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Canada

EDITORIAL: Finally, a sensible sex-ed curriculum

Remember when all the usual suspects accused Ontario Premier Doug Ford of wanting to throw the teaching of sex-ed in elementary schools back into the dark ages?

With the release of Ontario’s new sex-ed curriculum by Education Minister Stephen Lecce Wednesday, we now know nothing remotely like that has happened.

True, some social conservatives — although not all — said they felt betrayed by Ford, while some social activists who hate everything the Ford government does said its revised sex-ed curriculum is so similar to the Liberal one it replaced that delaying it for a year was a waste of time.

In other words, having nothing of substance to object to — contrary to their previous “sky is falling” hysteria about Ford wanting to undermine sex-ed — they were reduced to complaining about the timeline.

In fact, the revised sex-ed curriculum introduced by Lecce is a sensible one, unlike those introduced by the previous Liberal government which caused so much parental anger and division.

For example, addressing the concern of many parents that the the Liberals’ sex-ed curriculum introduced gender identity at too young an age for elementary school children, that discussion will now occur in Grade 8 instead of Grade 6.

By contrast, discussions about sexual orientation will now begin in Grade 5, a year earlier than in the previous curriculum.

The new curriculum also more clearly defines the right of parents to withdraw their children from portions of the sex-ed curriculum to which they object.

As for claims Ford wasted a year in getting the sex-ed curriculum up and running, that’s absurd.

In fact, the previous Liberal government, headed first by Dalton McGuinty and then Kathleen Wynne, wasted a decade developing the curriculum amid huge controversies because they failed to adequately consult parents.

McGuinty admitted as much in 2010 when he scrapped the sex-ed curriculum he had introduced in 2008.

Wynne revived the controversy in 2015 when she introduced a revised curriculum, which raised similar concerns.

During last year’s election, Ford promised to withdraw Wynne’s sex-ed curriculum and revise it, which he’s now done.

Ford isn’t the premier who wasted the public’s time on this issue.

McGuinty and Wynne did that for a decade.

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