Some 300 protesters showed up at Queens Park on Sept. 21 to rally against Ontario's sex-ed curriculum and demand the resignation of Conservative leader Patrick Brown. Photo by Jean Ko Din

Protesters demand Patrick Brown’s resignation for flip-flop on Ontario’s sex-ed curriculum

  • September 22, 2016

TORONTO – Some 300 opponents of Ontario’s sex-ed curriculum demanded the resignation of Conservative leader Patrick Brown at a rally at Queen's Park Sept. 21.

The protesters said they were betrayed by Brown who at one time promised to repeal the curriculum introduced last year by Ontario’s Liberal government. Brown changed his tune during a recent Toronto by-election when he denounced a letter, under his signature but which he said he had no knowledge of before it was released, saying he would get rid of the curriculum if elected premier.

The controversial curriculum, which took effect for the 2015-16 school year, has drawn heavy criticism. Opponents say it introduces sex to students at too young an age. Criticism has been particularly fierce within the Muslim community. Many parents have removed their children from the public school system and it has led to the establishment of numerous independent schools .

"Step down, Patrick Brown," the protesters chanted at the rally organized by the parental rights group Canadian Families Alliance.

"Some of you might think that making a side deal with (a politician) to get a tiny concession is the way to go. It's not good enough," said Tanya Granic Allen, head of Parents As First Educators (PAFE). "This problem will only be solved with a full repeal of Wynne's sex-ed. Period."

The Toronto Star recently reported that Granic Allen had been in talks with Brown's chief of staff, Nicolas Pappalardo, last year about "suggestions of possible commitments that Brown could make" to appeal to opponents of the curriculum. One of Granic Allen's suggestions had been the curriculum's full repeal.

When it was revealed that 13,000 letters on Brown's letterhead were sent to constituents in Scarborough-Rouge River during the recent by-election vowing to "scrap" the sex-ed curriculum if elected in 2018, Brown was widely criticized. He has since apologized and re-emphasized his alignment with his party's support of the updated curriculum.

"(Brown's) recent statement is his most recent betrayal of parents and children," said Jack Fonseca of Campaign Life Coalition. "He claimed that part of the reason that he is now a cheerleader for Kathleen Wynne's age-inappropriate sex-ed curriculum is because he said parents’ concerns were exaggerated... Really, Patrick? Let's prove just how wrong you are."

Federal Conservative party leadership candidate and MP Brad Trost was among the roster of speakers at the rally. He was joined by parental rights advocates including Lou Iacobelli of Everyday Life for Canada, Khalid Mahmood from the Thorncliffe Parents Association and 16-year-old Catholic high school student Guinevere Santaguida.

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