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Sex-ed curriculum opponent accused of homophobia

By Antonella Artuso, Queen's Park Bureau Chief

Ontario PC leadership candidate Monte McNaughton (Michael Peake, Toronto Sun)

Ontario PC leadership candidate Monte McNaughton (Michael Peake, Toronto Sun)

Ontario Tory leadership candidate Monte McNaughton is defending himself from allegations he was being homophobic when asserting it was the role of parents and not that of the premier — “especially Kathleen Wynne” — to decide what children are taught about sex in school.

Wynne, the province’s first openly gay premier, demanded McNaughton explain why she was unqualified.

“What is it that especially disqualifies me for the job that I’m doing? Is it that I’m a woman? Is it that I’m a mother? Is it that I have a master’s of education? Is it that I was a school council chair? Is it that I was the minister of education? What is it exactly that the member opposite thinks disqualifies me from doing the job,” Wynne said Tuesday.

Education Minister Liz Sandals later insisted McNaughton made comments that were homophobic.

“That’s ridiculous,” McNaughton said. “For any premier, for any fellow legislator to accuse another legislator of that is an absolute disgrace.”

By saying “especially Kathleen Wynne,” McNaughton said he meant a premier who is embroiled in scandal and one who failed to consult widely with parents on the new sex-ed curriculum — as promised.

“For this premier and this education minister to run around the province saying they’ve seeked meaningful consultation and talked to thousands of parents is a complete farce because they have not,” he insisted.

McNaughton, meanwhile, spoke at a Queen’s Part rally Tuesday where several hundred protesters chanted “my child, my choice” and vowed to put a halt to the new curriculum.

Signs at the protest said “parents should be the teachers” and “math, not masturbation.”

Speaker after speaker, identifying themselves as parents, said the government has no business introducing sexually-explicit information in the early grades and in a way that runs counter to their own values.

Former Toronto District School Board trustee Sam Sotiropoulos said the media has attempted to dismiss those who oppose the new curriculum as religious fanatics.

“The media is complicit in trying to shut down our voices,” Sotiropoulos said. “The voice of the parents will not be denied.”

Jack Fonseca, of Campaign Life Coalition, said the new curriculum “sexualizes” children by exposing them to age-inappropriate material and confuses them by referring to gender as “fluid.”

Education Minister Liz Sandals this week released the revamped Health and Physical Education curriculum Monday for implementation this fall.

Sex education will begin in Grade 1 with the proper names for genitals.

The topics of masturbation and “gender expression” will be discussed in Grade 6, while the dangers of sexting and sexually-transmitted infections — including through oral and anal sex — are covered in Grade 7.

Children will also be taught about sexual consent.

 


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