HALIFAX, NS – Progressive Conservative leader Jamie Baillie told the NDP government the PC Caucus is ready to work with them to find solutions to prevent cyberbullying. In addition, he called on the government to implement all recommendations of its own task force, including early intervention programs.
Rehtaeh Parsons tragic story highlights the need for stricter measures to protect our children and for more accountability when bullying is known to be taking place.
“If we can save one life by taking stronger action, it is worth it. Bullying and cyberbullying devastate families, polarize communities and make children feel unsafe in their own schools,” said Baillie. “We’ve put forward legislation with real measures to protect our kids and we’d be happy to work with the NDP to find other meaningful solutions.”
The NDP’s Cyberbullying Task Force, led by Dr. Wayne MacKay, recommends that intervention programs be put in place and that cyberbullying be defined in law. Unfortunately, not all recommendations have been acted upon by the NDP government.
The PC Caucus put forward legislation last spring that takes substantive action by defining cyberbullying in law, making it an offence and putting in place province-wide standards for bullying prevention, reporting and early intervention.
Dr. MacKay, has spoken favourably of the PC anti-bullying plan. On April 18, 2012, he said “One of the things that was certainly true in the proposed Tory legislation was some very specific action with accountability on parents, accountability on school boards, accountability on schools and I think there does need to be some action measures while you measure the data.”
• The Safer Schools Act: Defines bullying in law and compels the Minister of Education to put in place province-wide standards for bullying prevention, reporting and intervention; requires that the Minister consider appropriate disciplinary measures when bullying occurs; compels school boards to establish disciplinary policies for their own schools, consistent with province-wide standards, and report annually on their results.
• The Cyberbullying Intervent
ion Act: Defines cyberbullying in law, makes it an offence, and provides for penalties or, in appropriate cases, for offenders to be redirected to complete an alternative measures program; empowers judges to order restrictions on use of electronic devices, including confiscation, if it is in the public interest to do so; and
• The Stand Up Against Bullying Day Act: Raises awareness of bullying in our communities by designating the second Thursday of September each year as Stand Up Against Bullying Day.