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UPDATE: Ontario passes anti-bullying bill


UPDATE: Ontario passes anti-bullying bill

Legislation sparks renewed school funding debate

UPDATE: Tues, June 5, 11:50am -
After months of debate, Ontario parliamentarians have passed Bill 13. 

Sixty-five MPPs voted in favour of the bill and 36 voted against it. 

Below is video coverage of reaction at Queen's Park after Bill 13 passed.  

Tues, June 5, 10am - The Liberals' Accepting Schools Act, Bill 13, is expected to pass a final vote June 5.

The vote will take place after Question Period. MPPs had their last chance to speak to the legislation after Education Minister Laurel Broten moved the bill to third reading on June 4. The bill contains an amendment mandating gay-straight alliance (GSA) support groups in all schools if students request them. 

“We know that words matter,” Broten says. “We know the power of words to create fear and pain and to spread hatred, homophobia, sexism and racism, and we know that if we can’t name it, we can’t address it. Speaker, we must address it.”

The passing of Bill 13 will cap a one-and-a-half-year battle in Ontario that has pitted queer students against Catholic school administrators who have repeatedly denied student requests for GSAs.

Mississauga Catholic students Leanne Iskander and Taechun Menns were the first to go public. Throughout their fight they reported bullying from other students, and Iskander was threatened with disciplinary action if her GSA advocacy continued. The school even banned rainbows.

NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo noted Iskander's courageous leadership. "I think of Leanne, who came before us, and of the GSAs [students]. I think of what they’ve already been through trying to start a group, fighting an uphill battle against all the array of power and might of school boards, all the array of power and might of adults."

Progressive Conservative MPP Lisa MacLeod says her party will vote against Bill 13. She says the voices of opposing religious groups and parents were silenced during hearings last month before the standing committee for social policy. “We saw 80 percent of the people that appeared before committee opposed Bill 13 . . . One government minister says this fight will end up in the Supreme Court.”

Last week Cardinal Thomas Collins also spoke out against Bill 13, reaffirming the Catholic Church's position that GSAs go against its doctrine. Collins, who is also president of the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario, which governs Catholic school boards' curriculum and policy, told reporters that trustees and principals should have the power to overrule students in naming and running the groups.

Meanwhile, debate in mainstream media has fuelled renewed criticism about the public funding of faith-based schools.

A recent survey found more than half of Ontario residents, 53 percent, oppose public funding of Catholic schools.

Catholic trustees met with Broten on June 4 to discuss Bill 13. According to a leaked memo, trustees feel the GSA controversy has eroded public support for Catholic education.

The Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association (OCSTA), whose president called the word gay a “distraction” last week, outlined a strategy to its members, The Globe and Mail reports. Catholic schools plan to make GSAs a “subset” of broader anti-bullying clubs and ensure they adhere to Catholic teaching, which asserts that homosexuality is “intrinsically disordered.”

The memo states that trustees are considering a court challenge but that a “clear victory” would need to be assured before going forward.

PC Leader Tim Hudak recently told reporters the Liberals are picking a fight with the Catholic school system, which gets about 33 percent of Ontario's $24-billion annual education budget, about $7 billion.

On May 29, Premier Dalton McGuinty said the provincial government is in charge of running Ontario schools, not the Catholic Church. “I’m accountable to all faiths. I’m accountable to people of no faith. I’m accountable to all parents.”

MORE:  Ontario's anti-bullying law brings big changes for Catholic schools

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" homosexuality is “intrinsically disordered.” "

This is inaccurate....

