AMHERSTBURG, Ont. — Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak was
unrepentant Monday about his party’s decision to distribute a piece of
campaign literature on sex education that the rival Liberals have
branded as homophobic.

``I think they reflect (Premier) Dalton McGuinty’s out-of-the-mainstream
policy ideas to have a sex-ed curriculum that would begin with grade
ones,’’ Hudak said during a campaign stop at an elderly couple’s home in

Hudak, who is the father of a four-year-old daughter who started junior
kindergarten this fall, said kids in Grade 1 should be learning the
alphabet or math instead.

``I just think this shows another example of how Dalton McGuinty’s lost
touch with mainstream Ontario, and the NDP? I mean, they’re just right
behind them. I don’t agree with it.’’


The Tory flyer urges parents to vote against the Liberals for ``keeping
parents in the dark’’ about what’s being taught in schools.

Ontario’s sex-ed curriculum teaches ``cross-dressing for six-year-olds’’
and urges that teachers allow students to hold their own gay pride
parade in their school, the flyer claims.

The literature paraphrases from a 219-page curriculum resource guide for
the 2011 school year that was updated by the Toronto District School
Board, covering kindergarten through Grade 12.

But the Liberals say the flyer deliberately misrepresents the content of
the guidebook, called ``Challenging Homophobia and Heterosexism.’’

``The flyer is filled with lies,’’ said Children and Youth Services Minister Laurel Broten.

The guidebook doesn’t say anything about cross-dressing, she said.
However, it does recommend that girls and boys be encouraged to
role-play opposite roles and to talk about why some toys are considered a
``girl toy’’ or a ``boy toy.’’

It recommends schools not advise parents when teachers will be
introducing concepts such as gender discrimination, homophobia and
non-traditional families in the classroom.

But the board said it does send a newsletter to homes at the beginning
of each term to keep parents, guardians and caregivers informed of all
upcoming equity talks in the classroom, but ``without having to single
out one topic over the other.’’

Hudak is ending his campaign the way he started it — on a divisive note, McGuinty said.

``You know if you don’t have a plan to create jobs in the face of a
looming global economic challenge, I think you’re going to grasp at
whatever straws you can get your hands on,’’ the Liberal leader said at a
campaign stop in Concord.

Hudak tried the same tactic in the early days of his campaign by
slamming a promised Liberal tax credit for new immigrants as an
affirmative action program for ``foreign workers,’’ said Broten. He was
forced to backtrack when it didn’t work, she said.

``Somebody who wants to be premier of the province should not be trying
to cultivate hatred and put Ontarians one against the other,’’ she said.

``He is twisting the truth to whip up homophobia and I think it’s
desperate, and very, very divisive, and it’s something that he should be
ashamed of.’’

Two transgendered demonstrators who strongly condemned the flyer were on
hand at a Tim Hortons coffee shop in London, where Hudak stopped to
greet supporters and help out behind the counter.

``Tim, can you comment on the hate propaganda your party’s put out
against trans people?’’ yelled Michelle Boyce, 42, as Hudak headed into
the shop.

Hudak didn’t stop or look in Boyce’s direction.

``I’ll take that as a no,’’ Boyce said.

The Liberals point out that Ontario’s sex-ed curriculum hasn’t changed
since 1998, when the Conservatives were in power. They also accused the
Tories of twisting elements in the guidebook that they believe will
alarm parents.

McGuinty withdrew a new sex-ed curriculum last year after some religious
and conservative groups said they were uncomfortable with kids in Grade
3 being taught about same-sex families and sexual orientation. It
hasn’t yet been re-introduced.

The Toronto guidebook recommends schools not send home notes or
permission slips before starting any class work on lesbian, gay,
bisexual transgendered or queer issues.

If a school treats sexual orientation or anti-homophobia differently
from the other curriculum topics ``this could be construed as
discriminatory practice,’’ the curriculum guide concludes.

It said there should be no accommodations for parents who want their
children exempted from the anti-homophobia discussions because of
religious reasons or for teachers who feel it contradicts their beliefs.

Hudak, who embarked Monday on a marathon campaign day through southern
Ontario, also laughed off suggestions that he’s stalled in public
opinion polls and has only managed to win the endorsement of one
national newspaper.

With just three days to go until Thursday’s election, polls suggest
Ontario may end up with it’s first minority government in 26 years, with
the NDP as kingmakers to either a Liberal or Tory administration.

Hudak stormed several Liberal-held ridings, starting with a
crack-of-dawn stop in Windsor before heading to Amherstburg, Blenheim
and London.

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