Conservative Religious Groups Attack Ontario Anti-Bullying Initiatives

by | December 8, 2011
filed under Can-Con, LGBT, Politics

For those who thought this was just an American thing, check out this CTV news clip of a press conference put on by Campaign Life and the Institute for Canadian Values, in which they call Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty a bad Catholic for his new anti-homophobic bullying policy, which will also be applied to the province’s publicly funded Catholic schools. The policy includes support for Gay-Straight Alliance clubs and was brought in in the wake of the death of teen Jamie Hubley, who committed suicide a few months ago after being bullied for being gay.

In the Toronto Star, the groups called the anti-bullying initiatives a front for a “radical sex education” agenda:

But there is a time and place for everything, said Rondo Thomas, of the Toronto-based Evangelical Association, but there is no “time and place” in an 8-year-old’s mind to try to make them conceptualize something beyond “tying their shoes.”

“The anti-bullying legislation that Mr. McGuinty is proposing constitutes a violation of our religious freedoms that are guaranteed by the Charter of Rights and further to that, it violates the common law of separation of church and state,” he said.

If the Institute for Canadian Values sounds familiar, they’re the same folks who are panicked about the possibility of trans people using public washrooms and who have spent a lot of money running transphobic ads in Canadian newspapers, prompting protests and an apology from the National Post.

To their credit, the Ontario government is sticking to its guns on this policy, despite not always being so supportive of GSAs at Catholic schools in the past. According to McGuinty in the Star:

“I fully expect Catholic kids will use the word ‘gay,’ ” said McGuinty. “I fully expect Catholic teachers will use the word ‘gay’ and as a Catholic premier in Ontario, I am going to talk about gay kids.”



  • ErinvH

    If Catholic schools want to teach bigotry, they can go ahead and do it. Refuse public funds and become Catholic private schools, and then the anti-bullying policy won’t apply to them.

    But if they’re going to take public money for an alternate public education, sometimes they’re going to have to accept that public policy doesn’t march in lock-step with Catholic values.

    Kudos to Mr. McGuinty for doing the right thing here. It’s overdue.

  • Joseph

    Should tax paying families be able to send their children to a publicly school without their children being taught subject material that is morally opposed to their religious beliefs? Teaching proper social behaviour is a role of publicly funded schools, so absolutely teach our children that bullying others is not acceptable. This is a very different thing than imposing, via the curriculum, a set of moral beliefs that are in opposition to the religious beliefs of many Canadians. Let us teach our children to live peacefully and productively in the pluralistic society we live in, without infringing on the religious beliefs of others. While we are at it, Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals should sit it on the lesson.

  • ErinvH

    “Some families in Ontario have two mommies, or two daddies. Your religion may not think this is a good idea, and your religion is welcome to hold that belief, as are you. What you are not allowed to do is discriminate against these families or bully them.”

    If your religion doesn’t want kids hearing the above message, then it’s your religion that is out of step with the rest of the country. Public funds are no longer “your tax dollars.” They belong to the public, including the LGBTQ community, to be used in ways that make all of society better for everyone in it.