ONTARIO, July 22, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Ontario Progressive Conservative Garfield Dunlop is stepping down so leader Patrick Brown can run in the Tory stronghold of Simcoe North, the two announced at a joint press conference Wednesday.
Dunlop will retire on August 1 after 16 years as MPP for the riding just north of Barrie, which was Brown’s constituency during his three terms as a federal Conservative backbencher.
Brown said that Dunlop approached him and offered to step aside.
Dunlop, who is currently the PC education critic, will remain involved as the party’s volunteer chief education advisor.
“I am pleased to share that I have asked Garfield to continue to provide his advice and serve as Chief Education Advisor in a volunteer capacity,” Brown wrote in an email to supporters. “His work on the education file has earned the respect of not only our caucus, but of the wider education sector.”
However, Dunlop supported Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne’s government radical sex-education agenda, stating in December 2014 that doing so is in the PC Party’s “best interest,” according to Canada’s pro-life paper, The Interim.
“A school classroom is a great place to provide a safe environment to learn about relationships and sexual education, ” Dunlop stated at the time. “After consultation with various groups around the new sexual education curriculum, I think it is in our best interest as a party to support this initiative.”
He also publicly supported two Grade 6 girls lobbying for a gay-straight alliance in an Ottawa Catholic school, according to Campaign Life Coalition’s data.
Brown, however, has criticized the sex-ed curriculum, which will roll out this fall in Ontario’s publicly funded schools despite increasing and widespread outcry from parents.
Brown stated that he would begin the process again, and consult with parents, and told The Interim in January that he would “appoint someone who opposes early sex ed” as education critic.
That stated opposition, along with Brown’s impeccable pro-life voting record as an MP, prompted CLC to campaign for the 37-year-old bachelor in his bid for the PC leadership.
MPP Monte McNaughton also campaigned for Brown after withdrawing from the leadership race in April.
McNaughton, a staunch opponent of the sex-ed curriculum, remains the only PC MPP to speak out against it in the legislature.
But CLC expressed concern when in June, Brown was front and centre in the first Conservative contingent to march Toronto’s Pride parade, an event organized by LGBTory.
“We’re happy that he’s going to have the opportunity to sit in the Legislature if he’s elected. We’re expecting good things from him,” CLC president Jim Hughes told LifeSiteNews. “Anything will be an improvement on what we’ve been getting from the Liberal government.”
According to the National Post’s Ashley Csanady, the Liberals “have indicated they will wait” until after the October 19 federal election to call a byelection.