rightwing is only interested in trade schools, and STEM subjects in university because they are cut and dried…..they don’t involve thinking, or questioning or morality or philosophy….like liberal arts does.

      Workers who don’t question….the rightwing wet dream.

      • EmilyOne and her thoughts must appear in their dreams often…………………

        • LOL I don’t think you understand what the phrase means.

          • “Working without questioning” – fitting the description of EmilyOne to a ‘t’.

            EmilyOne works here every day and doesn’t question so…………

            What, the rest of your quote won’t follow when applied to you? In your dreams…..!

          • LOL I see you’re trying the Troll trick, and will have to be booted again.

            I don’t work here, dear….and I question everything, something that peeves you wingers no end.

          • LOL !!!

      • I’m in favour of trade schools for those who don’t have an apptitude for academics. Take some guy with a 95 IQ and get him is carpentry ticket. There is no reason why he should not make as much money as a humanities professor.


        STEM is the technological and economic foundation of society. The only reason an academic class exists at all is because of the developement of agricultural technology.
        Science and technology are highly creative fields with vast moral implications, and are rarely cut and dried.
        The right loves thinkers, questioners, moralizer, philosophers and all those good people. What they oppose is the dominance of left-wing thought posing as a neutral or broad education,
        And if you think the left doesn’t like workers who don’t question, look at any modern labour union. I mean really: prepare to be assimilated.

        • Well what you’re saying is that most Canadians are too stupid to be anything but carpenters…..but that a low !Q carpenter should make as much money as a normal IQ type who’s spent years and a lot of money becoming a professor.

          Agricultural technology was invented by STEM people….before that it was a subsistence living….one step up from hunter/gatherers.

          Science and technology are very precise….they are based on math.

          The rest of this post is subjective….. a matter of your cultural upbringing, and somehow you’ve managed to confuse the meaning of conservative and liberal.

          Labour unions are largely right-wing when it comes to voting. They aren’t philosophers you know…..they’re interested in money.

          • If you think labour unions are right wing, then it’s not me that has liberal and conservative confused.


            Plus, becoming a journeyman or even master carpenter takes years of hard work and training, and hence was te last time a professor died in an industrial accident?

          • I come from a family of unionists….grew up knowing unionists. For the most part they are rightwing. Part of the tough-guy image.

            One of the benefits of being a professor….or a professional of any kind… that you DON’T die in an industrial accident.

          • Being a goon doesn’t make you right wing.
            And physical risk should be afforded a wage premium (one reason why men make more than women).

          • I said nothing about being a goon.

            No, physical risk is a choice….and women often make that choice.

          • Left wing tough guys are goons, not right wingers.
            Yes, physical risk can be a choice, which explains a good chunk of the gender wage gap (perhaps a topic for another day) but it isn’t really a choice for a guy with a middling IQ if they want to make good money to take care of their family.

          • Dock workers etc aren’t leftwing. LOL Think Archie Bunker.

            And no, people aren’t paid extra for physical risk. Lawyers make more than soldiers, or cops or firemen. Professors are paid more than miners or electricians or carpenters.

            ‘Good money’ is an opinion….no trade has ‘good money’….my query is why you think Canadians have a ‘middling IQ’

          • That is the paradox: blue collar sensibilities tend to be conservative but unions are most definitely creatures of the left.


            Would it be too much to ask that you look up “ceteris paribus”? All other things being equal, a job that involves physical risk will pay better.
            Electricians can make as much as lawyers.
            By definition, half the population has an IQ under 100. A bunch of people near the hump of the bell curve will be “middling” in that respect.
            I am curious to know where you learned what you think you know.

          • Nope sorry….no requirement for risky jobs to pay more. The phrase has nothing to do with it.

            Rightwing blue collar guys in a group do not suddenly become leftwing. In fact there is nothing leftwing about a union

          • There is no “requirement” but it is an economic fact; supply and demand and all that good stuff.
            Groups are collectivist and collectivism is considered left wing in general.

