By Jonathon Van Maren
Back when he was running for the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario, Doug Ford was crystal clear: “gender identity theory” was a liberal ideology that had no place in schools. Additionally, curriculums were being used by progressives as a way of teaching their ideology to other people’s children. “Can your listeners, and yourself, tell me what the six genders are?” he asked radio host Andrew Lawton.
But now Doug Ford is premier, and it appears that one of the requirements for being a Canadian conservative leader these days is to identify as someone who isn’t conservative at all. In the wake of the PC convention this weekend, where parental rights advocate and former leadership candidate Tanya Granic Allen championed a resolution that echoed Ford’s views on gender identity theory during the leadership campaign, Ford has done an abrupt about-turn:
On Monday, Ford stressed that Saturday’s vote on Granic Allen’s resolution was non-binding.
“It came from the floor,” he said. “I’m not moving forward with that. So, it’s done.”
Ford’s office followed up on his remarks with a brief statement saying the premier will “explore every option as Leader of the Ontario PC Party to prevent this resolution from moving forward.”
Education Minister Lisa Thompson also stressed that the gender identity resolution at the weekend convention “has nothing at all to do with government policy.”
So apparently Ford has made his peace with the idea that there are six (or whatever the number is now) genders, and has decided that he’d rather have gender identity theory in schools than have to fight with a few trans activists about an issue of imminent importance to the safety of children. (In the UK, for example, the equalities minister is now calling for an investigation into the fact that there has been a 4000% spike in children identifying as trans, and one teacher recently came forward to say that of the 17 students identifying as trans at her school, most are autistic—and some are already getting double-mastectomies.)
Ford, it turns out, is all about the people—until those people vote for a resolution that aligns with Ford pre-premiership—he now obviously has other things to consider, such as what the Toronto Star and the progressive elites might say about him. That, and I’m sure he has had to calm down skittish MPPs trained by Patrick Brown to bolt at the sound of a social conservative clearing his or her throat. Either way, this is an out-and-out betrayal on an issue that is extraordinarily important: Wherever gender theory has been implemented in schools, the number of children requesting transition, hormone blockers, and even physical surgery has skyrocketed.
But Canada’s conservative leaders have become almost farcical in their unwillingness to say anything that might be controversial—or even simply common sense. I’d like to know if a single conservative leader in Canada would be willing to say, into a microphone, this simple sentence: “Men can’t get pregnant.” Or, if that seems too brave, perhaps: “Women don’t have penises.” I’m willing to put money on it that not one of our current conservative thought leaders would be willing to say something that would have been blindingly obvious to every previous generation not just of conservatives, but of people. This is what rock bottom looks like.
Sure, there’s always excuses. The time is never right to say the obvious, and so Canadian progressives take power, transform the jurisdictions they govern, and then hand them back off to conservatives who generally refuse to change a single thing besides tax policy. Canadian conservatives are extraordinarily brave in private, but only manage to pipsqueak the pre-approved progressive talking points in public. The truth is that many of them actually believe in conservative principles, but most of them are not willing to actually defend them in public, even if children are at risk. And so men like Justin Trudeau and women like Rachel Notley actually run Canada, because even when they get replaced—their policies do not.
That’s why you have populist Doug Ford, the anti-elitist sledgehammer, defending gender theory in schools mere months after he mocked the idea that there is six genders (and I’ll bet he still can’t name them). It seems that the transition from the campaign trail to the halls of power is often accompanied by surgical alterations.
For anyone interested, my book on The Culture War, which analyzes the journey our culture has taken from the way it was to the way it is and examines the Sexual Revolution, hook-up culture, the rise of the porn plague, abortion, commodity culture, euthanasia, and the gay rights movement, is available for sale here.