don’t forget to fact-check

I’m a huge politics nerd, but certain things really grind my gears.

With the Ontario elections only days away, Tim Hudak is standing up for an obviously misleading and quite homophobic piece of literature being circulated by the Ontario conservatives. The literature references a document created by the Toronto District School Board entitled Challenging Homophobia and Heterosexism: A K-12 Curriculum Resource Guide aimed at creating a more inclusive environment, starting in Grade 1.

The literature references suggestions that are shocking to most. However, with a little bit of fact-checking (see: reading the actual document and not taking partisan literature at face value), it becomes painfully obvious how out of context and misleading these “suggestions” are. Ivor Tossell at the Toronto Standard did a great job at pointing out the obvious flaws in logic and fact, so I won’t go into this further. Read through his article (or, hey, even the document) and it’s clear that all the school board is trying to do is set the stage for inclusivity.

Of course, Hudak doesn’t want this. Instead, he’s taken the opportunity to frame the McGuinty government as one that wants to confuse and corrupt your children.

Hudak’s comments:
“I think they reflect Dalton McGuinty’s out-of-the-mainstream policy ideas to have a sex-ed curriculum that would begin with Grade ones,” said Hudak when asked about the flyers.

“And the notion that Dalton McGuinty thinks a priority in our education system is a sex-ed curriculum starting at Grade 1 when they should be learning their ABCs, or math skills, tying their shoes — I just think this just shows another example of how Dalton McGuinty’s lost touch with mainstream Ontario.”
– source: CBC 

As a friend of mine pointed out, it’s actually a little concerning that Hudak believes children should be learning their ABCs in first grade. I’m inclined to agree, especially since I explained how you get an epidural and why to my preschool class [parents: it’s true. Your kids are listening to “adult” conversations]. Oh, I could also write in cursive, read and do basic math. I’m sure this goes for many. But, hey, let’s work on our ABCs instead. This same friend, wise beyond his years, explained:

“Education should reflect the times, and like it or not, the information is now out there and more accessible than ever. It’s better that the education system be a reliable and honest source of information that students can trust and respect, rather than have them go it alone, experiment and figure it out themselves.”

Hudak wants children to be kept in the dark about the world in a time when information should be freely shared and available. He wants parents to be fear-mongered into voting Conservative, under the guise that their children’s innocent and malleable notions about the world will be protected by the government in our Gossip Girl & Glee-watching society. He’s also defending literature that smacks of trans- and homophobia.

Let’s be real. I’m actually offended that this kind of literature was distributed. It suggests that we as voters simply aren’t intelligent enough to see past the partisan party lines and out of context quotes to make an informed decision. Let this be a lesson to us all: don’t forget to fact-check.