Canadian Legislator Wants Anti-bullying Campaign
A Canadian legislator is proposing a national anti-bullying campaign amid mounting anecdotal (and some statistical) evidence that bullying is on the rise thanks to social media.
Dany Morin, a member of Canada’s lower house of parliament, made his proposal following the much-publicized suicide of Amanda Todd, a 15-year old in Vancouver, who killed herself several weeks after posting a heartfelt account of her experience being bullied both online and offline. As if to indicate the extent of the problem, online memorials to Todd have attracted hateful posts, which are eliciting a new wave of anger over bullies and anonymous online trolls.
Speaking before the Canadian House of Commons, Morin noted that social media gives bullies a new, far more invasive channel to torment vulnerable victims. “Yes, I was bullied when I was young, except that in my time there was no Facebook or social media,” Morin recalled. However, “Nowadays, with cyber bullying, with social media, it has gotten to a breaking point.” He concluded: “It is a nationwide problem and it is, unfortunately, only growing with time.”
Morin’s motion calls for the development of a national anti-bullying strategy, including a panel to study the prevalence of bullying and also seek to combat it. The focus would be on education and prevention, rather than attempting to formulate legal sanctions for behaviors which often don’t cross the line into actual criminality.
Replying to the motion, representatives from the Conservative government pointed out that several parliamentary committees have already been formed to study the problem of bullying, and that energy might be better devoted to cracking down on truly dangerous bullying, i.e, behaviors that are actually criminal. They added that the most effective anti-bullying efforts would probably be local initiatives involving parents, educators, healthcare workers, and law enforcement.