"We have to make sure that the protest of parents across this province isn’t falling upon deaf ears. We have to make sure the social conservative voice is being respected," Tanya Granic Allen wrote when she announced her run for the Ontario PC Party leadership. Courtesy of Tanya Granic Allen/PAFE

Catholic mom Tanya Allen Granic puts sex ed into Ontario PC campaign

  • February 15, 2018
he Ontario PC Leadership Debate on "The Agenda with Steve Paikin". The Agenda/Youtube

OTTAWA – A Catholic mother of four has thrust Ontario’s controversial sex-ed curriculum into the campaign to select a new leader of the province’s Progressive Conservative Party.

Tanya Granic Allen, 37, who has served the past two years as executive director of Parents as First Educators (PAFE), announced on Feb. 9 that she was joining the leadership race. 

She intends to focus on the sex education curriculum, parental rights and conscience rights for health care professionals, she said.

“The campaign has been overwhelmed with support,” said Granic Allen, a board member of the Catholic Civil Rights League.

She does not plan to be a one-issue candidate, however. 

“I’m in it to the end and I’m running for leader,” she said.  

Although she has never stood for elected office, she said her experience running a campaign against the sex-ed curriculum has prepared her for the leadership race.

After she declared her intention to enter the race, two of the other three candidates, Christine Elliott and Doug Ford, stated they too would review the Liberal Party’s sex-ed curriculum.

“Sex-ed curriculum should be about facts, not teaching Liberal ideology,” said Doug Ford, brother of the late Toronto Mayor Rob Ford at a Feb. 12 news conference. “Parents should have the final say in what they want to teach.”

Elliott affirmed that she would support a review of the sex-ed curriculum the next morning in a radio interview.

The fourth leadership candidate is Caroline Mulroney, the daughter of former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney. Speaking at the Manning Networking Conference Feb. 9, Mulroney, also amother of four, said she welcomed social conservatives and all other kinds of conservatives into the party.

By The Register’s press time, Granic Allen had raised more than half of the $100,000 required to officially enter the leadership race. She filed her official papers Feb. 13 and expected to raise the rest of the required money before a Feb. 16 deadline. 

The new leader will be selected March 10 by ranked ballot and then immediately jump into a campaign for a provincial election on June 7.

In a panel Feb. 9 in Ottawa organized by the Ontario Blue Committee, Granic Allen said she is well placed to reach out to new Canadian communities because she is the daughter of immigrants. Her father came from Communist Yugoslavia and her mother from Malta.

She said many new Canadians came from dictatorial regimes and believe they, not the state, “should have authority over their kids.” 

Former PC Leader Patrick Brown, who abruptly stepped down in late January after allegations of sexual misconduct from his time as a federal MP,  promised to re-open the sex education curriculum in his 2015 leadership bid. However, he did an about face after becoming leader as he tried to move the party to a more centrist political position. His party helped the Liberals fast-track the abortion bubble zone legislation that passed with all party support last fall.

Johanne Brownrigg, an Ottawa-based lobbyist for Campaign Life Coalition, said she was grateful for Granic Allen’s candidacy.

“I think she will move the conversation to the right,” Brownrigg said. “I am not talking far right, I’m talking centre right, because that’s how far the Conservative Party and the Progressive Conservative Party have gone from being conservative.”

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