As breeding grounds for those who will lead us into the future, colleges and universities are places where views should be challenged, and where students, as well as faculty, should be forced to come into contact with people and ideas that they disagree with.
Nowadays, though, even the most prestigious institutions have been reduced to "safe spaces," wherein the toleration of dissenting opinions and controversial views have been replaced by an atmosphere of staunch political correctness, and an inability to even deal with opposing viewpoints.
Conservative MP and prime-ministerial hopeful Pierre Poilievre has promised that if elected, he would work to change that by requiring universities who receive federal grants to uphold freedom of speech and academic freedom.
He outlined his plans in a statement released on Monday.
"The Trudeau Liberals have done nothing to protect the rights of students and faculty to speak freely," he said. "Their obsession with woke culture has allowed campus to change from a place where people learn through discussion and debate, to a place where popular professors, like Dr. Jordan Peterson, must resign and student groups must cancel events or even lose resources, just because of their different viewpoint."
Poilievre explained that, as Prime Minister, he will require colleges and universities that receive direct federal grants to uphold Section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The section states that all Canadians have are entitled to "freedom of conscience and religion; freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication; freedom of peaceful assembly; and freedom of association."
All speech would be protected, he stated, except for that which crosses the boundary into "hate speech," as defined by Section 2(b) of the Charter.
Poilievre added that it would not be enough to simply abide by Section 2, but that institutions must defend the freedoms when they are attacked on campus.
In order to ensure that institutions keep their word, Poilievre said that he would appoint a "Free Speech Guardian," whose job would entail reporting to the federal government on the state of free speech and academic freedom on campuses.
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