TORONTO, August 29, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — After initially pledging to “scrap” the Liberal government’s controversial sex-ed program in a letter this week, Ontario PC leader Patrick Brown has flip-flopped, saying he supports the program and the letter was a “mistake.”
“I strongly support an updated curriculum that takes into account changing attitudes and the world in which children now dwell,” Brown wrote in an op-ed at the Toronto Star on Monday. “They are being asked to understand challenging topics in ways their parents were not. It is important to have sex education to combat homophobia, and raise important issues like consent, mental health, bullying, and gender identity. The world has changed and so should the curriculum.”
Rather than criticizing the curriculum, Brown is arguing that the Wynne government failed in its duty to consult parents. But, he said, “Consultation doesn’t mean opening the door to intolerance. I will never support removing LGBT sensitivity or combating homophobia from schools. I will always support consulting with parents and giving them a voice, but I will never support intolerance in our society.”
“I am determined to lead an Ontario PC Party that is modern, inclusive, pragmatic, and that reflects the diversity and values of our province,” he continued. “I was proud to be the first PC leader to march in the Toronto Pride parade. I was proud to be the first MP in Barrie's history to attend a pride flag raising. I fully support marriage equality. It doesn't matter who you love, the government has no business in your personal life.”
Brown’s flip-flop on the curriculum in the midst of a provincial by-election campaign has shown he is “untrustworthy,” say pro-family groups, who are unified in supporting Independent candidate Queenie Yu.
Yu is running in the Scarborough Rouge River September 1 by-election solely on the issue of repealing Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne’s controversial sex-ed curriculum, and is backed by Parents As First Educators (PAFE), Campaign Life Coalition (CLC), and REAL Women of Canada.
Brown sent a letter August 24 to voters in the riding declaring that “a PC Government would scrap the controversial changes to sex-ed introduced by Premier Wynne,” but after the story broke last Friday, Brown and his handlers quickly back-peddled.
Brown dismissed the missive as a “form” letter in a CBC interview Saturday, and released a series of tweets stating he agreed an updated curriculum was needed, but wanted to consult parents:
I am determined to lead a PC Party that is modern, inclusive, pragmatic, and that reflects the diversity of our province. 1/5
I strongly support an updated curriculum that takes into account changing attitudes and world in which children now dwell. 2/5
Children have to cope with challenges completely unknown to their parents. 3/5
As we do this, I insist that parents be thoroughly consulted… 4/5
Consultation is never wrong. The Wynne Liberals simply have not done this. I will. That's the difference. And that's the issue. 5/5
His campaign chair and closest advisor Walied Soliman tweeted August 26 that: “…@brownbarrie is NOT repealing S/x-ed in Ont! As always said, next round will have real parent consultation- that's all. #onpoli”
Brown’s communications director Tamara Macgregor reiterated the same in a series of August 26 tweets: “No new announcement. Form letter promising parental consultation in the next curriculum is same statement for last two years”; “Curriculum should educate on STDs and consent, as well as combating homophobia and bullying”; and, “Sex-ed will be part of next new curriculum but parents will get say on when and how much their children learn.”
And the activist group LGBTory notably moved quickly to Brown’s defence, writing August 27 that “we explained our concerns about the curriculum in detail to Patrick Brown, and his response to us has reassured us that he does not intend to remove pro-LGBT elements from the document.”
Brown “has provided us with invaluable support in our campaign to change the Conservative Party of Canada’s (CPC) marriage policy and to use his influence to remove obstacles to the CPC’s recognition of same-sex marriage,” it stated. “We consider him an ally on LGBT issues and question the raising of this matter in the middle of a hotly-contested by-election campaign.”
Neither Soliman, Macgregor, nor LGBTory had responded to LifeSiteNews by deadline.
Yu told LifeSiteNews that she and supporters were “really happy” to see Brown’s letter, but then they noticed it was emailed to certain families and not posted on his website. “And then the next day, he tweets something completely different, and his advisor says, ‘Oh, he’s not scrapping the curriculum, we’re just consulting more parents’.”
“Parents are disappointed, they’re saying he’s playing the politician,” Yu said. “It’s like he’s dating two girls and saying something different to each one, and he’s hoping one won’t find out about it and tell the others, which is ridiculous.”
“The one thing we have learned definitively about Patrick Brown, Leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party (PC), is that he is totally untrustworthy. He cannot be trusted in any way,” noted REAL Women vice-president Gwen Landolt in a Monday press release, which urged voters in the riding to support Yu.
PAFE’s president Tanya Granic-Allen pointed out in a email to supporters that “Brown and the PCs became very nervous that Queenie was costing them votes, and, seemingly out of nowhere, and at the very last minute, Brown signed his name to a letter promising, FOR THE FIRST TIME, to scrap the Wynne s/x-ed curriculum.”
Added Granic-Allen: “His organizers in Scarborough, such as Doug Ford, seem keen to use this new promise to win votes for the PC Candidate.”
Indeed, Ford, who is campaign co-chair for PC candidate Raymond Cho, told the Toronto Sun’s Christina Blizzard that in a riding with “a huge Tamil population and a massive Asian population” he has “yet to knock on the door of anyone who supports [the sex-ed].”
Added Ford: “As a matter of fact, to the contrary. They’re dead against it. Patrick is putting out a statement that we’re going to revisit that and I think it’s the right thing to do.”
“We can only guess that Brown is counting on the thousands of Scarborough voters who read his letter, to NOT follow the news reports about his recanting the promise, and to still vote for him based on the letter,” noted Campaign Life Coalition’s political strategist Jack Fonseca in an email to supporters.
Brown “may be thinking that he can woo parents, and at the same time, still keep the liberal media elites pacified that he’s not really going to touch their beloved sex-ed agenda,” Fonseca wrote.
“In short, Brown is counting on these immigrant voters to not have read mainstream news reports, so that they vote PC on the false presumption that Brown will scrap the curriculum as soon as he becomes Premier.”
Meanwhile, Yu has virtually been ignored in the mainstream media: Toronto Star’s Rob Ferguson and Robert Benzie do not mention her in reports, and the latter dismissed her as an anonymous “fringe candidate” in a Monday interview with CBC’s Metro Morning’s Matt Galloway.
Yu has also been attacked via email for being “anti-gay,” she told LifeSiteNews, but says she opposes the sex-ed curriculum because it is “too graphic at too young an age.”
She has found widespread opposition to the Liberal sex-ed curriculum when door-knocking in the riding, Yu said. “The vote, for me, is a measure of how many people don’t like the sex-ed curriculum and are willing to stand up and fight against it. That’s why the vote is important to me.”
Fonseca echoes PAFE and REAL Women in urging supporters to back Yu.
“Let’s prove to Brown that there is a political cost to selling parents and children down the river, by making sure Yu ends up receiving a lot of votes. Ideally, it’ll be enough to deprive Patrick Brown of a new MPP at Queen’s Park,” he wrote.
“At the same time, a strong showing for candidate Yu will show the Liberals and NDP that a lot of parents in Scarborough-Rouge River reject the sexualisation of children inherent in Kathleen Wynne’s sex curriculum.”
Those interested in supporting Yu’s campaign can go here.