THE ADVOCATE V O L . 7 6 P A R T 1 J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 8 11
from the outset that Ms. Shepherd is really a messenger of Dr. Peterson. The
whole meeting is premised on the idea that Ms. Shepherd was promoting
views that Dr. Rambukkana finds offensive and does not agree with, an idea
which the facts do not bear out.
Rambukkana: … Dr. Peterson lectures about critiquing feminism, critiquing
Shepherd: I’m familiar. I follow him. But can you shield people from
those ideas? Am I supposed to comfort them and make sure that they are
insulated away from this? Like, is that what the point of this is? Because
to me, that is so against what a university is about. So against it. I was not
taking sides. I was presenting both arguments.
Rambukkana: So the thing about this is, if you’re presenting something
like this, you have to think about the kind of teaching climate that you’re
creating. And this is actually, these arguments are counter to the Canadian
Human Rights Code. Even since … C-16, ever since this passed, it is
discriminatory to be targeting someone due to their gender identity or
Now, it should be terrifying to everyone to think that in a university setting
presenting a position held by someone widely reported in the media as
part of a discussion on issues the opinion addresses is “counter to the Canadian
Human Rights Code.” It is not. First of all, the legislation Dr. Rambukkana
was trying to refer to is called the Canadian Human Rights Act.
There is no Canadian Human Rights Code. Beyond this, and more importantly,
it does not matter whether you agree with the view being presented.
What matters is that the view exists and it is available for academic discussion.
Further, neither the Canadian Human Rights Act nor Bill C-16—federal
legislation which amended the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal
Code to “protect individuals from discrimination within the sphere of
federal jurisdiction and from being the targets of hate propaganda as a consequence
of their gender identity or their gender expression”—even applies
to a provincially regulated university. Dr. Rambukkana is way off base here.
Ms. Shepherd was quite right to assert that a university is not the place to
shield students from ideas they might find controversial or challenging.
Ms. Shepherd went on to explain herself:
Shepherd: Like I said, it was in the spirit of debate.
Rambukkana: Okay, “in the spirit of the debate” is slightly different than
“this is a problematic idea that we might want to unpack.”
Shepherd: But that’s taking sides.
Shepherd: It’s taking sides for me to be, like: “Oh, look at this guy, like
everything that comes out of his mouth is B.S. but we’re going to watch