Hor­wath crit­i­cizes sex-ed re­peal

Standard-Freeholder (Cornwall) - - ONTARIO NEWS - SHAWN JEFFORDS

TORONTO — The leader of On­tario’s Op­po­si­tion said Fri­day that Doug Ford’s de­ci­sion to re­peal On­tario’s mod­ern­ized sex-ed cur­ricu­lum and re­place it with a 20-yearold ver­sion was a move to please so­cial con­ser­va­tives and one that would hurt the prov­ince’s chil­dren.

An­drea Hor­wath called on Ford to keep the 2015 it­er­a­tion of the cur­ricu­lum brought in by the pre­vi­ous Lib­eral govern­ment, say­ing the 1998 ver­sion with which it was be­ing tem­po­rar­ily re­placed was woe­fully out of date.

“Doug Ford cares more about the favours that he owes to so­cial con­ser­va­tives than he does about keep­ing our young peo­ple safe,” said the NDP leader, ar­gu­ing that Ford was aim­ing to please those who helped him win the party lead­er­ship ear­lier this year.

“He made back room deals with far-right lob­by­ists to force this out­dated sex-ed­u­ca­tion cur­ricu­lum on stu­dents.”

Ford’s of­fice did not im­me­di­ately re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment.

Ear­lier this week, Ford’s new Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tive govern­ment said teach­ers will use the 1998 ver­sion of the sex-ed cur­ricu­lum this fall as con­sul­ta­tions are car­ried out for a new doc­u­ment. The de­vel­op­ment made good on Ford’s re­peated prom­ise to do away with the up­dated cur­ricu­lum, on which he said par­ents had not been ad­e­quately con­sulted.

The 2015 sex-ed cur­ricu­lum in­cludes warn­ings about on­line bul­ly­ing and sex­ting that were not in the pre­vi­ous ver­sion, and also dis­cussed same-sex mar­riage, gen­der iden­tity and mas­tur­ba­tion.

Hor­wath said the 1998 ver­sion of the cur­ricu­lum doesn’t re­flect the re­al­ity of mod­ern so­ci­ety.

The Tories’ plans on sex-ed were high­lighted in Thurs­day’s throne speech, which said the govern­ment would re­place the Lib­eral cur­ricu­lum with a “new age-ap­pro­pri­ate one that is based on real con­sul­ta­tion with par­ents.”

Charles McVety, a vo­cal so­cial con­ser­va­tive min­is­ter who sup­ports Ford and had crit­i­cized the mod­ern­ized sex-ed cur­ricu­lum, lauded the premier for liv­ing up to his word to re­place the les­son plan.

“He’s re­ally brought com­mon sense to this,” McVety said. “Go to the par­ents. Study this. Come up with a con­sen­sus. We’ll end up with some­thing that re­ally helps chil­dren.”

For­mer NDP leg­is­la­tor and United Church min­is­ter Cheri DiNovo, how­ever, said Ford has aligned him­self with a “fringe” group on the re­li­gious right.

“They do not speak for the peo­ple of faith across this coun­try. They do not speak for Chris­tians or Muslims or Sikhs or Jews or any­one else,” said DiNovo, who plans to present Ford on Mon­day with a pe­ti­tion signed by 200 United Church min­is­ters stand­ing against the re­place­ment of the sex-ed­u­ca­tion cur­ricu­lum.

Di Novo also said Ford’s claim there wasn’t enough con­sul­ta­tion to build the 2015 cur­ricu­lum isn’t true.

“Some num­bers — 4,000 par­ents, 2,400 ed­u­ca­tors, 700 stu­dents, 170 or­ga­ni­za­tions in­clud­ing CAMH over ten years went into writ­ing this cur­ricu­lum, so any­one say­ing there wasn’t enough con­sul­ta­tion is telling you non­sense,” she said. “That is a lot of con­sul­ta­tion.”

He made back room deals with far-right lob­by­ists to force this out­dated sexe­d­u­ca­tion cur­ricu­lum on stu­dents.”

On­tario NDP Leader An­drea Hor­wath

CHRISTO­PHER KAT­SAROV/THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

On­tario NDP Leader An­drea Hor­wath speaks to press along­side ad­vo­cates against the re­peal of On­tario’s up­dated health and phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion cur­ricu­lum at a news con­fer­ence held in Toronto on Fri­day.

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