The controversy over the Bill C-16

Anesha Wheaton, Courier Staff

Bill C-16 is a bill that was introduced in Canadian Parliament in May of 2016 and was passed in June of 2017. When introduced into Parliament, it had many supporters but also many outspoken critics, such as Jordan B. Peterson.

The law protects gender identity and gender expression under the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Canadian Criminal Code dealing with hate propaganda. Looking at the bill broadly, it is a comendable act of protecting individuals from discrimination in the work place and at the federal level in Canada. But what is it sacrificing in the long term?

Peterson was one of the first critics who saw that the bill that was supposed to be more inclusive and accepting towards certain individuals, would lead to tyranny later on if it was not stopped. He made several YouTube videos that argued that the bill had certain provisions that would compel people to speak in a certain way, such as using a person’s preferred pronouns. If a person did not address a person properly using their proper pronouns, it would be considered hate speech, which he found greatly disturbing. It was punishable by law if people didn’t use a person’s correct pronouns.

At this moment in time, addressing people by their preferred pronouns does not seem like a large concern. But he thought of the future, and what it could bring to individuals that did not want to follow the new law in place. He argued that there is a difference between the government saying that you can’t say certain words versus the government saying you have to say certain words, and the latter is controlling speech. If the government can dictate what you have to say, what else would the government later dictate?

He addressed the Canadian Parliament with his concerns, but they were dismissed. C-16 was passed into law in 2017 and Dr. Peterson continued making videos about how the law was wrong and was a symptom of a wider social and political problem that wanted to control how people spoke. If you can control how people think, they can make people do almost anything.

Justin Trudeau’s government introduced the bill in order to seem more progressive. But there is a line that can be crossed that will infringe upon people’s rights in the name of social justice. Social justice can only go so far without dissolving into tyranny. Not all people are going to think alike or do what is supposedly more forgiving for people who are minorities or the less fortunate, and that is okay. There cannot be equality in all things and to try to push towards a more equal based society, as the law is promoting, will only end up hurting people in the long run.

Freedom of speech is vital, and those who trample on your right to freedom of speech in the name of social justice or political correctness will only end taking away what is dearest to you.