Lisa Bildy is an important person in my life. Were it not for her and the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (please consider donating!), I’m not all that sure I’d still be practicing medicine.
The first time I ran into the guardrails of the increasingly narrow road of allowable free speech was in 2019. You can read some details here. We physicians pay for insurance to an organization called the CMPA (Canadian Medical Protective Association). For the substantial amount that we pay, we are supposed to receive legal representation in case of court cases or college complaints.
After a left wing activist group complained to the College of Physicians and Surgeons about a newspaper editorial I wrote, the CMPA medical advisor I spoke to ended up shouting at me when I suggested I wanted to push back rather than apologize. She frustratedly blurted out “we’re here to help you keep your license, not protect your free speech!”, and went on to suggest that unless I was willing to apologize, they couldn’t do much for me. The lawyer assigned to my case analogized my op-ed to “someone standing on a soap box in the park and denying the holocaust” and suggested that if I “showed contrition” I could probably keep my license. That was a very, very dark time for me.
I realized that I needed help from someone who “got it”.
Through a connection I got in touch with Bruce Pardy, who suggested the JCCF, who assigned Lisa to the case. She immediately made me feel understood, and that I wasn’t crazy for fighting back. And, long story short (or at least not longer) I’m still a doctor. Thanks Lisa.
Lisa has helped many people in many similar situations in the last few years. Now with her own firm, Libertas Law, she has helped important clients like Amy Hamm (one of our speakers this year!) and Richard Bilkszto, the Toronto teacher who sadly committed suicide before his case was complete.
It has been said that freedom of speech is our most basic and fundamental liberty, since even if all other rights are eroded, freedom of speech can help get them back. Once it disappears, we are truly in a dark place. Lisa is working hard to make sure that doesn’t happen here in Canada.
I so much appreciate her work, both personally and on a societal level, and we are so happy that she will be discussing medical colleges and free speech at FSIM 2023, coming up in 2 weeks in Baddeck, Nova Scotia.