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Outgoing Letters and Public Statements

January 27, 2012 

Re: "We should use - not attack - the Anti-Bullying Act", January 24, 2012

See the EFC webpage on Bill 13: Accepting Schools Act.

To the editor of Christian Week,

While the purpose of the two anti-bullying bills that are before the Ontario Legislature is laudable, I firmly disagree with the opinion shared in this column regarding them. The column presents some misconceptions that need to be addressed.  

Bills 13 and 14 were not both introduced by the Ontario government. Bill 13, the Safe Schools Act, is a Government (Liberal) Bill. Bill 14, the Anti-Bullying Act, is a Progressive Conservative Private Member’s Bill introduced by Mrs. Witmer, MPP.  Both were introduced on the same day, as each party attempted to legislatively address the issue in their own way. Although, attempting to address a complex issue such as bullying by legislative force is debatable.

The bills were never intended to complement each other. They were presented as alternative proposals. There is significant overlap between the bills, as each: addresses the same root issue; advances its own definition of bullying and cyber-bullying; proposes amendments for bullying reporting mechanisms; and, proposes an annual bullying awareness week. However, Bill 13 goes much further by proposing additional and controversial amendments to the Education Act, such as potentially restricting access to religious congregations that rent school facilities for church services, requiring boards to implement equity and inclusive education policies and mandatory gay-straight alliance clubs.

I trust Ontario residents will carefully review each bill and decide whether they can support one or the other and then call, visit or write their MPP to express support or suggest amendments. Only one of the bills can be passed, or neither.  

 

Faye Sonier, Legal Counsel
The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada

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EFC President Bruce J. Clemenger writes regular commentaries about public policy issues. The EFC magazine Faith Today often publishes articles and essays that examine such issues.

   
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