On Tuesday July 24, I criticized Doug Ford on my various social media channels for his lack of response to my letters about the sex ed curriculum. Two days later, he sent me a more complete response. I had no way of knowing this email was coming, since his first response did not indicate any intention to follow up later.
Communicating with him was a challenge, to say the least. So here is a brief timeline, given in part as defense of my criticism and also as a lesson about where exactly to contact him. I know the government was in transition at this time, having been sworn in 5 days before I sent my first email, but there was some definite confusion all around.
June 26. I wrote a blog post with a letter people could use to contact Doug Ford, the Minister of Education, or their local MPP about the sex ed curriculum.
June 29. The new government was sworn in.
July 5. I sent Doug Ford an initial email based on my June 26 blog post through a form on the premier’s website. I heard nothing, not even an automated response to indicate my message had been received.
July 11. Ford officially announced he would repeal the sex ed curriculum. Because there was no response to my first email, I sent a second, based on this blog post, to an address I found on the OLA website, email@example.com. I later received a message indicating that this address was not being monitored and advising that I should send my email to Vic Fedeli at the Office of the Leader of the Official Opposition. This was several days after the new government had been sworn in, so it struck me as odd that he would have that title and that a publicly available address for the premier was not being monitored. Still, I forwarded the message to Fedeli.
July 12. I received a reply from Fedeli’s office telling me I could reach Doug Ford at a different address to discuss my “meeting proposal.” (I had not proposed a meeting.) I forwarded my email to the address provided, Premier@ontario.ca. (I have looked but could not find that email address published on the Premier’s website. There is just the form on the Contact page which I used in my first attempt to contact Ford.)
July 24. I received the email below. Unlike most automated responses from politicians, there was nothing in here that indicated further communication was forthcoming. I figured this was all he was going to say on the matter and posted it on social media social out of sheer disgust at the non-response it contained:
July 26. I received the email below. So Ford did provide a response, finally. And, given the confusion in the media about whether pieces of the 2015 curriculum will be taught in the fall, it seems we have an answer: NO. The “entirety” of the 2015 curriculum will be replaced. I am still unclear as to what he means by the 2014 curriculum, since there were no updates between 1998 and 2014. And I have no idea why he is stating that the “new” curriculum he is planning will be age-appropriate, as though the 2015 version is not. It is. I know because my son has been taught it for 3 years.
In the end, however, what matters is that he did attempt a reply, although he did not come close to answering my key question: what in the content of this curriculum does he object to? I wanted an answer to that question to help me understand why he feels it necessary to reject this curriculum instead of using it until his consultations are complete.
For the record, I sent my MPP a letter on July 5 and received a reply on July 19 that read much like Ford’s second response. I also emailed the Minister of Education on July 5. A person in her constituency office replied that day to say she had forwarded the message to the minister’s office. I have heard nothing further from her.
Bottom line on reaching the premier: Bypass the OLA site. The contact form on the premier’s website even seems a bit questionable. Instead, send messages directly to Premier@ontario.ca if you want to reach Doug Ford.