Elon Musk Treads Deeper Into Canada Free Speech Debate

Elon Musk Treads Deeper Into Canada Free Speech Debate
Elon Musk arrives at the Tenth Breakthrough Prize Ceremony at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles, Calif., on April 13, 2024. (Etienne Laurent/AFP via Getty Images)
5/15/2024
Updated:
5/20/2024
0:00

Elon Musk’s pledge to pay the legal costs of people who suffer repercussions for speaking their minds on his X social media platform is drawing him deeper into Canada’s battle over free speech.

His platform is providing financial support for a legal appeal by a Brampton, Ont., pediatrician who was professionally rebuked for criticizing Canada’s COVID-era lockdowns. Mr. Musk is also funding a free-speech lawsuit filed by another Ontario-based doctor who had spoken out against COVID-19 health policies.
Canada now accounts for an outsized portion of Mr. Musk’s legal fight, with half of the four free-speech cases that X is currently funding globally in a push to help “people exercise their right to free speech on X -- and to also work in environments that are free from bullying, harassment, or discrimination.”
Dr. Kulvinder Kaur Gill, the pediatrician who already faced a $300,000 costs order in her battle to clear her reputation, is now also appealing a court decision that upheld orders that orders for public “cautions” against her issued by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario.

“X has already confirmed funding for an appeal,” Lisa Bildy, Dr. Gill’s lawyer, told The Epoch Times in an email on May 13.

The caution orders relate to posts Dr. Gill published on Twitter, now X, during the lockdowns of August 2020. The first read, “There is absolutely no medical or scientific reason for this prolonged, harmful and illogical lockdown.” The second said, “If you have not yet figured out that we don’t need a vaccine, you are not paying attention.”

X is also paying the legal costs of Dr. Matt Strauss, an Ontario critical care physician and former Queen’s University employee who spoke out on Twitter, before the platform was bought by Musk, against Canada’s COVID health policies.

“X is proud” to fund Dr. Strauss’s lawsuit against Queen’s University, the company said in a post on May 3.

The company added that after Dr. Strauss argued against widespread pandemic lockdowns and mandates on his X account, Queen’s University “publicly ostracized him, retaliated against him, and ultimately forced him to resign because his opinions did not conform to the university’s political orthodoxy.”

X supports Dr. Strauss’s efforts to vindicate his free speech rights without fear of unfair retaliation!” the company said.
Mr. Musk, who has classified his takeover of Twitter as a US$44 billion investment in free speech, has repeatedly tangled with the Canadian government over free-speech issues. Most recently, in a May 8 post, he criticized the proposed Online Harms Act as “a terrible attack on the rights of Canadians to speak freely.”
The Online Harms Act, or Bill C-63, includes provisions that could let a judge place certain restrictions on a defendant, including curfews and an electronic bracelet, for up to a year if the court believes the person may commit a future hate crime.
Besides the two cases in Canada, X is currently funding the legal battles of two Americans. One is Chloe Happe, a Missouri woman who was fired by payments processing company Block for posts on X that she said were in the form of satire. The other is actress Gina Carano, who says she was fired from the Disney television show “The Mandalorian” for a series of posts.
X had also earlier hired a lawyer for Juan David Campolargo, a student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, who was disciplined and threatened with dismissal from his on-campus job for posting about free food on X. The disciplinary action was rescinded in January.
Editor’s note: This article was updated on May 20 to clarify that Dr. Gill is challenging orders that cautions be placed on her file. 
Adam Brown is a writer and editor with the Canadian edition of The Epoch Times.