          • No, I’m afraid it’s not. Generally speaking your education deterrmines your wage….nothing else.

            Unions come from medieval guilds….long before any ‘wings’

            Interesting you consider the military left-wing though

            Does that apply to Rotary as well?

          • Generally speaking, sure, but hours, Woking conditions, experience, and a raft of other factors determine wages.
            The military is specifically banned from unionising as opposed to the greater part of the rest of the federal service where it is mandatory.
            The Rotary is a voluntary association; you are not forced to join to get a job.
            That’s three more fails for you: when will you give it up?

          • None of that has anything to do with differences in gender pay or physical risk

            The military and Rotary are groups….collectives.

            Did you fall on your head recently or have you always been this idiotic?

          • Little girl, you obviously have some issues that are probably best dealt with in another forum.
            I teach economics and what I am telling you is not MY opinion, it is the consensus opinion of many experts over many years and written into the textbook I refer to, regarding wage determinants.
            The Rotary are a voluntary group that have no power to force people to join, unlike a union. The military are a group, in the broader sense, but they are specifically banned from advocating their group’s interests, unlike a union. (And I served 10 years with the military and I can tell you they are not left wing by any measure.)
            Obviously, not all groups are collectivist. A corporation is a group but it is certainly not left wing or collectivist. Both the Fraser Institute and Centre for Policy Alternatives are groups, but do you not understand that one is right wing and the other is left wing because one advocates individualism and the other advocates collectivism?

          • Little girl??? Hon, I’m 66…and you, are a sexist. Not to mention crazy.

            No, you don’t teach economics….not unless it’s to your rightwing church group!

            I make my living in economics, and a very good living it is.

            Now go soak your head…it needs it.

          • Ok, major fail on my part, I thought I was discussing these matters with a child, based on the arguments advanced.
            I’m not a sexist: your screename is Emily, There are no guys named Emily.
            Yes I do teach economics and everything I have said about wage determinants is in the textbook and the other stuff is available elsewhere,
            I’m not religious. I am largely agnostic but have my own beliefs.
            How on earth could you make a “living in economics” with such a poor grasp of it?
            Actually, you are great. You make right wingers seem reasonable, intelligent and well informed by comparison.

          • Scorpio….you are talking utter rubbish, and you know it.

          • Rubbish?
            So how many guys are named “Emily”?
            And fess up: how do you make your “living in economics”?
            Holy crap, Yoda had bad grammar but at least he made sense!

          • Hey kiddo….guys can use any name they like online. So can women.

            Where the hell have YOU been?

            It doesn’t mean you can insult someone you ASSUME is a woman.

            As regulars on here know, I’m a Global Developmental Analyst, and I work online

          • Standard ordinary IQ is 100. There is no half the population under 100.

            Electricians never make as much as lawyers….ever.

          • Average/median is 100. Half are above and half are below, in theory. A few will have exactly 100. Do you understand basic statistics and the normal distribution?


            The MINIMUM for an electrician in Toronto is $35 an hour, but some make $40 or more and experienced contractors can make $75. A young lawyer might bill out at $150 an hour but there is a lot of overhead, non billable time, and bad paying clients so they make $50k to $60k a year. Construction work overall averages over $50k a year.

          • It’s an old joke Scorpio…a play on the word ‘average’

            Standard IQ is 100…the majority of the world’s population have that IQ

            Lawyers make over 100K early on, and later have to take a pay cut to be an MP or a cabinet minister or the PM

            Anything less than 100K a year is working class. Factory workers make 65K or more.

