But obviously, his plea fell on deaf ears:
The father of suicide victim Jamie Hubley made an emotional plea May 22 at an Ontario government social policy committee hearing that legislators adopt an anti-bullying bill that does not single out any group for special treatment.
The suicide of the openly gay teenager who committed suicide in October at the age of 15 became a driving force for Bill 13 of Ontario’s Dalton McGuinty government, which mandates student-led “gay-straight alliances” (GSAs) even in Catholic schools, and considers hatred of homosexual people to be a main cause of bullying.
“I ask you to protect every child equally,” Ottawa City Councillor Allan Hubley told public hearings in Ottawa on two proposed anti-bullying bills: Bill 14 (renamed Bill 80) and Bill 13.
Hubley said his son was the only openly gay person at his high school. Having a GSA for just one student “would have made him a target.”
The bullying Jamie endured began after he began figure skating at the age of 5. It was often by boys who played hockey, Hubley said. “He was picked on relentlessly.”
His son would befriend those who were bullied or hurting, and that also brought attacks. He publicly admitted to his homosexuality in the months prior to his death and had the full support of his family.
Hubley played down the idea that the Rainbow Club Jamie set up was a GSA or had a homosexual activist agenda. His son saw it as a place for everyone who was bullied for whatever reason, he said.
“Jamie spiralled into depression,” and on his blog, he identified bullying and “relentless verbal abuse” as the cause,” Hubley said. “He was broken.”
“It’s important that all kids go to one group to learn how to respect each other,” he said. “This kind of club would provide safety in numbers.”
Hubley urged the combining of the two bills, leaving out contentious elements that would give special status to some groups and not others.
The grieving father’s testimony seemed to touch hearts, but it may not have changed minds of Liberal and NDP legislators who support the more contentious Bill 13, even though constitutional lawyers representing Christian groups have warned the bill as written will lead to years of taxpayer-funded litigation.
The Ottawa hearing opened with a salvo against Bill 13 from the Coalition for Parental Rights in Education. It was presented by constitutional lawyer Albertos Polizogopoulos, a specialist in litigation who submitted an inch-thick reference document with tabs to various Supreme Court decisions protecting religious freedom.
Polizogopoulos outlined the problematic areas of Bill 13 that would invite a court challenge on constitutional grounds. “Nobody has a right to insist Catholic schools become non-religious or non-Catholic,” he said.