Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty acted unilaterally in pulling the plug on his government’s new sex-education curriculum after he was blindsided by his own bureaucrats and a backlash from parents and religious groups.
Mr. McGuinty announced on Thursday that he will not roll out the new curriculum next fall. It was his fastest policy retreat in recent memory, coming just four hours after cabinet minister Sandra Pupatello vigorously defended the document during Question Period.No kidding.
Sources said that the Premier had not been briefed on the curriculum and was unaware of its contents until the complaints began this week.
The new curriculum needs a “serious rethink," Mr. McGuinty said, and government officials must listen to parents on such a highly sensitive topic that touches children directly.
“For most parents, it came out of nowhere," Mr. McGuinty said. “They are obviously not comfortable with the proposal we put forward."
The political time-bomb that was his government’s new sex-education curriculum ticked away on-line for three months until a Christian group led by evangelist Charles McVety issued a statement this week threatening to pull its children from school if the government did not abandon it.
Bureaucrats in the Ministry of Education did not brief the Premier about the new curriculum, according to senior government sources. While he is not usually given details of curriculum changes, such a politically sensitive topic as sex education should have been brought to his attention, one of the sources said.
“I think there was a little bit of a failure in the system," he said...
Update: This isn't the first time McGuinty tried to foist a really bad idea on us, only to back down in the face of an unexpected public uproar.
I have to admit that when I listened to McGuinty's presser yesterday, I found the line "touches children directly" kind of creepy in this context.
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