I have never seen -- in my humble observation -- a politician flip-flopping the way the Ontario Progressive Conservative leader has done, where at one point he sends a letter about a major proposal if elected and then reversing his position 180 degrees a few days later.
PC Leader Patrick Brown is making a hard turn, as reported in the Globe and Mail, after promising to scrap Ontario's Liberal government's new sexual-education curriculum on the eve of a close-fought Toronto by-election.
In a letter addressed "Dear Parents" and dated this week, Mr. Brown pledged to kill the curriculum.
"I believe parents are the primary educators of their children. When it comes to sexual health education, parents should have a say on how much their children are taught, and at what age," Mr. Brown writes in the letter. "Upon being elected, a PC government would scrap the controversial changes to sex-ed introduced by Premier Kathleen Wynne."
And then a few days later, he took a dramatic turn and came up with a completely opposite stance to what he had proposed. He was like an animal using camouflage to change his appearance for survival purposes.
In a Toronto Star opinion piece, he wrote:
"It was a mistake for a letter to go out to Scarborough-Rouge River voters saying that I would "scrap" the updated curriculum. This is not my view. This is not what I will do. In fact, the opposite is true. I apologize.
I strongly support an updated curriculum that takes into account changing attitudes and the world in which children now dwell. They are being asked to understand challenging topics in ways their parents were not. It is important to have sex education to combat homophobia, and raise important issues like consent, mental health, bullying, and gender identity. The world has changed and so should the curriculum."
It is irresponsible for a high-rank politician to flip-flop in this manner. It undermines his credibility and competence as a leader of a political party, who hopes to one day become premier of Ontario.
I can't find an excuse for Mr. Brown. His action reminds me of his fellow Conservative in the U.S. who has been changing his policies according to where the winds flow.
It was not an ambiguous statement Mr. Brown said that he later retracted as it happens with politicians. Sometimes one could be caught up in the heat of the moment and says something without thinking about it.
Mr. Brown must have put enough thought and effort in his letter about his proposal to cancel the same sex education curriculum. Then all of a sudden he surprised everyone by reversing his thoughts altogether on the controversial issue.
I would not be comfortable with a leader of such competence. I cannot trust a politician who conducts himself in this unpredictable manner.
I don't think he has the true qualities, determination and focus of a stable leader.
As a matter of fact, it scares me that such a flip-flopping politician could be trusted in high office. I would not even trust him to take care of my cows let alone run a province.
I wonder what was his strategic plan in saying one thing and then changing his mind all of a sudden. Has he used the sex ed curriculum as a bait and switch, realizing he would rather focus on the bigger fish?
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In Grade 1, students should be able to identify body parts, including genitalia like the penis, testicles, vagina, vulva, and use correct terminology.
By Grade 2, students will outline the basic stages of human development, including an infant, child, adolescent, adult, older adult, for example, and related bodily changes. They will also identify factors that are important for healthy growth.
In Grade 3, students will be able to describe how visible differences (like facial features, body size and shape, physical aids or different physical abilities. for example) and invisible differences (like learning abilities, personal or cultural values and beliefs, gender identity, sexual orientation, for example), make each person unique. Students will also learn ways of showing respect for differences in others.
In Grade 4, students will describe the physical changes that happen during puberty for males and females — the growth of body hair, breast development, changes in voice and body size, production of body odour, and skin changes, for example. They will also learn about the potential emotional and social impact of these changes.
In Grade 5, students will identify the parts of the reproductive system, and describe how the human body changes during puberty. They will expand their vocabulary with words like cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, endometrium, and clitoris, as well as scrotum, urethra, testicles, prostate gland, seminal vesicles, and vas deferens.
Students in the sixth grade will assess the effects of stereotypes — including homophobia and assumptions regarding gender roles and expectations, sexual orientation, gender expression, race, ethnicity or culture, mental health, and abilities, among others. They will also propose appropriate ways of responding to and changing some of these stereotypes.
In Grade 7, students will touch on consent and the importance of having a shared understanding with a partner about delaying sexual activity, for example. They will go over genital contact, vaginal or anal intercourse and oral sex (including choosing to abstain from these activities). They will also go over reasons for not engaging in sexual activity and the concept of how consent can be communicated in a relationship. Grade 7 students will also touch on the understanding of physical, emotional, social, and psychological factors that need to be considered when making decisions related to sexual health, including STIs, pregnancy, desire, pleasure, gender identity among others. Students will also delve into areas of cyber-bullying, harassment and behaviours like sexting.
In Grade 8, students learn about all six genders including male, female, two-spirited, transgender, transsexual and intersex. They also cover topics of sexual orientation (heterosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual). When it comes to sex, students will learn about contraception and condom use for pregnancy, STI prevention, consent, and what it means to be in a healthy sexual relationship. For further development, Grade 8 students will also touch on the benefits or attractions of being in a relationship, along with drawbacks and risks like breaking up.
In Grade 9, students will be able to describe how to prevent unintended pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV/AIDS. A further understanding of gender identities and issues around stigma, culture, religion, media, stereotypes, homophobia, self-image, and others.
Students should be able to describe factors that influence sexual decision making, including personal values, having limits, peer and family expectations, and myths and norms related to sexual activity or safe sex. Students will demonstrate an understanding of how to use decision-making and communication skills effectively to support choices related to sexual health. Discussions on misconceptions about sexuality in our culture, as well as what it means to be in a exclusive relationship.
Understanding a variety of mental illnesses and addictions including: eating disorders; major depression; anxiety disorders; psychotic disorders, and tobacco, alcohol, drug, gambling, gaming, or Internet addictions. Students in Grade 11 will cover proactive health measures like breast and testicular examinations, Pap tests, regular medical check-ups, stress management techniques, among others.
In addition to cyber-bulling, students in Grade 12 will also cover stalking, sexual assault, abuse within a family, extortion, and workplace harassment, for example. Further discussion on healthy relationships, developing healthy sexual relationships with others, and looking at relationships and stereotypes in the media.