From the catechism, paragraph 2357... Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,141 tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered."142

Catholic teaching is that all people are flawed, and all are deserving of compassion. It draws a strict separation between saying that homosexuals as a people are "bad" versus acts of homosexuality. Actions can be well ordered or not... People are another story.
karen, you homophobic liar
Umm Karen.
This fight was for a club to specifically adress the specific issues faced by a certain population -LBGT?
Did you knowbthat LBGT youth are 4 times more likely to commit suicide?
Did you you that bullying of LGBT students is sanctioned by the Catholic school system.?
Did you know that if you wanr to start an ati bullying club for your child, YOU ARE 100% FREE TO DO SO. The Catholic system won't hinder you in any way, unlike gay who, as mentioned earlier,ARE 4 TIMES AT GREATER RISK.
You are a homophobe. The worst kind too - the closet homophobe. Your attitude is the reason gay kids kill themselves.
Yet you have the nerve to come here on a gay site and act self rigteous because gay kids lives might be saved?
You're a pig.
We don't have time to wait
I respectfully submit that unless you are a parent who has dropped their child off at school to enter into a battle zone without protections because of bullying, and then wonder if you will receive a phone call from your child's school advising you that your child has taken his life.....you know not of what you speak.

Our Premier recently said “The reason the Conservatives are apparently not going to support this bill has nothing to do with accountability and everything to do with the fact that we’re going to be talking about gay-straight alliances in Ontario high schools,” Premier Dalton McGuinty said.

Our Premier just accused anyone who does not support Bill 13 for what ever reason as being homophobic. There was a great deal wrong with Bill 13 that has absolutely nothing to do with GSA's. 80% of those who presented at public hearings were, in fact, favour of PC Bill 14. But hey....who am I but a parent whose child considered taking his life. The public hearings and the democratic process was an absolute sham and my Premier has just told me to get stuffed.

My child endured three years of bullying in the form of homophobia. He's not gay. He turned to cutting and drug abuse, was diagnosed with PTSD and became suicidal. Where in all the wonderful stats that we have seen would you place him?

Bill 13 is not "inclusive" of ALL youth.
Hey Nora
All students must not only join a GSA they must also actually become gay! YES! another check on our massive gay take over the world strategy! (...moron)
Don't worry Rhonda
The government can't force people what to think. I assume participation in GSAs is voluntary. Most Catholic students will hold on to their beliefs and simply not be bothered to join.
Rhonda is an ****
Excuse me but why the f*ck do you think you should get special treatment and money from the government just because of your religion? there is ZERO reason for catholic schools to be publicly funded.

GSAs are appalling? Yeah I bet you WOULD be upset at the idea of teaching children that being yourself is okay. You catholics are all about the 'conform to what I believe or you will burn in the hell that I just made up' stuff. Your entire post, and belief system, is bs.
Best of luck, Kirk
It's nice to see that there are people inside of the RC churchwho are working hard to bring that institution into the 21st century -- for our sake, as well as its own.
Why be Catholic?
Why would you even want to be Catholic if you are gay? The government may mandate GSAs in Catholic schools, but in reality, I doubt there will be too many of them, if at all.
Im against bill 13
I am Catholic and my children attend Catholic Schools and i think its a disgrace and disrespectful. What the government did is appalling having GSAs in the Catholic School system We are taxpayers and my taxes support the Catholic System We should have some say or a vote on it. Mr McGunity is Catholic to and should be digusted with himself I dont agree with GSAs at all and should have stayed out of the Catholic schools. This is what we stand for as Catholics Its against our morals and our religion. Im still going to support the Catholic schools and it should publicly funded. The government of Ontario does not listen to us and I hop whatever party is elected the next time take it out of schools and abolish the law. This is bs as far as i am concerned
Kirk is right
and deserves all of our support.

Like him, though I am not a catholic, I have tried to find catholic parents among my friends who agree with Collins and the church leadership. I can't find any.

Now, my catholic friends may all be closet commie-pinko-fiends, perhaps, but I don't think so.

Like birth control, divorce, social justice and peace -- a short list -- the catholics I know, and most I would venture, are miles and years ahead of their leadership in their values and practices.

It is important to not lose sight of that. And to stand with our catholic friends in their work of resisting the tired hateful old men who lead this "church".


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