Jamie Hubley's dad defends anti-bullying legislation

James Hubley, the 15-year-old son of Kanata South Councillor Allan Hubley and his wife, Wendy Barber, kept a blog in which he wrote openly of his struggles with depression and the challenges of being an openly gay teenager. James took his own life on Saturday, Oct 15, 2011.



OTTAWA - Allan Hubley, the Ottawa city councillor whose gay teen son killed himself last fall after being harassed by his peers, is worried about groups "hijacking" a process to enact a new anti-bullying law in Ontario.

He's closely following the Ontario Gay Straight Alliance Coalition, which earlier this week at the Ontario legislature called on politicians to quickly pass legislation so gay students would be protected by the start of the next school year.

Hubley, a city councillor who represents the Kanata South ward, wants any new anti-bullying law to protect all students who are being harassed because of their sexual orientation or any other reason.

"I'm troubled by the notion that they're abandoning the other children," Hubley said.

"Obviously, not every child in the school is gay. The whole idea is for kids to be together learning to respect the differences in each other. I'm very troubled that any one group would think they have a priority over all other children."

His son, Jamie, killed himself last October after years of being bullied.

The 15-year-old boy was openly gay and was trying to start a "rainbow club" at school to promote acceptance.

There are currently two proposed bills at Queen's Park that target bullying.

One is sponsored by the Liberal government and the other by the Tory opposition. Both parties are working to combine them into one bill.

"Every MPP needs to rise to the challenge to protect all the children and get the bill passed," Hubley said. "It's important that each measure that they add into the bill helps all kids."

He likes elements of both bills, like mandatory reporting of bullying in the Tory bill, and expelling bullies in the Liberal bill.

Hubley said it's just as important that people stay engaged in the discussion.

A recently released documentary, Bully, has helped ignite that dialogue.

Hubley saw the movie with his wife. It wasn't easy for them to watch, but Hubley said it should be mandatory viewing for teachers and anyone guilty of bullying.

"It was very hard on us," Hubley said. "We saw a lot of similarities to what our boy experienced. It really hit home."

With political parties trying to find consensus on a new anti-bullying law, Hubley hopes they can come to an agreement soon to make sure it's in place by September.

"This will go a long way to help kids," he said.

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