Jamie Hubley was 15 years old when he committed suicide last October

Father of suicide victim pleads for anti-bullying bill that protects all students

  • May 29, 2012

OTTAWA - The father of suicide victim Jamie Hubley made an emotional plea for the Ontario government to stop focussing on same-sex bullying and draft an anti-bullying law that does not single out any group for special treatment.

“I ask you to protect every child equally,” said Ottawa City Councilor Hubley.

He was speaking May 22 at an Ontario government social policy committee hearing on two proposed anti-bullying bills, the government’s Bill 13 and the Conservative’s Bill 14 (renamed Bill 80).

Hubley’s 15-year-old son, an openly gay teenager, committed suicide last October and his death became a catalyst for the Dalton McGuinty government’s Bill 13, which mandates student-led gay-straight alliances (GSAs) even in Catholic schools and elevates homophobia as a main cause of bullying.  

Hubley urged the combining of the two bills, leaving out contentious elements that would give special status to some groups.  

“It’s important that all kids go to one group to learn how to respect each other,” he said.

“This kind of club would provide safety in numbers.”

Hubley said his son was the only openly gay person at his high school. Having a GSA for just one student “would have made him a target.” Jamie created a Rainbow Club that, his father said, was a place for kids being bullied for whatever reason.

On May 28, the Catholic Civil Rights League released an analysis of the government hearings that showed unanimous support for combatting bullying but overwhelming rejection of Bill-13.

“Of the different groups presenting to the social policy committee between May 7-15 (in Toronto), 28 were strongly against Bill 13, 15 were in favour, and one had strong preferences for parts of both 13 and 14,” said League executive director Joanne McGarry.

“As we said at the hearings, when parents choose Catholic schools for their children, they do so with the expectation that Catholic teaching will be taught and upheld,” said McGarry.

“Among other things, this means that student clubs should be supervised by adults who are knowledgeable about the Catholic faith.”

A vote is expected on Bill-13 before the end of the spring session in the coming days

“If there is no change to recognize the constitutionally-guaranteed rights of Catholic schools, a court challenge may be anticipated,” McGarry warned.

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