WINNIPEG, Manitoba, 12 February, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – “Don’t let yourselves go the way of Ontario’s tyranny,” one pro-family group is warning the citizens of Manitoba in response to a new “anti-bullying” bill introduced in December by the NDP government.
Critics say that Bill 18, following upon the heels of McGuinty’s very similar Bill 13, which passed in Ontario last June, is more about pushing the homosexual political agenda on students than fighting bullying.
“McGuinty’s bill really had nothing at all to do with protecting children from bullying,” says Jack Fonseca, project manager at Campaign Life Coalition, to LifeSiteNews.com.
“It was a convenient covering, a ruse, to promote homosexuality to the next generation and to brainwash them into rejecting their parents’ values. Bill 18 is simply another bill 13,”
Bill 18 will establish a “human diversity policy” that “must accommodate pupils who want to establish and lead activities and organizations that (a) promote (i) gender equity, [… and] (iv) the awareness and understanding of, and respect for, people of all sexual orientations and gender identities”.
The bill states explicitly that students who want to form an anti-bullying club must be allowed to “use the name ‘gay-straight alliance’ or any other name that is consistent with the promotion of a positive school environment that is inclusive and accepting of all pupils.”
The bill broadly defines bullying as a “behaviour that (a) is intended to cause, or should be known to cause, fear, intimidation, humiliation, distress or other forms of harm to another person's body, feelings, self-esteem, reputation or property; or (b) is intended to create, or should be known to create, a negative school environment for another person.”
One Manitoba MLA has criticized the bill as being too vague in its definition of bullying. “You can call it anti-bullying but when I read the bill there's a lot of things in there that I don't think are going to help prevent bullying at all,” said Steinbach MLA Kelvin Goertzen. “It includes ‘hurt feelings’, which is broad enough to mean nothing,” he said.
Goertzen said that many of his constituents have expressed concern that the bill will impede their religious freedom.
The Bill would require that each school board establish a “respect for human diversity policy” to implement that bill’s measures.
Fonseca said he would like to see Manitoba avoid the mistake that Ontario made. He pointed out the “horrible consequences” of Bill 13’s passage eight months ago.
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“The Catholic Church was forced to violate its religious beliefs by accepting openly homosexual student clubs in Catholic schools, despite opposition from Ontario’s bishops and concerned parents,” he said.
Fonseca also pointed out how Ontario’s Education Minister Laurel Broten had suggested last year that Catholic teaching on abortion violates the anti-bullying bill because it is “misogyny.”
“We do not allow and we’re very clear with the passage of Bill 13 that Catholic teachings cannot be taught in our schools that violates human rights and which brings a lack of acceptance to participation in schools,” she said when asked if it’s okay for the schools to encourage pro-life rallies.
Fonseca said that if Bill 18 were really about curbing bullying, it would not ignore the top reasons students bully one another, which surveys have found to be based on body-image and appearance, school grades, and cultural background and ethnicity.
Campaign Life Coalition is urging Manitobans to “get into the streets over this – at the legislature and their MLA’s constituency office. Don’t let yourselves go the way of Ontario’s tyranny.”
One group of concerned Manitoba citizens have already put together a website to give parents an easy way to tell government officials that they are “concerned about Bill 18 and want our schools and religious freedom protected.”
The creators of Protectourschools.ca say that portions of Bill 18 “could require schools, including faith based independent schools, to act in ways that are against their values and beliefs”.
“Bill 18 requires schools to accommodate and promote student groups that have values and beliefs in direct contradiction to many faith based independent schools and in contradiction to the communities [where] many public schools are located. The Bill also specifically grants legal protection to certain groups while excluding others from that same protection,” the groups states on the website.
The concerned citizens are worried about the overarching implications of the bill if it becomes law. They point out that many parents originally chose independent faith based schools for their children “specifically because it offers a certain school environment and set of values.”
“Bill 18 erodes that choice by requiring these schools to accommodate and promote groups whose beliefs are in direct contradiction to the teachings of many independent faith based schools.”
Instead of forcing an ambiguous policy that stresses specific protection for a few, the concerned citizens would like to see the Manitoba government “look for democratic and inclusive ways to combat bullying.”
“Forcing public and faith based independent schools to act against their beliefs and their community values is not the way to combat bullying,” the group wrote.
Send email to MB government using protectourschools.ca’s online form.
Form can be used to send emails to:
MB Premier Greg Selinger
Education Minister Nancy Allan
Opposition Leader Brian Pallister
Any MB MLA