January 10, 2019
The Return of the Wynne Sex-ed? Actually, it never left.
Today, at the Superior Court of Justice at Osgoode Hall in Toronto, Ontario Education Minister Lisa Thompson’s legal team confirmed what Parents As First Educators (PAFE) has been saying for months: that there has, effectively, not been any "repeal" of the Kathleen Wynne sex ed curriculum.
"While the government's lawyer, Mr. S. Zachary Green, insists that the 2015 curriculum has, temporarily, been 'replaced' by Minister Thompson's 2018 curriculum, Mr. Green repeatedly made the point that Ontario teachers are free to teach the content - any of the content - from Wynne's curriculum," noted PAFE president Tanya Granic Allen.
“PAFE had a number of observers attend today’s court session,” said Granic Allen. According to those PAFE observers, Green said something along these lines: “Ignore all of the press releases… pay no attention to ‘three words in a throne speech’ Instead, focus only what the curriculum actually says.” Presumably, these “three words in a throne speech” are “repeal and replace” in reference to the Wynne sex ed. Green then ably demonstrated that virtually the entirety of the Wynne sex ed remained in Thompson’s curriculum in one form or another.
“Doug Ford promised to ‘repeal and replace’ the Wynne sex ed, and the July throne speech repeated that promise” said Granic Allen. “But now the government’s own lawyers, before a panel of three judges, are saying that the ‘repeal and replace’ promise has virtually no meaning and no value whatsoever.”
Granic Allen stated further: “Unfortunately, this confirms our worst fears about how Minister Lisa Thompson has failed to execute Doug Ford’s policy on the sex ed issue.”
Minister Thompson’s lawyer also explained the very items the government’s critics fear are missing from the 2018 curriculum – including the teaching of “gender identity theory” – are, in fact still present in the 2018 Thompson curriculum, and can still be taught. Based on this lawyer's remarks, and from repeated communication from parents, these items indeed, are still being taught.
“If the ‘repeal’ part of Ford’s promise has not even been fulfilled, then what are the odds that the ‘replace’ commitment will be honoured?” asked Granic Allen. “And what are they replacing? And with what?”
When asked by one of the judges if the government’s critics (the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, etc.) are needlessly worried about the new curriculum – specifically, the judge asked if this whole court case was just a “tempest in a teapot” - Thompson’s lawyer responded that it was more of a case of the critics simply “not taking YES for an answer.”
“Whatever the judges decide in today’s case,” observed Granic Allen, “this week’s legal proceedings have shed more light on what is shaping up to be the betrayal by Minister Thompson, of one of Doug Ford’s key campaign commitments.”
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Tanya Granic Allen
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