July 14, 2018

CBC News: Protesters rally against Ford government at Queen's Park

Sweeping changes by new provincial government include ending cap-and-trade, repealing sex-ed curriculum

Around 150 people gathered outside Queen's Park on Saturday to rally against several changes by the new Ontario government.

Chester Madrazo, one of the organizers, said the morning rally was in support of public services and marginalized people.

Premier Doug Ford has vowed to bring sweeping changes to the province, including ending cap-and-trade and repealing the current sex-ed curriculum.

Outside the legislature, demonstrators held "15 and Fairness" signs, condemned changes to the provincial curriculum, expressed worry about the environment and showed concern for potential budget cuts to social programs. 

Indygo Arscott, 16, spoke against the last-minute decision to cancel curriculum-writing sessions aimed at bringing more Indigenous content into Ontario classrooms.

"While I am only a child, my heart lies with the children of the future," said Arscott to the crowd.

Incorporating Indigenous knowledge and history into the K-12 curriculum is crucial step in reconciliation, Arscott said.

"We have a right to view ourselves ... in education systems. We are a multidimensional people, and we deserve to be recognized as more than our trauma."

Arscott, who will be going into Grade 11, fears that recent education decisions will leave young people "fearful and uninformed." 

"You must teach the curriculum you want to reflect the future," Arscott said.

Carolyn Ferns of the Ontario Coalition for Better Childcare said she's worried the new government will make cuts to childcare.

It took years of consultation and organizing to get the new childcare spaces promised by the previous government, and families are depending on them, Ferns said.

'When I saw the first things that the Ford government was attacking, they're all attacks on children," said Ferns.

"If it's abandoning asylum seekers, those are attacks on families. If it's repealing the sex-ed curriculum, those are attacks on our kids."

Madrazo is troubled by many of Ford's decisions and said Saturday's rally was "just the beginning."

He said there will be starting an online group called Ontarians for Social Progress where people can organize and discuss various issues.

Madrazo added that organizers are not looking at the Ford government as enemies but just want to work together to ensure social programs stand.

Read the CBC News Story