In 2011, I was introduced to an amazing young man named Jamie Hubley after reading a headline about his death, "Ottawa teen takes his own life because of severe bullying." When I was done reading, I was frozen in my bed and thought about the connections between my story and Jamie's. I decided to create my own project called "Bullying Ends Here." I had no clue how big this initiative would become.
Since Manitoba's religious schools receive over 50 per cent of their funding from the province, they are all being mandated to comply with the proposed legislation: Bill 18 -- required to implement an anti-bullying strategy that includes gay-straight alliances. Our rights cannot exist in a vacuum, isolated from the reality around them. Rights engage with other rights. Not only does our Charter have a built-in provision to permit the limiting of rights in certain situations, but also, the transactional nature of our public lives dictates that different rights will come into contact other rights. Those who oppose Bill 18 should read the Charter in its entirety; it doesn't stop at freedom of religion, nor is there a hierarchy of rights.
I was paralyzed in my bed. I remembered my dream to be a police officer because I wanted to help people and here was this young man, who wanted nothing more than to be accepted for who he was, taking his own life. I decided that I was going to be more than someone reading headlines, hoping the world became a better place. I decided to go out there and make a difference myself.
I am on a mission. My mission is to increase the messaging and information about positive mental health. I believe that the more we practice positive mental health, every day, the less chance there is that negative, debilitating, fateful thoughts, feelings or actions will transpire. There simply will not be room for those thoughts, feelings, and actions to take over.
Is it hypocritical for a bunch of historically anti-gay MPs all of sudden attempting to reach out to gay teens with an "It Gets Better" video? I believe the Conservative video is commendable, but only if it signifies a shift in attitude on the part of the party. What's really needed is for things to get better today.
Already there is speculation as to whether Gaddafi's death will boost the Obama's approval rating, which hit a new low last week of 41 per cent (his popularity soared to 60 per cent after the killing of Osama). I'd bet that Obama won't get too much bounce from this one: The Seal Team 6 operation that destroyed Osama was brave and laudable; by contrast, there was something deeply sickening about seeing the bloodied Gadaffi being set upon by a chanting mob. Reacting to these images, HuffPost contributor Tarek Fatah bemoaned the onset of an Arab Winter. On a less ghoulish note, in a blog published on Tuesday, entitled "Jamie Hubley Didn't Have to Die," lawyer Josh Scheinert implored Canadians to follow the "It Gets Better Project." And then lo and behold, a group of Conservative MPs got together and released an anti-bullying video, in memory of Hubley, entitled guess what? "It Gets Better."
Before we have another case like Jamie Hubley's on our hands, it's time for Canada to stand up loud and proud and say, "It gets better." Where is Prime Minister Harper's message that it gets better? I don't believe that Harper, his cabinet, the Conservative Party or other Members of Parliament are anti-gay. But I think their silence is deafening.