PAFE Antibullying April 3/4

April 3/4
          Bill 13 was debated in Parliament on April 3 and 4. The house is not sitting next week, so debate would continue two weeks from now at the soonest.
          MPPs spoke about many factors a bullying law should address. MPPs delivered messages from a number of anti-bullying groups, who mostly seem to favour bill 14 because it has no special interest attached to it and because it includes support for victims and effective reporting on bullying incidents.  A group of law students from three universities suggested that bill 13 is problematic because
Legislating that school boards empower only those students who lead clubs from one of four explicitly protected groups-gender equity, anti-racism, respect for students with disabilities, and sexual orientation-sends the message that some grounds for bullying merit more attention and protection than others.

         Though many MPPs are calling for both parties to work together, there is no concensus evident among the speakers as to whether both bills should be treated separately or amalgamated if they go to committee.  

          Many MPPs made memorable speeches, but I would especially like to commend MPP John O'Toole for objecting when MPP Liz Sandals described traditional parents rallying outside Queen's Park as "homophobes" and his eloquent defense of the Respecting Difference document produced by the Catholic Trustees' Association on March 29.  

           Stay tuned for more details on the progress of the bills.