Yasir Naqvi was initially cautious about Ontario’s 2010 health and physical education curriculum but, he says, he took the weekend to do a little research.
He read the 1998 and 2010 curricula and talked to friends and constituents who have children. His verdict?
“I didn’t find anything offensive whatsoever,” he says. “I will be working in caucus to make sure that this curriculum is implemented.”
Naqvi’s endorsement means that representatives of the province’s two biggest gaybourhoods — Naqvi and fellow Liberal Glen Murray — are both on side.
Naqvi says that while “we shouldn’t undermine the dialogue” sparked by fresh consultations, he’s heartened by the curriculum’s anti-discrimination and anti-homophobia planks, and its spirit of “cherishing difference.”
In January, the province released an updated sexual education and health curriculum, the first in 12 years. But after complaints from the religious right, McGuinty said on April 22 that the province would pull the new curriculum, pending a “rethink” and further consultations with parents.
His comments follow a stream of endorsements of the 2010 plan, including from the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario, Queer Ontario, Egale Canada, Planned Parenthood Ottawa and the AIDS Committee of Toronto.
“It’s age appropriate,” says Naqvi. “I’m really hopeful that parents will get comfortable with this curriculum.”