Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford has no experience in provincial politics, and as a Toronto city councillor he had an indifferent career that was mostly situated on the coattails of his more successful brother, the late Rob Ford.
He’s a proven quantity in one area, though: Talking in slogans and avoiding the complications of detailed policy-making. This was on full display this week when he vowed to “scrap” Ontario’s sex-ed curriculum if elected premier.
Mr. Ford’s argument for doing so is that some parents have told him that they think the lessons in the curriculum are not always age-appropriate, and that they also believe they weren’t properly consulted before the new curriculum was implemented in 2015.
That’s bunk. This tired line of argument is merely the gloss that has been put on a vociferous and often misinformed opposition to the new curriculum led by religious groups and socially conservative family organizations.
By any standard, Ontario’s health and physical education curriculum for students in Grades 1 to 8 is a neutral, non-controversial and timely document. It gives elementary and middle-school students sound and age-appropriate introductions to numerous issues, from sexual abuse and sexually transmitted diseases, to managing their time on the internet, to the danger of drinking too much sugary soda or not wearing sunscreen.
In its approach to sexuality, it embraces the diversity and inclusiveness protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedom. It gently teaches society’s secular values, not the family values of another era or those of a particular religion.
Mr. Ford should read the 239-page document. He might find its stands up to scrutiny, or he might find something in there that could be done better. We’d love to know what he thinks, and why he suggests an entire curriculum must be scrapped when only a small portion of it touches on sex.
Right now, his vow to repeal and replace something in order to attract an ideological base is reminiscent of the American President who keeps tearing up laws and treaties on the promise of better deals that never quite materialize.