          • You are confusing mean, median and mode. Mean is the total divided by the number of elements. Median is the number where half are higher and half are lower. Mode is the most common. The majority of the population has an IQ within one standard deviation of 100 (generally 85 to 115). But only a small fraction have exactly 100. Some have 101 or 97 or whatever. That is the way a normal distribution works.
            Believe it or not, the MEDIAN wage for a lawyer is just over $40k. The average is a lot higher because there are a few elite lawyers who earn boatloads. It is the high rollers who take the pay cut to enter politics or become a judge.
            Just off the top of my head – and I can provide links if you are not so arrogantly dismissive – the GDP per capita is close to $40k, the average wage is similar, the average wage for a man working full time is something like $60k but oddly enough, that represents the top 10% of tax filers (which includes part time workers).
            If you are not in grade 11, then that must have been where your education stopped in relation to the matters being discussed. I’m not specifically trying to be insulting, but any grade 12 student who has economics and data management credits would not be so persistently incorrect in their assertions.

          • It’s an old joke Scorpio….and if you bought it, your education never got past grade school.

            Now go talk to your church group again.

          • I told you that I am not religious, I don’t have a church group and that this is grade 12 mathematics that you obviously don’t grasp.

          • 3 degrees buddy….and I recognize a retreat when I see one. LOL

        • unions are a great thing on paper. Hardworking people should have their jobs protected and deserve fair pay and humane working conditions.

          It’s just that humanity’s greed screws it all up, with unions in practice protecting the jobs of the incompetent and charging more to do less.

    • Hopefully this section of Teitel’s column (which another commenter a bit further down also singled out) made you cringe, a lot.

      However, your right to speak freely doesn’t negate someone else’s right
      to tell you to stop talking. And asking that you do so because your
      argument has no place in an institution of higher learning, or in a
      court of law (my right to marry my girlfriend is no longer a valid
      debate topic, nor is it any of your business) is not a letter of

      The “ability to think skeptically and critically” pretty much excludes the dismissal of any viewpoint on the arbitrary basis that the particular viewpoint is “no longer a valid debate topic”.

      • Meh, it’s not a valid debate topic in the same manner that the existence of gravity is not a valid debate topic.

        I mean, sure, if someone wants, they can argue that gravity doesn’t exist. That doesn’t make it any less of a waste of time, or the person doing it any less of an idiot.

        • I accept that we all only have so much time to spend debating this topic or that topic, and on that basis it makes perfect sense to spend more time debating topics that are less settled, and less time debating topics that are settled.

          I like your example of gravity, a scientific topic that is basically considered to be settled. Yet a true scientist is not going to arbitrarily dismiss each and every challenge to our existing understanding of gravity out of hand – every challenge should at least get a cursory review, and then dismissed on a rational basis. Sure, it gets annoying to have to disprove the same alternative theory over and over again, or to have the challenger not actually engage in the debate after it is started – I get all of that.

          But in the same way that any of us does not want to have our questions or knowledge gaps dismissed out of hand when we are challenging something that is settled, our default should be to extend the same courtesy to others. Not everyone who challenges something that is settled is necessarily an idiot.

          • The courtesy is extended if, and only if, they can present some very clear evidence that what we already know may be wrong.

            You certainly don’t listen to idiots who challenge it with the reasoning of “because I don’t like it”

        • If you think gay marriage is a force of nature, you really need to shake your head.
          And the thing about skeptics is that they question everything except for the things they don’t.

          • Learn to read. I never said any such thing.

          • I can read and that was precisely the analogy you constructed.

      • To be honest, I didn’t fully follow her complete meaning there. But agreed that no argument should be arbitrarily defined as heresy, and that the whole idea of heresy has no place in a university.

        I wasn’t absolutely sure if she was referring to the dynamic of certain opinions drowning out others in the discourse outside the classroom among students,or to the idea that professors would censor ideas in the lecture hall (or administrations might censor).

        Neocon scribblers often refer to the former as an attack on free speech, but it’s not. I think that was Teitel’s angle. The right to free speech does not mean others lose the right to loudly and rudely drown one out (it might not speak well for the “mob”, but you can’t legislate manners). Free speech simply demands that one is not persecuted for their ideas.

        But if she was suggesting that it’s ok for administrations or professors to squelch respectful but politically unpopular ideas: then I would indeed cringe.

