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Mixed reaction to new sex-ed curriculum from social conservative groups

Former Ontario Progressive Conservative leadership candidate Tanya Granic Allen. (FILE PHOTO/THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang)

The province’s new sexual education curriculum is drawing mixed reactions from social conservative groups that had supported the Progressive Conservative party in the last election.

During the 2018 provincial election, the PCs campaigned they would repeal the curriculum put in place under the former Liberal government in order to win over social conservatives.

The province’s new curriculum, which was released on Wednesday, addresses topics like bullying, mental health, concussions, gender identity, same-sex relationships, and age-appropriate sexual health education.

Tanya Granic Allen, president of Parents As First Educators and a former Progressive Conservative leadership candidate, said Premier Doug Ford has broken a campaign promise to groups such as the one she represents.

“I think Doug Ford won because he promised the parents and children of Ontario that he would get rid of what he called liberal ideology being forced into the classrooms of Ontario,” she said. “Nothing has been repealed, Doug Ford lied.”

Allen said she’s particularly upset about the inclusion of gender identity.

“The biggest complaint from parents was the teaching of the unscientific gender identity theory,” she said. “We need an education system that helps our children and doesn’t confuse them and, most importantly, respects parental rights.”

However, other social conservative leaders are applauding the changes.

“I’m very happy today,” said Charles McVety, an evangelical pastor and president of the Canadian Christian College. “It’s a great day for children and a great day for parents in Ontario for education.”

McVety acknowledged that most of the original curriculum has stayed in place, but said a few points have changed.

“There is a lot that is the same, except age inappropriateness and gender fluidity issue has moved up to Grade 8,” he said. “But the biggest thing is that it gives the authority of education back to the parents.”

McVety said “it gives the option to repeal the curriculum” by allowing parents to pull their children from the classroom when the class is taking place.

“I’m telling [Premier Ford] he’s protected two million children from radical teaching,” he said. “The bottom line is the children are protected.”