Is Premier Dalton McGuinty afraid to talk about sex? It certainly would explain a few things.
In response to a question from NDP MPP Rosario Marchese, Ontario Education Minister Leona Dombrowsky admitted no progress has been made on a new sex ed curriculum almost a year after Premier McGuinty's government caved to religious groups and withdrew a revised program.
Following his decision to pull the new curriculum last April, McGuinty promised a “rethink” and further consultations with parents.
But based on an exchange between Marchese and Dombrowsky in the Queen's Park legislature March 3, it appears the government has done little to follow up on its promise.
was evident with the sex education part of our curriculum was that we
needed to do a better job. My ministry is working to understand what is
the best way, given that we did have a consultation process that
obviously was not adequate for parents. So we are looking at ways that
we can do a better job of getting their feedback on a very important
curriculum for students in our schools.
Dombrowsky's dodge provoked Marchese to ask if McGuinty is "the education premier" for everything except sex education.
Marchese: Why is the premier afraid to talk about sex?
The education minister's comments come less than a month after MPP Glen Murray told community members, in a Feb 8 meeting he hosted at the 519 Church Street Community Centre, a new policy could be expected soon.
Murray says the public can expect a revised curriculum soon. “I think
the new curriculum is pretty good,” he said. “I have to tell you, many
of the things that offended people are already in the curriculum. We
talk about all kinds of families and human sexuality in our elementary
The question on the floor of the legislature comes as Minister Dombrowsky continues to avoid questions about the Ontario Catholic school system's ban on the word "gay" and a provincewide prohibition on gay-straight alliances ordered by the Association of Catholic Bishops of Ontario.
The Canadian Press did gave the exchange - and the issue - some coverage with a CP piece that has so far appeared on CTV, parentcentral.ca (TorStar) and in the Guelph Mercury.
Now, if only someone would ask about the GSA ban in Ontario's publicly funded schools.
Video from Queen's Park:
Mr Rosario Marchese: My question is to the premier. Last spring, the government introduced a new health curriculum for Ontario students, but at the last minute, under duress, it cancelled changes to sex education. The government promised it would start a new round of consultations on updates to sex education. What is the status of those consultations, Premier?
Hon Dalton McGuinty: To the minister of education.
Hon Leona Dombrowsky: What we have done, first of all with respect to the curriculum that is out there, is that we have new physical and health education, save and except for the sex education piece. All of the good work that went into that document is now being implemented in our schools, save and except for the sex education curriculum, which continues to be what was in place in our schools.
We have a process in Ontario where we review our curriculum on a regular basis, and that was the process that was followed. People — parents especially — in Ontario made it very clear that the way that they were engaged around changes to curriculum did not meet their needs, and our premier made a commitment that we were going to consider how we could do a better job of that. My ministry is taking a very careful look at how we’ve done it in the past and what some of the most effective ways are, going forward, that we can ensure that the issues of parents —
The Speaker (Hon Steve Peters): Thank you. Supplementary?
Mr Rosario Marchese: Health and education groups in Ontario haven’t heard a word about the consultations that were promised a year ago. Nothing has been done. There are no consultations.
Ontario children and youth need accurate information about sexually transmitted diseases, sexuality and early pregnancy to develop into healthy adults, but Ontario’s sex education curriculum is outdated. It appears that this is the education premier for everything except sex education. Why is the premier afraid to talk about sex?
Hon Leona Dombrowsky: I think it’s important to clarify that we have sex education in our schools now. We have had it for many years, and that continues to be the case.
We have an improved physical health education curriculum in our schools. That did go forward.
We are looking at the process that we have to review curriculum. We review curriculum all the time.
What was evident with the sex education part of our curriculum was that we needed to do a better job. My ministry is working to understand what is the best way, given that we did have a consultation process that obviously was not adequate for parents. So we are looking at ways that we can do a better job of getting their feedback on a very important curriculum for students in our schools.