The Progressive Conservatives’ education critic has defended his decision to support Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s controversial plan to update the province’s sex-ed curriculum, saying his mind was made up, not after consulting with parents, but after hearing from unions and various education-related groups that told him the changes were “necessary.”
“I’ve [been] talking to a number of the unions, I’ve talked to the Ontario principals’ council, I’ve talked to trustees’ associations right across the province, and they’re telling me, ‘Garfield, we’re ready to go with it [the sex-ed changes],’” MPP Garfield Dunlop, Simcoe North, told LifeSiteNews in a telephone interview.
Dunlop said that the above mentioned groups told him that the updated curriculum will teach kids “health and safety around birth control, around protected sex,” something they told him is “necessary in our society.”
Jack Fonseca of Campaign Life Coalition criticized Dunlop for not consulting parents and for “betraying his duty as the Official Opposition.”
“It’s revealing that the only stakeholder Dunlop didn’t bother consulting with is the only one that matters – parents. It’s reprehensible that an elected representative would have such contempt for the rights of parents,” he told LifeSiteNews.
Teresa Pierre, president of Parents as First Educators (PAFE), told LifeSiteNews that Dunlop’s stance is a “great snapshot” of being conservative in name only, while not being conservative in principle.
Dunlop said parents will have the option to “opt out of the curriculum” when asked to respond to parents who criticize the proposed curriculum because it would teach their children to question whether they are a boy or girl, about masturbation, and to accept various forms of sexual relationships as morally and biologically equivalent to marriage between a man and a woman.
When LifeSiteNews pointed out that various Ontario school boards, such as the Toronto District School Board, have already enacted policies forbidding parents to opt their kids out of “human rights education” classes that challenge “Homophobia and Heterosexism,” he responded: “So, we have a disagreement there.”
Fonseca called Dunlop’s reason for supporting Wynne’s sex-ed update “moronic” in failing to recognize the parents’ “inherent right to be primary educators of their children.”
“It’s as if he wants the state to seize parental authority and be able to teach children whatever values it wants, subordinating mom and dad to mere ‘administrators’ with no say in the matter. And if moms and dads disagree with the state sexualizing their kids, instilling in their young minds the belief that promiscuity is expected of them, or contradicting the family’s religious beliefs, well, tough luck! – the nanny state’s in charge, so those kids are none of your business,” he said.
Dunlop criticized Tory leadership hopeful Monte McNaughton, MPP for Lambton-Kent-Middlesex, for publicly speaking against the proposal. McNaughton is falling for a “Liberal trap” aimed at tarnishing the image of the PC Party, he said.
“As soon as the PC caucus brings out anything to do with sex-ed or same-sex couples or transgendered couples, whatever it may be, then particularly the Liberal Party will brand us as homophobic and anti-change, and brand us as a bunch of old white haired men.”
“This is a regulatory change. We as a minority in a [Liberal] majority government as Official Opposition have no say on this. What is going to come out of this for our party because of comments made by people like Mr. McNaughton — who is trying to sell memberships to people as a leadership contender — is that the Liberal Party will try to brand our party as ‘homophobic.’ Every time we take the bait, and that is what they are trying to do with this one,” he said.
Dunlop said opposition to the sex-ed update is futile.
“There’s nothing we can do about it. We can yell and scream all we want, but nothing will be done,” he said. “There really is no point in fighting this all the way, because we’re not going to win that fight.”
“I don’t intend to change my view on this at all. Our party is trying to move more to the ‘center.’ We’re trying our best to win the next election and I don’t think this kind of controversy around a regulatory change is going to be good for our party if people like Mr. McNaughton keep voicing their concerns,” he said.
But McNaughton responded to Mr. Dunlop’s criticism, telling LifeSiteNews by telephone that being conservative means “standing-up” for parents and families.
“This is who I am. I’m a Conservative. I believe in standing up for parents and for families in the province of Ontario. We need to be a credible opposition at Queen’s Park. I’m not interested in building a second Liberal Party in Ontario. I want to lead a Conservative Party in this province that stands-up for parents and for families,” he said.
McNaughton said he is raising issues with the sex-ed changes “because I believe that moms and dads should be the primary educators of such serious issues like sex-education.”
“Government needs to respect parents in the province of Ontario. Clearly, Kathleen Wynne and the Liberal government are not respecting parents,” he said. “If they were on the side of parents, they would be releasing this [curriculum] for every parent to see and allow for meaningful consultation. This is a government that is not respecting moms and dads.”
Fonseca said there is nothing “homophobic” about standing-up for parents, who have every right to be concerned about what their children are learning in school about the adult world of sex.
“Dunlop’s fear of being called homophobic by the Liberals is no reason to avoid doing the right thing. I think that’s just a trap by Dunlop to try scaring the PCs into falling in line with his flawed, anti-parental rights position. It’s a scare tactic to get them to panic so he can try painting them into a corner.”
“Any thinking PC member should be able to see that the main reason parents revolted against this curriculum in 2010 was because it was age-inappropriate, too graphic, leaned too much in the direction of sexualizing children and risked launching them into premature sexual experimentation. I hope no principled PC member falls into Dunlop’s pathetic trap. They should also be pretty angry at his transparent tactic to force their hand,” he said.
Monte McNaughton, MPP Lambton-Kent-Middlesex
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (416) 325-3362
Garfield Dunlop, MPP Simcoe North
Ph: (416) 325-3855
Email: [email protected]