        Last thought: there’s something of a conflation of opinion and argument that’s easy to miss here. In most classrooms, pure opinion has little place – professors demand some form of evidence to support opinions. Often, the right to express unpopular ideas in class is defended as though it should include any and all utterances. I would disagree: a university class is not a free-for-all.

    • It’s one event by one student but there simply isn’t the space to keep repeating all of the incidents by many students over and over. Look at all the mobs who shut down right-wing speaking events. Look at the anti-abortion protesters who are treated suspiciously different from other advocacy groups.
      University has become about thinking skeptically about certain ideas, while swallowing others whole, without consideration.
      If anything, reality has a conservative bias, but liberals create their own reality through Hollywood and the CBC and even Macleans to some extent.

      • If reality had a conservative bias, social progress such as we’ve made would have lead to less economic growth, not more. That is, after all, the whole definition behind “conservative”.

        • “Conservative” in any modern sense of the word, does not mean a lack of progress but rather a respect for methods that have proven their usefulness in the past.

          • The point stands.

  4. Weak article.

    Emma writes: “But the fact remains: he [Smith] was punished. The students who wrote the conservative comments were not.”

    There is no description of the so-called punishment to be found. And why should the students be punished for writing comments such as: “Traditional marriage is awesome” and “Abortion is murder”???

    Free speech is all about being able to state one’s opinions freely.

    • Search a bit more. The undergrad students union board voted to condemn his actions, and furthermore voted to remove him from an undergrad student government body which sits on as a rep. He’s also facing confidential action from the administration, via the Undergrad Affairs office.

      But yes: the link doesn’t work!

      • Yes, the link doesn’t work. And no matter what the punishment will be in writing, nothing of substance will be done about Smith no matter how hard I search.

        • and who will rid us of the Hateful Ezra and Sun media, spill much heat but little light? That would be substance…

          • Your comment must have fallen in the wrong box. Much better for you to take up your suggested conversation with EmilyOne. She can be found on most of these comment boards and would be a much better match for you regarding commenting back and forth. Have fun!

          • Ezra and Sun thought they were going to be the Limbaugh and Beck of Canada, and make a fortune.

            However Canadians are better educated, and less religious than Americans….so they’ll be ignored into oblivion..

        • Evidence that nothing of substance will be done? Or is this just more crap pulled from your arse?

    • My eyes are weak, but even i can see there’s other stuff up there like…Queers, and what looks like a sexual obcenity. If i were gay i’d tear it down too, and deal with the consequences. As Emma says, there appear to be no consequences for the people who wrote much more than – straight marriage is not gay – that at least would be funny.

      • “kcm2 is no liberal thinker”

        Thank god for free speech!

        (my prediction: kmc2 will try and imitate my action)

        • Actually at the age i am now i wouldn’t pull it down, but i might be tempted to take some white out to the more egregious comments and leave the …marriage should be between a man and a women…comments alone. But i can sympathize with the young man’s actions.

  5. The State should have no business in deciding who we choose to marry, government should remove itself entirely from marriage. People should be allowed to marry whoever they want – one man and one woman, two men and one women, or six women – we should all be allowed to pursue our happiness.

    Progressives and conservatives are basically same people, both self centred reactionaries who are trying to impose their values on rest us. Teitel and Levant are two peas in pod, sure Teitel might find Levant distasteful now but she will be canoodling him in a few years.

    Having a free speech pole illustrates perfectly that we don’t have free speech in Canada. It is ridiculous that someone writing a statement of fact – abortion is murder – is subversive and must be policed. Canadian teens and twenties have to be the biggest bunch of harridan Victorian spinsters ever produced.

    I am right wing, not conservative tho, and experienced discrimination from left wing teachers at university twenty years ago. I was removed from a class after 4 days for embarrassing a cliche socialist sociology prof and black history prof would not let me take his course because I did not hold correct views. I am not impressed by your argument that I, and others who don’t hold bien pensant beliefs, should be grateful that public university allowed us to attend.

    • Marriage is a legal contract. It has to involve law, backed by the govt.

      • I agree with Emily, for once. You can’t remove government from a government framed system.

