This morning, a coalition of concerned Ontarians presented to the Ontario Standing Committee on Social Policy regarding Bill 13, the well-intentioned but poorly written anti-bullying law. Albertos Polizogopoulos presented on behalf of the Coalition for Parental Rights in Education, which included the Ontario ARPA groups. André Schutten, ARPA Canada’s legal counsel, was also present to observe.
There are a number of concerns with Bill 13 as have been outlined elsewhere on this site. These concerns were brought forward in a thorough legal analysis and explained in the short time available. Albertos also explained the very simple and small changes that could be made to the Bill that would address our concerns and still promote a bill that aims to tackle all bullying. We hope that the members of the Standing Committee take these concerns to heart.
After our presentation, The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (the EFC) made another excellent presentation on the need to step away from the use of the term “homophobe”, a term that limits honest debate on a serious matter. They also explained the need for accurate statistics in making public policy decisions.
In an interesting exchange, one MPP (Ms. Tracy MacCharles) asked Don Hutchinson, legal counsel for the EFC, if he was aware of how many LGBT kids had committed suicide because of bullying. Don quoted a statistic that said some 238 students had committed suicide due to bullying, of which 8 identified as LGBT. Each of those deaths are tragic and should not have happened; the shocking reality is that the media and legislative focus is on the 8 and the situation for the other 230 are not being addressed!
Prayer Request: Please pray that the Lord will open the ears and minds of the Committee members to the arguments made today by both the Coalition as well as the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada and other like-minded presenters. Also pray that follow-up media coverage might be fair and balanced and open to our legitimate concerns.
To read our 20 page legal brief (including a 3 page Executive Summary), see the PDF linked at the bottom of this article.
Action Request: This is our last chance for change! Please consider sending a friendly email to the members of the Standing Committee, urging them to consider our legal arguments and to make the necessary changes to Bill 13. Encourage these MPPs to protect all students from bullying, including religious students. The MPPs on the Social Policy Committee or present when Albertos presented are:
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