REALity April 2019

Ontario Minister of Education, Lisa Thompson, Must Resign
Update From January 2019 REALity

Evidence in regard to the Ontario consultation on the sex education curriculum indicates that the Ontario Minister of Education, Lisa Thompson, is responsible for the manipulation of this consultation process, to ensure that the previous Liberal government’s curriculum developed under Premier Kathleen Wynne be reinstated. The Wynne curriculum had raised serious concerns among parents because it included age-inappropriate information, and issues such as gender identity and gender expression, and support for sexual orientation and same sex marriage.

Unfortunately, the Ontario consultation process on the sex education curriculum provided the opportunity for supporters of the Wynne curriculum such as teachers’ unions and the LGBT community to control the outcome of the consultations. This occurred because the Education Minister, Lisa Thompson, who was responsible for the consultation process, established a process that provided a wide opportunity to corrupt the process as indicated by the following incidents:

1. The consultations lasted 77 days from September 30, 2018 to December 15, 2018. There were 72,000 responses made during the full consultations. Approximately 1,600 submissions were made on the very first day of the consultations which supported the Wynne curriculum. This was due to the fact that the start date of the consultations had not been announced to the general public until a full week after its commencement. The supporters of the Wynne curriculum, including members of teachers’ unions and the LGBTQ community, were given prior notice. They entered their submissions on the first day of the consultations.

2. Town Hall consultations were by telephone only. These calls were monitored by screeners who, in some cases (although not all), prevented many from making their views known before the session ended. That is, screeners filtered out opinions by those opposing the Wynne/Levin curriculum by keeping them “on hold”, permitting those supporting the Wynne curriculum to speak, in some instances, several times. The time set aside for telephone consultation was also frequently cut short, which ensured that those “on hold”, waiting to speak, lost the opportunity to do so.

3. The consultation process included an Online Survey, which was plagued by serious problems. The translation of the survey was provided in Chinese, Urdu, Punjabi and Korean, but not in Arabic. This excluded Muslim families, who were at the forefront of the opposition to Wynne’s curriculum, and for whom English is a second language, making it difficult for them to participate. This survey also enabled the participants to choose anonymity as to residence, which opened the door to submissions from outside Ontario, and even North America, due to the fact that it provided the option of not having to divulge a postal code when making a submission.

4. During legal challenges of the proposed sex education curriculum, brought in the Ontario Divisional Court by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and the Ontario Elementary Teachers’ Federation, the Assistant Deputy Minister of Education, Martyn Beckett, stated in his Affidavit and on cross-examination, that the controversial provisions, including gender identity and expression and sexual orientation, issues to which parents had strongly objected, would continue to be taught in Ontario schools (Factum of Ministry of Education, paragraph 89, Page 31). Beckett further stated that:

Teachers can draw from a wide range of available resources and strategies … and other tools prepared by organizations … .  Teachers as professionals can use any particular document they wish as a resource … . (Factum, Ministry of Education, paragraph 27, Page 10).

Such documentation could, of course, include the Wynne curriculum, contrary to Mr. Ford’s promise of a new curriculum. This was confirmed by Minister Lisa Thompson, who has publicly supported the Wynne curriculum, including the provisions on gender identity, as well as stating in the government’s Factum (paragraph 257, pages 92-93):

We know they need to learn about consent. We know they need to learn about cyber safety. We know they need to learn about gender identity and appreciation.

Decision of Ontario Divisional Court

On February 28, 2019, the Divisional Court, in its decision, concluded that:

It is the role of legislators as elected officials, not the courts, to enact legislation and make policy decisions. Courts should not interfere with the exercise of a discretion by a statutory authority … .

The court had no choice but to reach this conclusion in order to avoid the humiliation of having its decision overturned by an appeal court.

The court, however, did pounce on and approve the provocative statements by Minister Thompson, and ADM Beckett in the government’s Factum that teachers “may use their professional judgment and teach about topics, such as gender expression and other issues relevant today”.

Why bother having the sex education curriculum at all, if it can be undermined by teachers who may use other resources, including the Wynne curriculum, information from other organizations, as well as inviting outside speakers (such as representatives of homosexual and transgendered organizations) to the classrooms? This would effectively undermine the government’s curriculum and the views of the parents on the controversial and sensitive issues.

In effect, the position of the court, that teachers may “… teach about topics such as consent, gender identity, gender expression and other issues relevant today…” contradicts its own conclusion that the government has the authority to decide on the sex education curriculum. Obviously, this position by the court undermines the authority of the government to determine what can be taught in the sex education curriculum in Ontario.

It is also obvious that Minister Thompson has directly interfered in the consultation process and has permitted her associates to do so, with the objective of ensuring the Wynne curriculum remains in the Ontario sex education program. In doing so, she has corrupted the consultation process in order to serve her own purposes.

Minister Thompson has failed in her duties and responsibilities as Minister of Education and has undermined the credibility of the Ford government. She has breached the public’s trust and the public can no longer have confidence in her. Ms. Thompson’s failure to properly carry out her duties as Minister of Education demands that she immediately be removed from office.

Please write Ontario Premier Doug Ford demanding the resignation of Minister Lisa Thompson. Please write even if you live outside of Ontario. This will offset the many responses received in the consultation from outside the province. Mr. Ford can be reached as follows:

Premier’s Office
Room 281
Legislative Building, Queen’s Park
Toronto, ON M7A 1A1
Tel: (416) 325-1941
Fax: (416) 325-3745
Email: doug.ford@pc.ola.org