The Alberta cabinet minister in charge of anti-bullying issues says she doesn't think new provincial legislation is the right way to tackle the problem.

Sandra Jansen, the associate minister of family and community safety, spoke on a panel hosted by the Rocky Mountain Civil Liberties Association on Thursday night.

The Calgary-North West MLA said the threat of punishment alone does not deter bullies.

“I can tell you right now that from what I've seen I don't feel at this point strongly that legislation is where we want to go in this province,” she said.


At a panel discussion hosted on Thursday night by the Rocky Mountain Civil Liberties Association, Sandra Jansen, the associate minister of family and community safety, said the province is not looking at anti-bullying legislation. (CBC)

Several Alberta municipalities have passed local anti-bullying laws, including Airdrie, where Mayor Peter Brown said his own children have been victims.

“I am a less-government kind of guy, but I think with this particular issue we’re actually supporting those individuals and making sure that they're safe and secure, and that's the way people should feel.”

Derek From, a lawyer for the Canadian Constitution Foundation, worries that such laws overstep their bounds.

“When people do harm they should be punished, but I have problems with legislation that is unconstitutional,” he said.

“No one endorses bullying, but I have a problem with — if it’s purely to restrict the expression of ideas — municipalities cannot do that.”

Jansen also said a provincial anti-bullying law might not stand up to a court challenge

But she said the province is planning to include some anti-bullying provisions in its new education act that would only apply to schools and carry limited penalties.