      • It’s contract-ish but it does define their legal relationship vis a vis each other and the state. Civil unions or domestic partnerships can provide exactly the same legal status without coopting the language or the institution of marriage.

        • Marriage is a property contract. Always has been.

          No, civil unions and domestic partnerships are not the same legally.

          • It was a contract in the remote past, but like employment law it has gone so far afield that it is a completely separate area of law.
            As for civil unions and domestic partnerships, they provide exactly the same legal rights and benefits if the law is written that way.

          • What? It is still a property contract. It determines what happens to property if the marriage fails.

            No, civil unions and domestic partnerships do not provide the same rights and benefits. That’s why they’re not called ‘marriage’.

          • The applicable provincial legislation determines property rights. Where there is a written agreement, there are so many ifs ands and buts contained in the legislation and created under the common law that the rules are far removed from those of a contract..

            Again, domestic partnerships and civil unions are defined by their governing statutes. They MIGHT not be exactly the same as marriage but they could (and in my opinion should) be.

          • Divorce is the legislation you’re talking about….and it’s federal.

            There are no such things as civil unions and domestic partnerships in Canada.

          • Divorce is federal, yes, but it does not address property division which – constitutionally – is under provincial jurisdiction.


            Nova Scotia and Alberta have domestic partnership registries, but they are pretty much moot now.

            Again, who is feeding you this misinformation?

          • Yes, actually it does….divorce….beginning, middle, end….is federal not provincial

            And no, we have no domestic partnerships


          • YES IT DOES


          • I just provided you with the links. Not to but to the Queen’s Printer where they list the actual laws. So, you can read the actual laws of the land, or you can continue in some fantasy land thinking that these laws do not exist.

          • No….you have the wrong laws….and outdated laws

            Divorces do not halt in the middle so you can go through some other court system…..and same sex marriage overrode everything else.


            Jesus, wake up out there.

            PS….Wikipedia [which has the same error rate as Encyclopedia Britannica] has citations at the bottom of the page. Learn how to use the web.

          • Well, I mentioned that the domestic partnership laws became moot once gay marriage was rolled in, but the laws still seem to be on the books.


            As far as property division is concerned, that is good law. There is no halting in the middle of a divorce, The only time that happens is if you apply for relief that can be granted in provincial court and then later ask for relief in superior court: the action has to be transferred or merged.

            Divorce actions are always pursued in superior court. Applications for spousal or child support may be pursued in either provincial or superior court under either provincial law or the Divorce Act. Provincial legislation provides that only a superior court can declare a division of property (I am referring to the BC Family Relations Act).
            Your complete misapprehension of the law is becoming tiresome. It’s not a left-right thing, but the fact that I was a divorce attorney for 4 years and actually worked with these laws to get good results for real people.
            I am still waiting for an answer as to where you get your misinformation from.

          • AHAHAHAHAHA….ah now you’re a divorce attorney.


          • What can I say? I have lived a full life, apparently unlike you. I was an army sergeant, I’ve been half way around the world and back again 4 times, I ran my own company designing, producing and distributing board games and have made the aquaintance of fashion models, teenagers and foreign business executives. I have two words for you:
            premature senility.
            For the love of Marx, somebody check my work and tell everyone that she is a loon!

          • LOL I have also lived a full life…been in the military as well

            So stop with the crap.

        • Either marriage has some social meaning, in which case denying it to homosexuals is discriminatory, as it implies they cannot have the same social relationship as a male-female couple..

          or it doesn’t.. in which case denying it to homosexuals is asinine, as there’s no reason to do so.

          So which are you? Asinine or discriminatory?

          • It has a social meaning but no necessary legal significance.
            Is it discriminatory to say that men and women are equal?

          • So… both then.

    • I believe you might well have experienced something like that in the 60/ 70/80s. But that was 20 years or more ago now. Somehow i doubt most campuses are hot beds of radical trotskyist revaunchism any more, if indeed there ever were that many out there; particularly in as much of a radicalist back water as Canada has almost always been.

