In a dramatic turn of events Thursday, a Canadian premier abruptly axed a controversial proposed sex-ed curriculum due to the overwhelmingly negative response it received within his province.
Premier Dalton McGuinty of Ontario previously backed a sex education curriculum which came under fire for its subject matter. The curriculum scheduled lessons on body parts in Grade 1, discussed homosexuality in Grade 3, and explicitly mentioned “vaginal and anal intercourse” in Grade 7. The curriculum also taught that homosexuality and transgenderism are normal and that masturbation is “one way of learning about your body.”
According to the Ottawa Citizen, Premier McGuinty said the government failed to properly consult and communicate with parents about the revamped curriculum.
“I think for most parents, it came out of nowhere,” he said Thursday. “We spent a good 24, 48 hours listening to parents and caucus – and parents through our caucus – and it's become pretty obvious we should give this a serious rethink.”
Though the premier on Tuesday of this week spoke of his unflinching support of the curriculum, within 54 hours his position drastically changed.
“(Parents) are obviously not comfortable with the proposal that we put forward,” he said Thursday. “So we're going to improve on that.”
The curriculum had sparked outrage among Catholic leaders in Ottawa as Premier McGuinty previously claimed that the program applied to “all students in publicly funded schools, including Catholic schools,” the Ottawa Citizen reported.
Archbishop of Ottawa Terrence Prendergast stressed on Thursday that parents are children’s “first teachers of faith and moral issues,” and he urged parents to voice their thoughts on the curriculum to officials, saying the government would have to react to “a firestorm of response.”
In a phone interview with CNA on Thursday, Archbishop Prendergrast explained that, “There’s quite a bit of controversy in public, by ordinary parents, who don’t want people, teachers, the state, the province, imposing a particular view of sexuality on their children.”
Archbishop Prendergast advised parents to “speak up” to their MPs and representatives. They need to take seriously their responsibilities, while the government should cooperate with parents to ensure children are raised in a “healthy and wholesome” way.
The archbishop explained that some non-Catholic parents send their children to Catholic public schools because of a “moral quality to their teaching.”
One non-Catholic mother he knows feels that “she and her husband should have authority in delicate matters, not things presented by Planned Parenthood.”
Parents going to non-Catholic public schools need to say this is not suitable instruction for their children either, he noted.
Rather than promote greater sexual expression, he suggested, Canadians “need to think about restoring a certain moral character to the educational system.”
“It’s not easy, but I think we need to say that.”