Catholic schools and parents will soon come to accept the provisions of the government's anti-bullying legislation, according to Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty.
Ontario's anti-bullying bill, also known as Bill 13 or the Accepting Schools Act, passed through the legislature just before noon today by a margin of 65-36. Only the Progressive Conservatives voted against the legislation.
Catholic educators and church leaders oppose the bill because it requires schools to allow students to call anti-homophobia clubs gay-straight alliances if they wish.
McGuinty said the issue of protecting kids from bullying transcends all faiths and partisan politics. He added Catholics would understand the true significance of the bill is to build a stronger, more cohesive society.
School officials not held accountable, Ontario PCs say
The Conservatives say McGuinty used the anti-bullying bill to intentionally trigger a debate over the funding of Catholic schools that they believe Ontarians do not want to have.
Deputy PC leader Christine Elliott also accused the premier of trying to make her party seem homophobic. She also said the bill does not do enough to hold school officials accountable.
The New Democrats will support the Liberals when the bill comes up for third and final reading today before noon.
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath was concerned the original bill would have allowed schools to ban the use of the word gay in the titles of student clubs.
This bill could be the first one passed through the Ontario legislature since the election last October.