      • More likely he had the problem because he was there to learn, and yet insisted on trying to teach instead.

  6. , those who reject the Marxist-based faith governing most law schools in the West are forced to submit to their tenets.”

    More confirmation for me if i needed any [haven’t read a BK column in yonks] the she and some of the other posties should stop drinking out of the same koolaid fountain.If it isn’t her it’s the normally rational other Kay frothing about Marxist soviet style gulag indian reserves.

    Is TWU an actual official religiously demominated institution? That might make a difference? I don’t think you can force say a catholic school to accept an openly gay teacher[ altough i admit i could be wrong about that]
    And i was going to write something like why is Emma so up wound up about this? Remember when women used to clamour to be let into all those exclusive male clubs, only to find out they weren’t worth it in the first place. But it is the principle that’s at stake here, as always. You got me Emma. Great post. The fact that as lose cannon as Ezra would be all over it should be enough really. And i like Rex, despite the fact that he can occasionally sound like someone’s victorian aunt Matilda.

  7. 7TH year Human Rights Student…. I just cant help but laugh every time I read this.
    What a Joke!!!

    • PhDs aren’t like shop certificates…..they take awhile.

      • ….no questions asked…………….

        • Sorry…you had your chance. Ciao.

      • Is Arun Smith really on a doctoral track?

        • I have no idea…..never met him.

          Why? Is that important to you?

          • If you have no idea, why would you imply he is a PhD candidate? No skin off me; you brought it up.

          • It was implied that 7 years is an unusually long time to spend in university….and it’s not.

          • It is if you are pursuing a BA. Maybe he needs to fire his PR person: who would think being described as a 7th year human rights student would add credibility?

          • He said nothing about a BA. That was read into it, by another poster on here.

  8. I hate to complain about this article, since I find much admirable about it. And please don’t assume I’m agreeing with Barbara Kay. But there is much internal contradiction in this piece:

    “Your right to speak freely doesn’t negate someone else’s right to tell you to stop talking…Your argument has no place in an institution of higher learning.”

    I’ve lost track: this was an article about free speech being, you know, *free*. Right?

    “…or in a court of law (my right to marry my girlfriend is no longer a valid debate topic)”

    You’re aware that the Supreme Court has already substantially addressed the issue of Trinity Western’s Covenant (as per the Dwight Newman piece you link to), and that in your parlance, the issue could be considered “no longer a valid debate topic.”

    As Dwight Newman concluded: “[The] very hounding of TWU’s new law school is itself good reason for TWU to have a law school and to thereby expand the diversity of Canadian legal education.”

    • Don’t confuse the right to speak freely with a right to be heard.

      • That’s the conflation I see neocons committing disproportionately. The right to stand on a street corner and argue the world is about to end does not imply passersby are forbidden from telling you to STFU.

        • But telling them to STFU is different from shouting them down.

          • So it’s freedom to speak, as long as you don’t speak louder than anybody else? Somehow, I don’t think so.

            It’s freedom to speak. Meaning you can say whatever the hell you want and not be persecuted for it.

            It is *not* freedom to be heard.

          • Given your other posts here, I will type slowly so you can follow along. Section 176(2) of the Criminal Code makes it illegal to disturb a meeting. Courts have consistently upheld this as constitutional as freedom of speech and assembly would be meaningless without preventing outsiders from showing up and shouting down the speakers. Additionally, it is not the right to be heard but rather the right of the public to hear what someone has to say, not merely the loudest shooters and biggest bullies.

          • LOL.. that you think typing slowly makes a difference says a lot about you.

            Section 176(2) makes it illegal to disturb a meeting convened for religious worship or for a socially benevolent purpose. And the section is titled “Obstructing or violence to or arrest of officiating clergyman” which seems to spell out to anybody with half a brain that it’s specifically about religious events — ie.. preventing assholes like those at the Westboro Church from protesting at a funeral.

            So. You have a right to speak freely, and you have a right to religious worship undisturbed.

