Feds to create bullying prevention strategy 0
(QMI Agency file photo)
Last month, a private member’s motion in the House of Commons to strike an all-party committee to create a national anti-bullying strategy received unanimous support from MPs.
That motion followed the suicide of B.C. teenager Amanda Todd, who took her own life not long after posting a video YouTube that documented her painful, years-long struggle with bullying.
“I think, quite frankly, what happened is that members of Parliament kind of reacted the same way that people across Canada did, with kind of horror and the sense that we need to do something to send a message that this is unacceptable,” Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock MP Barry Devolin told the paper.
The MP said technology has broadened the scope and intensity of bullying.
“With the Internet and social media, that’s a whole new way of bullying,” Devolin said, adding that he sometimes gets harassed via his Twitter account. “It tends to be anonymous. The anonymity of the Internet lets people do horrible things that they probably couldn’t bring themselves to do face-to-face.”
Devolin said he thinks it’s becoming clearer that bullying is major problem that needs to be dealt with at a societal level.
“There was a time when drinking and driving was kind of thought of in the same category as speeding,” he said, a drastic contrast to today. “As a society, we said, ‘no, too many people are being killed.’ I think bullying is moving in the same direction.”
A solution, though, will be difficult to nail down.
“The specifics of it, I think, would have to do with traceability of things through social media,” Devolin said.
He noted that his colleague, Peterborough MP Dean Del Mastro, has been calling for some kind of standard to be introduced to reduce anonymity on the Internet.
Devolin said looking at criminal charges may also be something MPs consider, but that a definition of bullying that could stand up in court would have to be established.
“We can define what the penalty is for stepping over the line, but we kind of have to draw the line first,” he said.
With children aged eight and 10, Devolin shares the concern of any parent.
“This really scares me that my kids could get caught up in this and as a parent, I may not know about it.”
The private member’s motion was brought forward by NDP MP Dany Morin.