I was lucky enough to spend the weekend in Toronto staying with a friend from high school who has resided in Ontario for seven years now. While in Toronto it was suggested that I attend the Generation Screwed Conference where a colleague was speaking.
Generation Screwed is a university campus advocacy group which unites college students who are concerned about Canada’s reckless government spending and how this will impact their future.
The conference provided an opportunity to meet James (a Mannkal intern based in Ottawa) who is interning at the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, the group who support Generation Screwed.
I also managed to fit in a trip to Niagra Falls and Lake Ontario, one of The Great Lakes, which could easily be mistaken for an ocean!
For those who are unaware of who Jordan Petersen is, he is a distinguished professor of psychology at Toronto University and has previously lectured at Harvard University. He came to prominence due to his opposition to political correctness.
This has caused Petersen to become a target of left-wing students and activists. His criticism of Bill C-16 has caused considerable controversy. C-16 seeks to add gender identity or expression as a prohibited ground of discrimination to the Canadian Human Rights Charter and to make some amendments to the Criminal Code.
Professor Peterson argues that these proposed legislative changes with effectively make it a criminal offence to misgender someone who identifies as trans. There are compelling arguments which claim that this will not be the case; however, I believe any legislation which could threaten freedom of speech should be considered very carefully.
One of Jordan Peterson’s remarks stood out for me: “when people say that there’s been no real Marxist or Communist country what they mean is that if they were in power, everything would be good.” For me, this very accurately summarised the logic of the modern far-left.
I arrived just before 9 am for the conference and was surprised by the strong police presence. As the end of the day approached some protesters who had been standing outside the United State Consulate to demonstrate their displeasure with Donald Trump had arrived outside our lecture theatre to protest the conference.
I’m unsure how a group which advocates prudent government spending on behalf of our generation can be labelled as fascist, but we were. The police assembled managed to hold the protesters back for some time; unfortunately, they were outnumbered. The auditorium was locked, and the conference continued until a left-wing activists pulled the fire alarm. Police reinforcements were called in and formed a wall so that the attendees could safely leave.
A disappointing end to an otherwise fantastic day. I couldn’t help but be struck by the irony that a group of people chanting ‘down with fascism’ were the very same individuals who prevented the final conference session of the day and restricted our access to free speech.
In the office, I continued work on a project based on the upcoming municipal election and on another that focuses on reviewing the methodology used for research. The highlight of the week was presenting a research project I’d been working to Preston, the founder of the Manning Centre.
The project focused the changes to the Alberta electoral financing laws and the roll that PACs would play in the next provincial election and how similar laws had affected elections in other provinces.