Canada’s premiers call for strong anti-bullying legislation

TORONTO – Canada’s premiers want Ottawa to tackle the growing issue of cyberbullying.

They asked Ottawa to move forward with changes to the criminal code on Friday, the last day of the Council of the Federation conference.

“We’re asking for the updating of the criminal code to recognize that there are modern forms of assault that did not exist in the past,” Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter said.

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Nova Scotia was recently the epicentre of the cyberbullying debate after 17-year-old Rehtaeh Parsons killed herself after being allegedly sexually assaulted and subsequently bullied.

But the issue has struck Ontario, too: In October 2011, Ottawa teen Jamie Hubley took his own life after being bullied for being gay.

In 2012, Ontario passed new anti-bullying legislation, but Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne says more needs to be done. That legislation included allowing gay-straight alliances at schools throughout Ontario.

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“It’s extremely important families and schools and community members be involved in finding solutions to these very, very complex problems,” Wynne said. 

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