Ontario Premier Doug Ford ran for office on a limited platform, most of it vague, with few specific details. But on one issue he was crystal clear: A Progressive Conservative government led by him would scrap the province’s 2015 sex-education curriculum, replace it with an interim version and consult parents about a final version that would be implemented some time in the future.
Promise kept. Last week, the Ford government released the interim version and, frankly, it could have been worse.
For one thing, the fear that students would this year be taught decades-old lessons that make no reference to the modern perils of social media, sexting and online sexual predation has not played out.
Those facts of modern life, while not addressed in as much depth as they are in the 2015 curriculum, are mentioned in the interim version. So are the concept of gender identity and the right of students of all gender identities to feel comfortable and be free from harassment – although, once again, not in the same detail as the 2015 version.
There are, of course, some striking differences. For instance, the interim version fails to discuss the issue of consent and makes no mention of masturbation. But that arguably is the point of the exercise: to take out the parts that trouble PC voters and come up with compromises after a consultation.
We never had a problem with the 2015 curriculum. It is still our belief that fears about its content were grossly overblown by a small but vocal opposition.
But the state of affairs going into this school year is not as bad as it might have been – with one troubling exception: Mr. Ford’s plan to provide a platform where parents can anonymously snitch on teachers they believe aren’t sticking closely enough to the somewhat vague and confusing messaging of the interim curriculum.
That’s an antagonistic attitude to take in a democracy. Mr. Ford has the right to fulfill his mandate, just as others have the right to challenge his efforts to do so. The sex-ed hotline is a chilling example of bad faith in that process, and completely unwarranted.