            Still not seeing a right to be heard anywhere — because it doesn’t exist.

  9. Hester suggests: ” government should remove itself entirely from marriage”

    That would mean the end of CPP survivor benefits, joint income tax considerations, RRSP beneficiary allocations, and a lot more.

    You should think your ideas through a bit more.

  10. It’s a pity we can’t see a little bit more of what was on the wall. I support free speech as much as the next person and have a personal distaste for censorship of just about any kind. But if there was a lot more vile stuff on that board than simply – straight marriage is the way to go, or god’s law, or something of that nature. Then i can at least understand what that young man did, presuming he did it because he was offended by something vile, and not just because he thought, say, that straight people are weird or something. Context is all [must admit i haven’t read the links yet…possible oops]
    If it was the case that vile stuff was on that board some us might like to reflect that we wouldn’t tolerate that if the comments were about Jewish folks or Aboriginals…you get my drift…

  11. I don’t think that Teitel understands the meaning of the word “insidious”. An official policy barring people who hold certain beliefs, exhibit certain behaviours, hold certain affiliations, or whatever else, is not “insidious”. It’s pretty much the exact opposite. On the other hand, a policy that declares itself to be “open” or “tolerant” or “diverse” or whatever else, while unofficially denigrating, ridiculing, marginalizing, etc., some group or outlook is much closer to the proper definition of “insidious”. Both the first and the second cases might be justified or might not be. One would have to look at it case-by-case. But the first kind of case is a lot less “insidious”.

  12. I note that the text of the Community Covenant was not quoted directly: “sexual intimacy is reserved for marriage between one man and one woman”. The only people this discriminates against are homosexuals who are married and have sex. There is no ban on gay students, there is no discrimination between homosexual and heterosexual fornicators. That is the narrow sliver of discrimination that they practice while practicing their particular religious faith.
    On the other hand, the liberalness of many campuses is all-pervading.
    The only thing she got right is that we are not dealing with equal prejudices. I’m not a Christian so Trinity Western probably isn’t my thing. I might go there for a year as an experiment in “clean living” as they define it, but I don’t think I would last 3 or more years without violating any number of clauses of their covenant. However, with pretty much every other university (some being worse than others) there is a monoculture and – most insidiously – and unwritten code of behaviour that is enforced with a vengeance.
    I attended UBC law school and when you talk about “discrimination” it isn’t the blacks or the women or the Jews or the gays who get the short end of the stick. I was the poster boy, with a target on my noggin: healthy, straight, male, WASP, ex-military and a business graduate. For the left, I represented everything that is wrong with the world.
    That doesn’t matter in the hard sciences, because if I can solve for X, you can’t mark me down. In a legal dissertation, however, a professor can praise or punish you based on their own ideology. Having said that, not all law profs are raving lefties. There were a few adjuncts who were decidedly right wing. One was a former prosecutor who only went over to the dark side after being put on the bench. Plus, there were a few who were inscrutible or apolitical.
    Another manifestation was when I registered for the SafeWalk program (a female student can request an escort to accompany her while moving about the campus at night). I never heard back from them. Maybe it was just incompetence, but why would you not want a former army sergeant by your side as opposed to a 3rd year fine arts major?
    There are more examples, but why go on?

  13. The Wall and Trinity Western are a poor comparison. While certain minorities may be maligned, free speech is even more important than sexual freedoms. Without free speech, a society has no hope of growth, development or progress.

  14. Free speech is a double edged sword. It means good people can speak up and keep the government in check (otherwise every country would become like Iran or China), but it also gives idiots the power to spew hate in public and turn more people into idiots. Yet if the government starts passing laws to ban such talk, that sets precedent to take away the rights of good people as well.

    Free speech has helped the persecuted win back civil rights. But it also allows people like the Khadrs to speak their minds without any fear of retribution (I hate Canada and the West and want to blow everyone up but I love Canadian welfare and health care blah blah blah).

    Sometimes I just hate humanity.