TORONTO, Ontario, November 20, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Ontario Premier Doug Ford says “gender identity” material will not be removed from the province’s sex-ed curriculum, even though his own party has just voted to do exactly that.
During their convention in Toronto last weekend, the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario's delegates adopted a resolution describing gender identity theory as a “highly-controversial, unscientific, ‘liberal ideology.’”
The resolution called for the Ontario PC Government to “remove the teaching and promotion of ‘gender identity theory’ from Ontario schools and its curriculum.”
But, in a press conference with reporters, the Ontario premier later dismissed his own party's resolution.
“It's non-binding. It came from the floor. I'm not moving forward with that. So, that's done,” said Ford.
Education Minister Lisa Thompson also distanced the convention’s voted-in policy from the PC party, saying that it was “obvious” they would not become government policy.
The resolution to remove gender identity theory from the Ontario sex-ed curriculum came from Parents As First Educators president Tanya Granic Allen, a former leadership candidate for the Progressive Conservative party.
It's a resolution whose adoption by the party faithful was initially seen as a major coup for social conservatives.
“Ordinary Canadians do not believe in gender identity theory,” said Campaign Life Coalition president Jeff Gunnarson after the vote. “Yet, the biased mainstream media pretends – through continuous propaganda – that society now accepts and celebrates transgender ideology.
“Well, the fact that the Progressive Conservative party as a whole just voted to reject gender identity theory has shattered the media's fraudulently-constructed narrative,” he said. “Front page headlines about this vote have made it clear that society has not accepted this controversial and scientifically-fraudulent philosophical theory.”
During that last provincial election campaign, Ford himself described the sex-ed curriculum and its teaching on gender identity as liberal ideology.
Social conservatives were astounded Monday when the premier flip-flopped.
“I was stunned by (the premier's) anti-democratic announcement that he will do all he can to nullify the will of voting delegates,” said Jack Fonseca, a senior political strategist with Campaign Life. “It seems really uncharacteristic of our populist premier too, and not very for-the-people-ish.”
Ford's about-face on the teaching of gender identity theory to Ontario children suggests the entire public consultation process on education now being undertaken by the province is a sham, said Fonseca.
“(The premier) must reconsider the gravity of what he’s doing here, which sounds like engaging in the same undemocratic practices that the grassroots hated about (former Progressive Conservative Party leader) Patrick Brown,” he said. “(The premier) must respect the vote results of the party membership.”
The political strategist suggested Ford could run afoul of his own party by refusing to accept that the resolution be discussed at the Conservatives' convention next year.
“The party constitution does not grant the executive any mechanism to disregard the policy votes of delegates,” said Fonseca. “Barring a deliberate violation of the Progressive Conservative constitution – which would invite a lawsuit – the party has no choice but to allow a fair, up or down vote on this resolution at next year's policy conference.”
Parents fighting against the permissive sex-ed curriculum in Ontario were encouraged by resolutions adopted during the Conservative convention last weekend.
Under three policies adopted by the party, it pledged to support legislation to let parents know when sex-ed lessons will be taught and offer parents an opportunity to opt out of those lessons. The Conservatives also promised to respect the inherent authority of parents as the primary educators of children and to develop a Parents' Bill of Rights.
“These policies will help us to hold Premier (Doug) Ford's feet to the fire, so that he keeps his promise to repeal (former premier) Kathleen Wynne's radical sex ed,” said Gunnarson in a statement.
He called the result of that Conservative party convention “a blessing from heaven, sent at a desperate time in this down-spiraling culture.”
The Conservative party policies are not binding on the Ontario government itself but Fonseca and other social conservatives are hoping they will influence the Conservative government as it develops its new sex-ed curriculum.
“The public consultation on the sex-ed curriculum ends on December 15 and I imagine it will take a few months for the government to review that input and write a new policy,” said Fonseca.
“We hope and pray that the polices that have been passed will be enough to bring about an authentic repeal of Kathleen Wynne's sex-ed curriculum,” he said ahead of Ford's flip-flop on gender identity education.
Campaign Life Coalition is calling on all socially-conservative parents in Ontario to re-double their efforts during the public consultation on the province's sex-ed curriculum and make their views known to the government.
On its website, the provincial government lists several ways parents and students can make their voices heard on the future of education in Ontario. They can fill out the online submission form or send in their own submission by e-mail to [email protected]. Parents who send in their own submission must take care to include their names and the names of any organizations they represent, attach their submissions as PDF or Word documents, and include “provincial consultations” in the subject line of their e-mails.
Parents can also simply complete the government's online survey.
“Parents need to re-engage in the public consultation process,” said Fonseca. “A lot of parents like Doug Ford and they trust him to do the right thing. But that's not necessarily the case.”
The senior political strategist with Campaign Life Coalition (CLC) is expecting liberals to take full advantage of the public consultation process in a last-ditch attempt to persuade the Ford government to keep the permissive sex-ed curriculum brought in by the Wynne government.
“The left will throw out the usual lies that it's hateful and homophobic (to want to repeal the permissive sex-ed curriculum) and that it endangers the lives of LGBTQ people,” said Fonseca. “None of that is true.”
CLC has thousands of supporters who are active PC Party members. The organization succeeded in persuading many of them to register for the convention.
“It took a herculean effort on the part of CLC staff to coordinate that mobilization, getting them to delegate selection meetings, and subsequent hoops to get them registered and attend the convention,” wrote Gunnarson. “But man, oh man, was it ever worth it! The large numbers of CLC supporters at the convention produced powerful voting results.”
The organization worked to get previously-scuttled policies on defunding sex-selective abortions, repealing the abortion bubble zone law, and repealing gender identity laws resubmitted. But these policy submissions never made it to the voting stage.
“The clock ran out in the voting session before these could be voted on,” said Gunnarson.
Conservative delegates voted explicitly to: repeal the Wynne government's sex-ed curriculum; protect the conscience rights of doctors, nurses and healthcare institutions who do not want to refer patients for abortions or euthanasia; repeal the legislation that gave adoption agencies the power to ban couples who do not believe in gender identity from being able to adopt children, and; repeal the law that deleted the words “mother” and “father” from government forms and statutes.
“These were powerful symbolic victories that will help move the party in a more pro-family direction,” said Gunnarson. “These votes were also important because it made apparent to the party establishment the undeniable fact that pro-life and pro-family conservatives are a huge segment of the party's base.”
Campaign Life estimates that between 40 and 70 per cent of the Ontario Conservative party's support base consists of social conservatives.