Conservatives hinted Monday the government will likely reject an NDP MP’s call for a national anti-bullying strategy.
NDP MP Dany Morin’s motion, which calls for the feds to establish a special committee to develop a bullying prevention framework, was debated in the Commons on Monday and will face a vote at a later date.
Morin, who said he used to be a victim of bullying, says there is currently a patchwork system to tackle bullying. He envisions a pan-Canadian strategy to carve out best practices.
“We need to co-ordinate and help facilitate, as much as possible, the good work … that is produced to prevent bullying,” Morin said, citing bullying is a “nationwide” issue.
Candice Bergen, the parliamentary secretary for Public Safety, told the Commons “bullying is always wrong” but said the issue is best dealt with “at the local level” through educational, legal and medical professionals.
Bergen says anti-bullying information is also already provided by some federal departments, including the Public Health Agency of Canada.
Dr. David Smith, a researcher in the education faculty at the University of Ottawa, who studies bullying, says current federal initiatives tend to be “relatively small scale” and they do not make a significant impact.
Smith is a member of PREVNet, an organization comprised of Canadian researchers who support a national bullying strategy.
“I think as the events of last week indicate, it is something that affects all of us across Canada notwithstanding provincial borders. We need national leadership on the issue,” Smith said.
The B.C. RCMP announced last week it would investigate the circumstances surrounding the highly publicized suicide of 15-year-old Amanda Todd.
Todd documented her personal struggles on a YouTube video prior to her death. About 20 RCMP officers have now been asked to investigate her case.