TORONTO, ONTARIO, June 1, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – The father of homosexual suicide victim Jamie Hubley, whose death last fall spurred the McGuinty government’s push for Bill 13, testified to Ontario’s Legislative Assembly that Dalton McGuinty’s proposed anti-bullying legislation would not only have failed to protect his son, but by giving him a label it would have made him more of a target for discrimination.
“From what I read of studies of bullies, they look for what makes you separate from others. They look for something that—you’re different. It could be the clothes you wear; it could be anything,” said Jamie’s father Allan Hubley before the Standing Committee on Social Policy on May 22.
He argued that legislating that each club be given a specific name such as Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) would be to deal with “the issue of bullying in a way that is sure to fail.”
“Jamie was the only openly gay person in his school of over 1,000 students,” the surviving father said. “A GSA with one member, or even a few, would only have made him more of a target.”
“I have to ask you,” he continued, “How many people publicly announce their sexuality before they are out of school and established in their lives? Why, then, would we be considering forcing them to do so at an age when they already have so many pressures to manage?”
Hubley, who is also a city councilor representing Kanata South, would like to see a bill that protects every child from bullying, not just a select group.
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“I respectfully request that no groups be given special status by being named. To do so will only suggest certain children are more important than others, and I do not support that notion,” he said. “I am here today to ask you to protect every child equally.”
One example of how the legislative approach to bullying has seemingly failed comes from the United States. Between 2000 and 2006, 48 pieces of legislation on bullying were passed, with an additional 78 pieces of legislation passed in the next four years, according to Peter Jon Mitchell, senior researcher at the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada.
In his research, Mitchell pointed out how the “proliferation of legislation” against bullies has fueled a growing debate in the U.S. about the effectiveness of “outlawing bullying.”
“Over one hundred state level laws have been enacted in the United States in recent years, however, it appears that bullying remains a serious and unresolved problem,” he said.
Mitchell said that the law may have a role in curbing bullying by “providing clear definitions of bullying behavior, mandating the need for policies, assigning responsibility and empowering educators with disciplinary tools,” but he added that it is “community-level involvement that will best stop bullying.” Since bullying is a “relational problem,” it “requires frontline intervention from parents, students, and educators.”
Hubley, who would be in agreement with Mitchell’s assessment, told the committee that “it’s with the whole community coming together that we can have hope for a better day, and only with our youth being part of the solution.”
Hubley suggested that an effective strategy for combating bullying would consist in combining two anti-bullying bills that are currently being proposed, the government’s Bill 13 and the Conservative’s Bill 14 (recently renamed Bill 80). He said anti-bullying legislation would be stronger if the contentious elements of Bill 13 that gave special status to one group over another were excluded, while including the reporting and accountability mechanisms outlined in Bill 14.
“By modifying and combining the two bills, we gain a much stronger piece of legislation, and by all parties supporting the joint effort, you have the opportunity to send a clear message to all kids that adults can learn to play nice too,” he said.
However, Ontario’s Liberal government has thus far blocked the Progressive Conservative party’s attempt to make substantive changes on the proposed piece of legislation, saying it is “watered-down, weak and ineffective.”
“Sadly, the Liberal government prefers a Liberal bill over a bill that is best for students,” said PC Education Critic, MPP Lisa MacLeod, adding that the Liberals are putting “partisanship ahead of students – and they should be ashamed.”
More than 500 parents and pro-family activists protested the controversial Bill 13 yesterday in Toronto’s Dundas Square, saying that the bill would force homosexual activist groups on the province’s schools, including its Catholic schools.
A vote on Bill 13 is expected at any time.