CARPAY: The courage to resist cancellation

John Carpay – The Western Standard

The Durham District School Board wants to cancel Linda Stone, one of its trustees, simply for having asked tough questions about the board’s woke policies.

On Feb. 6, 2023, the board censured Trustee Stone, barred her from attending the next board meeting and denied her attendance at all board committee meetings for the rest of the year.

By now, many Canadians know about the ‘censorship playbook, by which woke activists silence anyone who questions their beliefs about identity politics, transgender ideology, or the unholy trinity of diversity-equity-inclusion.

Here’s how the censorship playbook works.

First, someone publicly disagrees with —or merely questions — an article of faith adhered to by woke activists.

Second, the speaker is publicly and aggressively accused of having committed one or more of the following unforgivable sins: racism, homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, hatred, bigotry, or intolerance. Those who dare to disagree with the political orthodoxy are found guilty without evidence or trial of inflicting harm on “vulnerable” groups, merely by having asked a question, or by having expressed a different opinion.

Third, the speaker is punished by being removed from any position of authority, influence or impact that he or she might hold, whether paid or unpaid. It’s at this third stage where the speaker who questions woke dogma often makes the fatal error of apologizing. But any apology merely hastens the punishment. Many people who have been falsely accused of racism, sexism and homophobia also make the mistake of resigning from their position, hoping that will end the matter. But woke activists do not forgive or forget.

As Linda Stone explains: “Attacks on free speech are a universal tactic of intolerant groups who wish to have only their beliefs heard. Fall in line with the orthodox way of thinking or you will be cancelled, chastised, doxxed, fired… Many good and decent people are being forced out of positions of prominence because of the cancel culture mob. These mobs do not deal in dialogue or critical thinking, only revenge and ruthless attacks.”

But what exactly are Linda Stone’s “sins”? Why are they trying to cancel her?

Trustee Stone raised concerns about the board’s transgender policy, asking: “How many different pronouns must a teacher memorize? If 23 students all have different pronouns and the teacher gets one wrong, would that be grounds for a complaint?”

Trustee Stone also suggested students requesting a change of gender might be best advised to seek counselling to find out whether something else may be interfering with what the child is actually going through: “They need more guidance before making life altering decisions… Why is caring about these kids so controversial? Caring about children, the effects of puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, surgeries, listening to detransitioners’ heart-breaking stories …”

Linda Stone  also challenged her trustee colleagues to define their beloved term ‘cisnormativity’ by asking: “Are you talking about [forbidding people to say] things like … men cannot get pregnant or give birth, or that men can’t breast-feed or … should we use the term chest feed, is that what you mean when you use the term cisnormativity?”

Trustee Stone is also “guilty” of posting a link to testimony from Chloe Cole, a California teenager who became a campaigner against trans surgery for minors after she underwent a double mastectomy while still in high school.

Another of Linda Stone’s sins was to affirm the rights of children to be loved, supported and protected by their own parents, which necessarily requires that no secrets be kept from parents. Under the board’s current guidelines, a student can change their gender simply by declaring so to school staff. Staff must then immediately “affirm” the student’s new identity, including recognition of the student’s preferred pronouns. Trustee Stone expressed her disagreement with school policies that require teachers and principals to keep parents in the dark about what is happening to their own children at school.

For these “sins” the board — her own colleagues! — have seen fit to cancel her. The other trustees made it very clear Linda Stone’s opinions and questions are not welcome, even if her expression is protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Nor does it matter that Linda Stone has a duty as an elected representative to bring her constituents’ concerns to the board for debate and consideration.

But Trustee Stone is fighting back, and makes the case for freedom of expression with eloquence: “Do we … teach our students only the orthodox ideas of the day are acceptable? Is diversity of thought encouraged? When anyone speaks against the orthodox thinking, has a differing opinion or merely would like terms explained or defined, they will, as I was, be told that their questions and comments are offensive and harmful, and that it showed a lack of understanding of human rights. … Our students and staff might want to look at engaging in dialogue and conversation with people who don’t always agree with them, as opposed to saying they are offended or hurt. Try seeing things from other people’s point of view. Are we teaching our students to be intolerant of other views? … The attack on free speech is a universal tactic of intolerant groups, who wish to have only their beliefs heard. Fall in line with the orthodox way of thinking or you will be cancelled, chastised, doxxed, fired, and most certainly have epithets and ad hominem attacks thrown at you. This is no way to create a cohesive and understanding society.”

Linda Stone continues to display great courage in the face of injustice and adversity. Canadians who cherish the free society should hope she does not apologize or back down from speaking truth to power.

Linda Stone must not be cancelled.

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