Ontario Anti-Bullying Legislation

Stories of teens taking their own lives after being bullied and often after being taunted for being gay have dominated the headlines across the country for several months. Ontario's answer to that is new anti-bullying legislation. But critics say the new law isn't about bullying at all, it is a deliberate swipe at religious values.

Part One of The Current


It's Thursday, December 15th.

Time magazine's 2011 person of the year is --- The Protester .

Predictable. Really, who else was going to Occupy top spot?

This is The Current.

Ontario Anti-Bullying Legislation

Nine thousand Toronto area students gathered to show their true colours at the Ricoh Colliseum yesterday. The rally is being called the biggest anti-bullying event in the city's history. And students made a big promise -- they pledged to do what they can to stop bullying in their schools. It's the same goal the Ontario government says it hopes to achieve with its Accepting Schools Act.

The newly proposed legislation allows schools to expel bullies. It would also force school boards to accept gay - straight alliance clubs. Advocates - including Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty - say that's an important part of the bill to promote understanding and acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered youth who are often the target of bullying.

But for some, The Accepting Schools Act is the beginning of something sinister. They feel this is the first battle in a war on their faith. Jack Fonseca is one of those people. He is a representative of Campaign Life Catholics, a national organization which says it aims to protect traditional Catholic values. Jack Fonseca joined us from Kitchener, Ontario.

Ontario Anti-Bullying Legislation

Campaign Life Catholics was joined by the Institute of Canadian Values and the Council of Orthodox Rabbis in condemning the proposed legislation. But despite criticism Ontario's Premier -- Dalton McGuinty -- is not backing off.

Paul Marai argues many others believe the Premier is doing the right thing. Mr. Marai is a trustee on the Halton Catholic District School Board. He was in our Toronto studio.

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