But if Premier Kathleen Wynne thought bringing in two 13-year-old girls to help push through her new sex education curriculum would prevent push back, she misread it.
When it comes to Wynne's hope to start teaching children in Grade 1 about sexual consent, an appalled Dr. Charles McVety - president of Canada Christian College - let it be known it won't be done without a fight.
Here's Warmington's frame: Wynne, that dastardly woman Premier, is manipulating children (little non-sentient creatures who are supposed to be protected from the world by their parents until a ritualistic coming-of-age) as political pawns. Shameful.
Here's Vety's frame: this ungodly lesbian woman is trying to teach children to accept sex, because to even talk about sex is to suggest getting to yes is the objective. Sex, after all, is sinful, unless it's procreative and within the context of holy matrimony.
There are audiences who will jump on such frames. Clearly, their are politicians who will seek advantage in pushing those frames, possibly including Monte McNaughton. He can differentiate himself from Christine Elliot by owning the issue and set himself up as the only one who can protect youth from evil Liberal attempts to sexualize children.
That's their frame. Now here are a couple of factoids reflective of actual reality.
Millenials are a growing force to be contended with - they make up a full half of the workforce and, as baby boomers fade off into a retirement sunset many Millenials fear will be denied them, they recognize that the 20th Century social model is failing them.
Still on Millenials - they aren't motivated by the same aspirations that drove their parents; they're more interested in social ownership than just property. They want to engage grow, build communities, put people and the planet before profit, etc. This can be interpreted as lefty socialism or more right-leaning entrepreneurialism and direct participation in the nation-builder sense.
Now, on to religion. Believe it or not, religious inclinations and the buying-in to complete religious ideologies is decreasing. Youth don't see organized religion as representative of their reality or embodying of their values any more than they feel government has their long-term interests at heart. If anything, youth feel that traditional institutions have played a massive role in mucking up the world previous generations borrowed from them.
This applies equally to second-gen Canadians as to those whose families have been here for ages. "We're not married to your past," they say. "We have to protect our future by building a world that can sustain it."
Then, there's the reality of Gomeshi, the Parliament Hill assault scandals and the overarchinig and incredibly uncomfortable public conversation around unspoken sexual abuse that largely involves powerful older men targeting younger women.
Now let's add this all up:
On the one hand, you have the Warmingtons and Vetys of the world, aghast at the idea of kids learning about sex, being indoctrinated into an adult world before their time and in a way that subverts traditional sexual enculturation (talk birds and bees, ignore sex entirely until the kids get married). They see youth as pawns, ie without ownership, without will, without any ability or right to speak for themselves or make decisions about their own self-interest.
On the other hand, there are youth who see the Warmingtons and Vetys of the world as poster-boys for everything that's wrong with the world; chauvinist, borderline imperialist with their sense of cultural superiority, instigators of social disorder and apologists for every male who has abused power so they can abuse young women.
Remember - Tessa Hill and Lia Valente started a petition; they did indeed lobby the government and were successful at it, too. If the tables were turned and it was Warmington and Vety at the podium, talking with the Premier about the need to keep kids in the dark about rules of engagement around sex and just hoping predators would leave them alone, the Warmingtons and Vetys of the world would be congratulating themselves on their win. It's patronizing, hypocritical, domineering.
That a Conservative leadership hopeful would miss the demographic reality behind this scenario suggests they're either super short-sighted or hopelessly cynical.
Meanwhile, there's Kathleen Wynne, right in the middle. She's not using the youth as pawns - they came to her. The Premier is serving as a conduit for their message, their initiative and their taking ownership of their own future.
Hill and Valente are stepping up in the same vein as Morgan Baskin and Munira Abukar; don't judge us by our age or our gender, they're telling us:
- this is our time, folks; we hope you'll be with us, but we're moving forward regardless
That's their frame. They feel that the educational status-quo is putting them at risk. They feel the institutional status quo is impeding their opportunities. They feel that the old boys' network is intentionally keeping them down so that the Warmingtons and Vetys can continue to reap more than their fair share of society's benefits.
With Premier Kathleen Wynne, however, they see someone who listens, who treats them seriously and understands their perspective. They see Wynne as their advocate.
Wynne knows exactly what she's doing. The game is changing, and she's adapting in ways that are both strategically beneficial and better for Ontario in the long term.
If there is a fight brewing, it isn't between the left and right; it's between the past and the future.
Wynne knows which side she's on. Her opponents are making it pretty clear which side they're on, too.