Critics of the clumsy way the Ontario government has handled its self-created sex education controversy had a field day last year when they led public demonstrations predicting all sorts of dire consequences if the wonderful 2015 Liberal curriculum was not immediately restored.
What happy days those were. The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario got a chance for a free kick at a government it doesn’t like and public support for an up-to-date curriculum was easy to attract.
Now, the teachers’ union has badly overplayed its hand. The union and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association were in court this week in an attempt to get their preferred sex-ed curriculum reinstated. The problem they face is that sweeping generalities are dandy at a pep rally, but courts generally prefer some kind of factual, legal-type arguments.
One can never predict what a court will decide, but some of the points put forward by the teachers’ union and the civil liberties group seem remarkably weak.
The civil liberties folks argue that the curriculum the PCs removed “contains detailed information about sexual orientation, gender identity, same-sex relationships, consent, and online safety at the Grade 3, Grade 6, Grade 7, and Grade 8 levels,” information that is not present in the older curriculum used in schools this year.
Fair enough, but the group’s executive director Michael Bryant says, “Obviously, this is about homophobia. If the government is going to be homophobic with its curriculum, you can bet the Constitution will have something to say about that.”
Maybe, but don’t bet too much.