PETERSON was born in 1962, the son of a teacher and a librarian, and brought up in a small town in Alberta, Canada.

He became interested in politics and philosophy in his early teens, thanks in part to his school librarian Sandy Notley, whose husband was leader of the Alberta New Democratic Party (the couple’s daughter, a school friend of Peterson’s, now leads the party and is Premier of Alberta).

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He worked for the party in his teens and later said he was “probably attracted by the essential idea of fairness” it promoted. However, thanks in part to his reading of The Road to Wigan Pier by George Orwell (above), he became disillusioned with the resentment of the rich he perceived among its membership. He left the party around the time he went to college to study English literature and political science.

He progressed to university, and after completing a BA in political science spent a year in Europe. Here he became interested in – and disturbed by – 20th-century European totalitarianism, which prompted him to return to university to study psychology.

Stints studying and researching in Montreal and Boston followed, then in 1998 he returned to Canada to become a professor at the University of Toronto.

A year later Peterson published Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief, which was turned into a 13-part series for Canadian TV. However, it wasn’t until 2016 that he came to global attention, thanks to the release of his three-part lecture video series Professor Against Political Correctness.

In the first part, he expressed his opposition to the Canadian Government’s Bill C-16, which he described as a threat to free speech. He claimed the proposed reforms would leave him open to prosecution under provincial human rights laws if he refused to call a transgender student or colleague by their preferred pronoun.

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The controversy surrounding the videos, along with the publication of his second book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, led to media appearances including his notorious interview with Channel 4’s Cathy Newman (above), in which the pair clashed over a range of issues including the cause of the gender pay gap.