Conservative MP Cheryl Gallant criticized the curriculum in Parliament last week, repeating claims that Benjamin Levin, a former deputy minister of education who is facing seven child pornography-related charges, may have had a hand in developing the document.
"The curriculum was written by someone charged with two counts of distribution of child pornography ... and arranging for a sexual offence against a child under 16," Gallant said last Thursday.
"If withdrawal of this Liberal policy can prevent one child from being groomed for exploitation, it really must be withdrawn."
|Conservative MP Cheryl Gallant said last week that Ontario's updated sex-ed |
curriculum risked children being "groomed for exploitation." Liz Sandals,
Ontario's education minister, called Gallant's comments "false" and "misleading"
"How could anybody be so badly informed about the real world?"
The first revisions to the province's sex-ed curriculum since 1998 were released last week, immediately drawing fire from some parents and religious groups concerned that concepts such as masturbation and same-sex relationships were being introduced to kids who were too young.
'Red herring' to claim Levin involved in writing curriculum: Liberals
|Education Minister Liz Sandals|
The Liberals have denied that Levin, who was also on Premier Kathleen Wynne's transition team when she took office, was involved in the new sex-ed curriculum.
"Mr. Levin had absolutely nothing to do with the development of the content of the curriculum," insisted Sandals.
"So it's certainly a red herring that people are trying to feed parents."
Levin's lawyer, Clayton Ruby, has said his client plans to plead guilty Tuesday to some of the seven child pornography-related charges against him while other charges are expected to be withdrawn.
Gallant urged Parliament to pass legislation with tougher penalties for child predators, saying the need was demonstrated by sweeping changes to the sex-ed curriculum "by the Toronto Liberal Party."
She also demanded Justin Trudeau tell his provincial colleagues to scrap it.
"On behalf of all the parents, grandparents and the vulnerable children of Ontario, we demand that the federal party leader order this outrageous policy to be withdrawn now," Gallant said.
|Child porn charges for Toronto prof Benjamin Levin,|
ex-education adviser to Ontario premier
"That's not an acceptable way to portray what's going on," said Sandals.
"What I would really hope would happen would be that the Conservatives at the Ontario level would disown that sort of conduct."
All three candidates for the Progressive Conservative leadership have complained the Liberals did not consult enough parents before releasing the new curriculum and announcing it would be implemented this fall without any more changes.
"I think that we need to be rational in our discussions in this and I think we've heard a lot of extreme rhetoric," said deputy PC leader Christine Elliott.
"We should be speaking to parents about this ... and for other people to opine on it, one way or the other, in very extreme terms, doesn't serve anybody."
The full text of Gallant's statement, which was delivered in the House of Commons just before question period last Thursday:
Mr. Speaker, if anything demonstrates the need for the House to quickly pass Bill C-26, our Conservative legislation for tougher penalties against child predators, it is the decision by the Liberal Party in Toronto to introduce sweeping changes to how grade school children are taught sex education.
This curriculum was written by someone charged with two counts of distributing child pornography, one count each of making child pornography, counselling to commit an indictable offence, and agreeing to or arranging for a sexual offence against a child under 16.
As a hand-picked provincial Liberal deputy minister, this powerful party insider was caught only after an international online probe. If withdrawal of this Liberal policy can prevent one child from being groomed for exploitation, it really must be withdrawn.
On behalf of the parents, grandparents, and the vulnerable children of Ontario, we demand that the federal party leader order this outrageous policy to be withdrawn now.
It's hard to imagine how the highly educated and, until recently, highly regarded Prof Levin would not have contributed to the new program as it took years to develop. While probably the most capable person in Ontario to write the program, his credibility took a big nose-dive with the child-porn, sex-abuse charges. Could a pedophile write a sex-ed program without tainting it with his personal faults?
See the link near the top of this post for more info on the program.