Journalist for Life

Our schools are being drowned in gratuitous and agenda-driven social programs. As I write this column, the Roman Catholic schools in particular are facing a concerted attempt to promote the homosexual lifestyle, all in the guise of anti-bullying. But this is nothing new. More than 10 years ago I faced on my television show an example of political nastiness that I have not seen in more than two decades of journalism. The Michael Coren Show is nightly, and the research team book up to 20 guests a week, watched by hundreds of thousands of people. Sometimes there are cancellations, usually because of emergencies or illness. But only once has someone called to explain that they had been told not to come, that they had been silenced.


I refer to Michelle Sokovnin, then a member of the Toronto District School Board’s Equity Advisory Committee. She had contacted us to complain about how she had been treated after making some comments about the committee’s draft policy on “Anti-Homophobia.” She told us that when she raised even minor objections to this document at a committee meeting she was shouted at and labeled a homophobe.

The show was arranged, but suddenly Michelle telephoned to cancel. “It was as though the wind had been knocked out of her and something terrible had happened” said a researcher. Michelle explained that she had “thought about it over the weekend and people have spoken to me. I don’t think it would be in my best interests to appear at this time, and I’m worried that my husband might be at risk.”

When we contacted the Equity Advisory Committee we were only told “Michelle is only a parent, she doesn’t represent anyone and she is singularly destructive.”

The Equity Advisory Committee had around 30 members, consisting not of a cross-section of society but of invited representatives of specific “equity-seeking” organizations. Only one representative of a faith group was present and only one representative of a black organization. But, oddly enough, at the last meeting before our show there were six different representatives of the homosexual community, all of them teachers, none of them parents.

They and their allies were particularly anxious for this policy document to be pushed through, even though reports on race, faith and disability have been waiting for consideration for an extremely long time. So eager were some members of the committee for the anti-homophobia paper to be approved that they suggested that community consultation would not be necessary.

A glance at the paper explained the rush. Consider the following: “Identifying and eliminating homophobic and heterosexist bias in Board policies, guidelines, day-to-day operations, protocols and practices.”

It stated, “ensuring that educational practices in all grades are inclusive and reflect the contributions of the diverse lesbian and gay communities, and other communities of people who identify themselves on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, and that all forms of stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination against these communities are challenged and removed.”

Furthermore, “ensuring that principles of anti-homophobia and sexual orientation equity permeate the curriculum in all subject areas and all grade levels” and the “removal” of all materials, and perhaps people, who exhibit traces of the terrible sin of “heterosexism”

According to critics, the policy would mean that as early as junior kindergarten all children had to be taught that it was entirely natural for Jimmy or Sally to have two mums or two dads. “It means,” explained Sokovnin before the gag order, “that even if tiny children are hearing a story, if mum and dad are mentioned, mum and mum and dad and dad have to be mentioned as well.”

What is so disturbing about this story is that opponents of the policy seemed intimidated and frightened of speaking out. One person who requested anonymity compared the equity committee to “a secret society.” She explained that at one meeting a member stated that “We should think less about freedom of religion and more about freedom from religion in schools. Most of the students have no religion at all.”

Actually this is completely untrue, but it does reveal a dark and worrying agenda, and a lack of democracy, lack of accountability, and lack of balance. Teachers and board members were frightened of speaking their minds because of what might happen. Indeed, one teacher actually left his school because of harassment. His crime? He thought that it was wrong for children to be taken to a play with a one-sided political position without their parents being first informed.

Has anything changed so many years later? Yes it has. It’s worse now than it was then.

Michael Coren’s new book is Why Catholics Are Right, published by McClelland & Stewart.