Ford pledges to stop motion that calls for gender identity to be removed from the health curriculum

Ford pledges to stop motion that calls for gender identity to be removed from the health curriculum

Premier Doug Ford says he will do everything he can to put a stop to a controversial gender identity resolution passed by Progressive Conservative party members on the weekend.

“It came from the floor and it’s non-binding, so it’s done,” Ford told reporters Monday.

Asked if he’s killing it, the premier replied: “It’s done.”

While it’s unclear what he can do given the matter was formally voted on and approved by members at the convention, a spokesperson for Ford said he “will explore every option as leader of the Ontario PC Party to prevent this resolution from moving forward.”

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NDP MPP Terence Kernaghan, who was a teacher in his London-area riding before being elected, had pressed Thompson during question period about the issue.

“We’ve seen what this government has done already in rolling back the health and phys. ed. curriculum,” he said about Thompson’s move to revive the 1998 sex-ed curriculum while the ministry consults on wide-ranging education reforms.

“In statements to the press, Conservatives insisted this resolution represented a fringe view among PC members, even though it was supported by the overwhelming majority of convention delegates, many of whom are sitting across the floor right now,” said Kernaghan (London North Centre), his party’s critic for LGBTQ issues.

“… Trans people, their parents and their loved ones are scared; many tell me this resolution and the overwhelming support it received has put a target solidly on their backs.”

The move so concerned Toronto parents that the director and chair of the Toronto District School Board issued a letter saying the board “been vocal about its concern with regards to the inclusion of important topics such as online safety, gender identities, sexual orientation and consent” in the health curriculum.

“The TDSB believes that every student has a right to attend schools that are safe and inclusive. We have a responsibility guided by the Ontario Human Rights Code, the Education Act and supported by TDSB policies, to ensure that every student, such as LGBTQ students, feels included and reflected in our schools and classrooms and that the (curriculum ensures) the inclusion of the perspectives, experiences, rights and needs of historically and currently disenfranchised groups and communities.”

Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner called the PC resolution “shameful.”

“Trans rights are human rights,” Schreiner said at Queen’s Park.

“It is dangerous and irresponsible for any party, especially one with a majority government, to pass a resolution endorsing discrimination against anyone and telling people how to identify themselves.”

Liberal MPP Michael Coteau, a former TDSB trustee, said “we know that there are young people out there who don’t feel supported by this minister (of education), and I believe her obligation is to represent all students, not some.”

Some PC caucus members were unhappy with the motion. MPP Gila Martow tweeted Monday that Thornhill delegates to the weekend convention “took up an entire row to vote against this amendment. I look forward to seeing Stephanie, a Trans woman who attended the PC convention this past weekend (wearing a name badge that said Stephen) tomorrow at Queen’s Park for Trans Day of Remembrance.”

Kristin Rushowy is a Toronto-based reporter covering Ontario politics. Follow her on Twitter: @krushowy

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