Ford gov’s anti-racism plan doubles down on funding for DEI, left-wing groups
Ford gov’s anti-racism plan doubles down on funding for DEI, left-wing groups

Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government has published a new anti-racism strategic plan that doubles down on “diversity, equity and inclusion” (DEI) initiatives and funding for left-wing organizations.

The plan, published on the Government of Ontario’s website on Aug. 24, commits millions of dollars towards anti-racist initiatives and highlights several recent anti-racist policies implemented by Ford’s PCs.

“Too many individuals are denied opportunities or face discrimination because of the colour of their skin, their cultural identity or their beliefs,” says Ontario’s minister of citizenship and multiculturalism Michael Ford.

The Ford government believes anti-black racism “is deeply entrenched in Canadian institutions, policies and practices,” such that it is “either functionally normalized or rendered invisible to the larger white society.” 

It hopes the new plan will help “break down barriers and address systemic challenges to ensure every Ontarian — from every corner of the province, urban and rural — can participate, contribute and succeed.”

True North has compiled noteworthy initiatives highlighted in the plan. 

The government is doubling down on DEI training, saying it “heard from community members that there is a need for students, teachers, staff and school boards to learn more about anti-racism and the diversity of culture in Canada.” It is currently “working with community partners to enhance and provide culturally relevant and responsive supports, services and resources to students and educators to combat racism, hate and discrimination.”

Ford’s PCs are spending $1 million on, among other things, anti-racist lesson plans and classroom materials while also investing $3 million over 2 years in “anti-hate initiatives that include development of classroom resources to promote diversity.”

The Ford government plans to work in collaboration with several organizations on anti-hate training, including trans rights group Egale Canada.

Among other things, the government funded group opposes parental rights policies and is pushing for restrictions on protests against drag shows for children. As previously reported by True North, Eagle also made headlines for a campaign calling on the CRTC to ban Fox News and for pushing for Christian blue jays player Anthony Bass to be cancelled over a video he made discussing the biblical foundation for boycotting companies that promote gender ideology to children.

Other organizations listed as partners on anti-hate training include the Muslim Association of Canada, African Canadian Coalition against Hate, Oppression and Racism, the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center, FrancoQueer, L’Association Canadienne pour la Promotion des Héritages Africains and the Indigenous Trustees’ Council Chair.

The Ford government is also giving an additional $303,500 to Parents of Black Children – a race-focused organization supportive of Critical Race Theory that opposes the presence of police in schools. As previously reported by True North, the group previously received over one million dollars in government funding, including from Ford’s PCs.

The organization was previously chaired by the founder of controversial DEI consultancy KOJO Institute, Kike Ojo Thompson. A lawsuit against the TDSB alleges late principal Richard Bilkszto was bullied, shamed, humiliated, and accused of upholding white supremacy at an “anti-racism” session by the KOJO Institute after he challenged a claim that Ojo-Thompson made. 

Bilkszto died of suicide two years later, with his family claiming he was dealing with plaguing stress stemming from the incident. 

The allegations have not been proven in court and Ojo-Thompson has denied them.

Parents of Black Children have been strongly defending Ojo-Thompson and her organization amidst blowback, saying she’s being used as a scapegoat by the right wing.

Ontario’s anti-racist plan also highlights a “strengthening (of) standards and anti-racist education for teachers” through the creation of anti-black racism qualifications and anti-black racism professional advisories for teachers. Ford’s PCs have also made DEI training a mandatory PA day activity for teachers.

The province also amended Regulation 437/97 on Professional Misconduct to recognize “hateful remarks and behaviour” as misconduct and modified teacher hiring practices to ensure teacher hiring is dictated by merit, diversity and unique needs.

Other initiatives listed in the Ford government’s anti-racism plan include changes made to trades programs to “increase the representation of Indigenous People and Black and other racialized individuals” by among other things, giving employers “additional milestone payments” for sponsoring apprentices from under-represented groups.

It is also giving $3 million to community organizations that offer sport and recreation programming – placing emphasis “on the principles of diversity, equity and inclusion.”

DEI ideology has been criticized by many as woke, racist and counter productive.  Several U.S. states, including Florida, have moved to ban both DEI ideology and CRT. Some had hoped Ontario would follow suit following the death of Bilkszto. 

While Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce has ordered a review of the circumstances surrounding Bilkszto’s suicide and a review of school trainings, his office told CP24 that DEI training in Ontario schools would continue, calling it “important work.” 

The Ford PCs opting to abet wokism rather than fight it, especially in the education system, has been criticized by many – including members of Ontario’s black community. 

In a 2021 National Post op-ed, author Jamil Jivani, who was appointed as Ontario’s first community opportunities advocate and is now a federal Conservative candidate, accused Lecce of being “a woke liberal in conservative clothing who has turned his back on parents.”

Jivani resigned from the position last year, criticizing the Ford government’s policies.

True North reached out to Minister Ford’s office for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.

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