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Harper says Rehtaeh Parsons’ treatment was criminal

CALGARY – Prime Minister Stephen Harper says it’s time to stop using the word bullying to describe what’s alleged to have happened to Rehtaeh Parsons.

The Nova Scotia girl’s family says she hanged herself last week after she was sexually assaulted by four boys and a photo of the alleged incident was distributed online.

Harper says bullying has the connotation of kids misbehaving, but what has been described in this case is criminal activity.

Related: More education could prevent bullying: Halifax professor

He told reporters in Calgary he was shocked and saddened by the 17-year-old’s death, especially since he and his wife Laureen are parents of a teenage girl themselves.

Harper says the federal government will do what it can to encourage anti-bullying strategies and he is encouraged by the actions being taken by the Nova Scotia government.

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Related: N.S. cabinet to oversee response to Parsons’ death

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