Ford vows to review Ontario sex-ed curriculum if elected leader of PC party
Kayla Goodfield, CTV News Toronto
Published Monday, February 12, 2018 5:24PM EST
Last Updated Monday, February 12, 2018 6:35PM EST
Doug Ford vowed to take aim at revamping Ontario’s curriculum, including sex-education, as he continues his bid for leadership of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party.
Speaking to reporters Monday afternoon at Don Bosco Catholic Secondary School in Etobicoke, Ford said both the Liberals and PCs are to blame for the current state of education in the province.
“Educating our children is the most important job in the world,” he said. “The next generation will inform how our country develops and contributes to issues facing society. Ontario needs to be a leader in the quality of education we give our children. This means that we need to arm our teachers with comprehensive and practical curriculum documents.”
“The way the sex-ed curriculum was rolled out was totally unacceptable. Consultations with parents were insufficient. Unlike the Liberals, I know that parents -- not the government -- are our first educators when it comes to our children.”
The curriculum, which was introduced at the end of the 2014-2015 school year, was implemented in classrooms in September 2015. It suggests that students begin learning the concept of gender identity in Grade 3 in an effort to accept differences. Students would begin learning about puberty in Grade 4, one year earlier than they used to. In Grade 6, masturbation is brought in as a topic that teachers were urged to describe as a common practice. Students are then also taught about consent, practicing abstinence and anal sex in Grade 7 and 8.
Before the updated curriculum was announced, it had not been updated since 1998.
Ford said the sex-education curriculum should be about facts, not teaching “Liberal ideology.”
“If I’m elected leader, I will take this issue to the party, to parents and to the voters. I will remain firm on this issue,” Ford said.
“I will always stand for parents having the first say in what their children learn.”
The PC party is also to blame for “turning a blind eye” on this matter, Ford said.
“The Liberals have refused their insight, feedback and expertise by not consulting with families on changes to Ontario’s sex-ed curriculum,” he said. “But the Liberals have not been the only ones who have turned a blind eye to the concerns of parents.”
“Our own PC party, under Patrick Brown, refused to even consult its own members on what we thought of this curriculum and stonewalled debate of the issue by forbidding discussion of this policy from reaching the membership during our policy development process.”
Back in 2016, Brown said he had “no intention of scrapping” the controversial sex-education curriculum.
Ford added he will look at the entire Ontario curriculum, not just focus on sex-education.
“I will review the curriculum of all core subject matters thoroughly and ensure changes are put in place,” he said. “That will boost the success levels of our kids.”
“Ontario’s education system is setting up our children for failure when we should be a force to be reckoned with. I want to see children from hard -orking Ontario families ranking in the top percentiles of international educational rankings.”
The introduction of the new sex-ed curriculum brought upon a number of protests by parent groups around the province in 2015. At the time, parents complained they were not adequately consulted about the implementation of the curriculum and pulled their children out of classes in protest.
Prior to the implementation, a parent from each publicly-funded school in Ontario was given a survey asking questions about education priorities. The survey did not speak specifically to sexual education curriculum.
Parents are able to withdraw their children from lessons they are not comfortable with by following the regular process in place at their school, the government said at the time of the implementation.
Former MPP Christine Elliott, who is also running for the leadership of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party, said parents were “shut out” during the curriculum consultation at the time.
Caroline Mulroney, another candidate in the race, has said she will revisit the sex-education curriculum and Tanya Granic Allen, who has declared her intention to run, said she is against the sex-ed curriculum as it stands.