Pro-family groups blasted Ontario premier Doug Ford’s government August 21 over a sex ed curriculum they say is a betrayal of parents and no better than the radical program Liberal premier Kathleen Wynne rolled out in 2015. They also denounced the Tory government’s “opt-out” provision, much touted in the press, as “a deceitful farce” and “completely ineffective.”
After Ford’s landslide victory last June, his government supposedly scrapped Wynne’s 2015 sex ed curriculum and reverted to a 2010 version pending promised consultations with parents, although Lisa Thompson, his education minister at the time, said students had to learn gender identity theory.
But most media accounts agree the Grade 1 to 8 sex-ed curriculum that education minister Stephen Lecce released online August 21 closely resembles the Liberal product Ford vowed during his election campaign to repeal. The Ford sex-ed curriculum “largely mirrors the previous Liberal government’s 2015 curriculum,” reported the Globe and Mail. “The new document will return to teaching” lessons on “consent, online bullying, sexting, same-sex relationships and gender identity,” reported the Canadian Press, “but in some cases will do so when students are older.”
This comes as no surprise to Tanya Granic Allen, president of advocacy group Parents As First Educators (PAFE). “Doug Ford lied,” Granic Allen stated in a press release. “Exactly nothing of the Wynne sex-ed has been repealed.” The Ford sex-ed curriculum “will harm children just like the Wynne sex-ed: by excessively sexualizing them at young ages, and by continuing to teach the unscientific gender identity theory with which many parents disagree,” she said.
That’s also the view of Campaign Life Coalition, Canada’s national pro-life, pro-family political lobbying group and largest pro-life association. “This curriculum is exactly the same garbage that Kathleen Wynne imposed on the unwilling parents of Ontario,” CLC national president Jeff Gunnarson said in a press release. “The unscientific theories of gender identity and gender expression are still taught by Grade 7, or earlier if teachers want to,” he said.
“Homosexuality’s snuck into Grade 3 with a wink and a nudge via the teacher prompt on accepting people ‘regardless of who they love,’ without any regard for the religious beliefs of many parents,” added Gunnarson. And “masturbation is still promoted to children in Grade 6,” he said.
That’s a shock, as well as one disappointment of many, for Jack Fonseca, Campaign Life director of political operations. “The easiest thing for [the Ford government] to do would be to remove the despised masturbation lesson in Grade 6,” he told LifeSiteNews. Given the known connection between masturbation and pornography use, to promote the former is to endorse the latter, which is “tremendously harmful to children,” Fonseca said. “This is child abuse, in my view.”
As for the “opt-out provision,” both PAFE and Campaign Life excoriated it as worse than useless.
According to the Globe, the opt-out provision “gives families three weeks’ notice of when sex-ed lessons will be taught, and up to five school days before the class to provide school boards with an exemption notice for their children.” The Canadian Press reported that the Ford government is mandating that school boards have an exemption policy by the end of November.
But while the opt-out provision got “the most media attention,” it is “completely ineffective,” says Granic Allen. The “notification” and “opt-out” provision “can only apply to the formal and scheduled teaching of a topic and affords no protection for children at other grades,” she pointed out. She referred to government testimony, ultimately dismissed, during last winter’s Charter challenge to Ford’s repeal of the 2015 sex ed program launched by the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.
Government lawyers assured the court at that time that “there are absolutely no restrictions on what aspect of ‘sex-ed’ can be discussed or taught by any teacher, at any grade level,” aside from specifying when students are to be “examined on a particular question,” Granic Allen said.
The Ford government “will do nothing to stop a teacher if she or he decides to teach the ideological ‘gender identity theory’ to six year olds,” she said. “And there is absolutely no ‘opt out’ or ‘notice’ if this happens.”
The opt-out clause is “a total farce” and “a sleight-of-hand magic trick to make it look like parents are getting something from Doug Ford when they are not,” agreed Fonseca. In fact, Ford’s government is following the “exact same” opt-out policy Wynne’s followed, which leaves it up to individual school boards to write their own exemption policy, he told LifeSiteNews.
The Ford opt-out provision “does not say anywhere that school boards are required to allow students to opt-out of all the controversial elements of the sex-ed curriculum,” noted Fonseca. “It merely says that teachers must follow the exemption policy of their school board.”
Some boards, such as the Toronto District School Board and the Peel District School Board, refuse to let students “miss classes about sexual orientation, gender identity or similar issues because those areas are protected under the human-rights code,” reported theGlobe.
“I think we need to express out loud and clear outrage at Doug Ford for this betrayal,” he told LifeSiteNews. “And over the coming months, we need to develop new strategies for families to shield their children from this garbage, and to defend their own rights as parents, their constitutional rights to religious freedom and parental rights.”
A version of this article originally appeared August 21 at LifeSiteNewsand is used with permission.