I’m very happy today to see the Federal Government announce a national anti-bullying strategy. The strategy allows for young people to take a leadership role in not only identifying and combating bullying but also in supporting victims.
Something that has always bothered me and Rehtaeh’s mother was the lack of support from other kids. Kids who knew Rehtaeh since she was in kindergarden didn’t help her or come forward and report what had happened because they were afraid or they didn’t know what to do. I deeply hope this is something that can make it easier for others to stand up and offer help to those in need.
Today Laureen Harper and Heritage Minister James Moore were joined by Allan Hubley, a father who lost his son in 2011, to make the announcement in Ottawa. Hubley is an Ottawa city councillor and his son Jamie was 15 when he died by suicide. The only openly gay student at his high school, Jamie was bullied by his schoolmates and struggled with depression.
The new anti-bullying and anti-discrimination strategy is being set up in partnership with the Canadian Red Cross and will see thousands of young people trained to host anti-bullying workshops in their communities.
“In the past few months and indeed years, communities across the country, including this one, have been deeply affected by tragedies related to bullying, cyber bullying and intimidation and there are far too many tragedies,” Moore said, citing the deaths of Rehtaeh Parsons and Amanda Todd.
He emphasized: “If we do nothing it will lead to the death of children. Doing nothing leads to the death of children.” Hubley said too many families have lost a child due to bullying.
The Canadian Red Cross’s Stand Up to Bullying and Discrimination in Canadian Communities project will get $250,000 in funding from Canadian Heritage’s Youth Take Charge program, Moore said.
About 2,400 young people, ages 13 to 17, will be trained during the first part of the program to deliver workshops, presentations and other special events about bullying and cyberbullying.
This is a truly great step in the right direction and I am very thankful to Laureen Harper for her involvement in protecting children.