Dany Morin, the NDP MP for Chicoutimi-Le Fjord, was in the St. John's area on Monday to drum up support for a national anti-bullying strategy.
Morin, one of the youngest MPs in Parliament, and is openly gay, said he knows first hand about bullying, having been bullied in school from the time he was 10 until he was 15 years old.
"It was mostly verbal bullying and some physical bullying," recalled Morin. "Some of this bullying was due to me being overweight back then, but also due to my sexual orientation."
"It was a pretty dark time."
'It was a pretty dark time.' —Dany Morin, NDP MP for Chicoutimi-Le Fjord
Morin introduced a motion in Parliament which called for a national strategy to combat bullying, but it got voted down. That has not stopped Morin from talking to students and teachers across the country about the issue.
"It is important to continue to talk about it, and to put pressure on the federal government to act on it, and not have to wait until the next young Canadian will not be able to live any longer with the bullying. "
MPs speak with students
Morin, along with Ryan Cleary, the NDP MP for St. John's South-Mount Pearl, spoke with reporters before heading out to talk with Grade 9 students at Holy Cross Junior High in St. John's and St. Peter's Junior High in Mount Pearl about bullying.
"Think twice before you tweet. Before you Facebook. What you are saying and what you are posting," Cleary pointed out. "Think twice. Everything has a consequence."
Morin noted that most bullying issues fall under provincial jurisdictions. However, he said cyber-bullying, through text messages, email and social media, falls under federal telecommunications jurisdictions, through the CRTC.
He suggested that just as federal authorities can track down child pornographers, a similar system could be set up to track down cyber-bullies.
"So a kid being bullied on Facebook, for example, could go on this website and lodge a complaint, screen captures, link," said Morin. "And then if the bullying complaint is valid, then they could track down the owner of the IP address of the bully."
Morin and Cleary have scheduled a public forum on bullying at Admiralty House in Mount Pearl for Monday evening, starting at 7 p.m.