Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Conservative Leadership Hopeful Compares Ontario Sex Ed to Residential Schools

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Conservative Leadership Hopeful Compares Ontario Sex Ed to Residential Schools

Article excerpt

MP compares sex ed to residential schools

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TORONTO - Conservative leadership hopeful Brad Trost raised some eyebrows Wednesday when he compared Ontario's new sex-education curriculum to residential schools.

Trost joined a couple hundred parents gathered outside the provincial legislature to protest Liberal changes to the way sex education is taught in the province.

The updated document includes warnings about online bullying and sexting, but some parents have taken issue with discussions of same-sex marriage, masturbation and gender identities.

Unlike at their previous rallies, the protesters also lashed out at Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown, whose flip-flopping on the issue has made him a target of the ire of many social conservatives.

Trost, known for his opposition to same-sex marriage, was one of the guest speakers at the protest.

"You have a responsibility, a responsibility that you take very seriously, a sacred responsibility to do what is right for your children," the Saskatchewan MP told the crowd.

"We in Canada, when we have taken away those rights from parents we have had a disaster each and every time. The most tragic incident in our history was the residential schools and that was the underlying problem: parental rights were not respected."

About 150,000 First Nations, Inuit and Metis children were taken from their families and forced to attend government schools. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission heard graphic testimony from survivors who detailed physical, sexual and emotional abuse at the schools.

Trost said after his speech that the Ontario sex-ed curriculum is "not nearly" the same level of seriousness as residential schools, but "the underlying principle is the same."

He was hesitant to comment on the controversy surrounding Brown, his former Conservative caucus colleague, but said his "personal friend" has always been "a shy guy when it comes to policy and things like that. …

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