Laura Mae Lindo MPP, Kitchener Centre

Government of Ontario

Ford’s Peterson meeting raises concerns about fate of human rights commission

Published on January 30, 2019

QUEEN’S PARK — Laura Mae Lindo, Ontario NDP Anti-Racism critic, said the recent revelation that Doug Ford quietly met with Jordan Peterson is raising concerns about the fate of the human rights commission, which is particularly worrisome for racialized, Indigenous, Queer and Trans communities.

Peterson, a university professor who rails against so-called political correctness, made it known that he would like to see the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) scrapped. The CBC reports that just days later, Peterson had the ear of Doug Ford in a private meeting. Even more troubling, Lindo notes, is that it was after this meeting the Ford government tabled freedom of speech requirements for all Ontario universities and colleges.

"Who Doug Ford consults with and gets advice from in private meetings before forcing through policy changes is of critical importance. Ontarians want to know who is advising Mr. Ford – especially when our human rights are at stake, but he keeps trying to keep these meetings secret.

“The OHRC plays an important role in protecting Ontarians from discrimination. They stand up and speak out against questionable decisions by the government, like when the OHRC recently stood up for Queer and Trans students whose identities and lived realities were undermined by the rollback of a modernized sex-ed curriculum,” said Lindo. “Where else can Queer students or same-sex parents turn to make sure that their rights are protected? The appeal to scrap the Ontario Human Rights Commission puts some of our most marginalized communities at serious risk of being silenced. And being silenced alongside them will be racialized and Indigenous communities who look to the Ontario Human Rights Commission to make sure that they can live free from discrimination on campuses and in communities across Ontario.”

College and university students were already worried about what so-called campus free speech policies would mean for their racial justice work before this came to light. The revelation about Ford’s meeting with Peterson becomes even more troubling in the context of the government’s plan to review adjudicative tribunals and tribunal clusters that report to the Ministry of the Attorney General.

“What else is Ford going to cut? No Ontarian should have to fear that they will have fewer tools to protect their rights,” said Lindo. “The province should be making protections for marginalized groups stronger, not weaker.”