The real free-speech crisis on Alberta's campuses might not be what you think it is - 2019-08-31
In May of 2019, in the face of an alleged crisis in which the newly elected Alberta United Conservative Party (UCP) claimed that certain ideas and opinions weren't being welcomed on campuses in the province, the government announced it would soon require postsecondary institutions in the province to adopt the Chicago Principles for free speech.
Drafted in 2014 in a different national and legal context, the Chicago Principles statement argues: "It is not the proper role of the university to attempt to shield individuals from ideas and opinions they find unwelcome, disagreeable, or even deeply offensive."
It draws the line at illegal hate speech. But this limit does not go far enough to account for the myriad and crucial ways the university produces, legitimizes and disseminates knowledge. Research institutions have long used peer review – as imperfect a process as it is – to give legitimacy to knowledge that is grounded in facts and established methodologies, such as falsifiable hypotheses and verifiable experiments.