Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Canada and the Bully Nation

I don't know why Canada is such a bully nation. What I do know is that it infects our country like syphilis, from our Parliament, to our hockey rinks, to our schools.

A 15-year-old hockey player in Manitoba was forced to parade around the dressing room with water bottles tied to his genitals, the teen's parents alleged Wednesday in an effort to end hazing rituals in minor hockey.

But after the incident became public, the 15-year-old was forced to apologize to his teammates — some as old as 20 — and his coaches suggested that he take some time off from playing, the parents said.

A country where the bullied must apologize to their bullies.

What I also know is that while bullying hurts all kinds of kids, from shy ones, to chubby ones, to disabled kids like Mitchell Wilson.

LGBT kids are particularly vulnerable, and even gay teachers can't protect them.

Early in my teaching career, I recall confiding to an associate that I was gay; she implored me to keep it quiet, as students might not react well. If an adult can be held hostage to the bigotries of 14-year-olds, what hope is there of creating any sort of safe space for LGBT teens? Who, if not everyone, will protect our struggling youth?

And what I'm absolutely sure about is that in a country where 300 kids kill themselves each year we have run out of excuses.

It's time to hold bullies accountable, it's time to embarrass their parents, it's time to tell governments to do more to stop this slaughter of young Canadians.

It's time to break the silence...

You know I like the tone of Rick's message, but asking more gay people to come out won't stop bullying. Does he seriously suggest that John Baird could be anybody's role model? 

We need to put the onus on straight people and governments to do more about the problem.

And while he's at it, he might point out that the CBC  National News has never, to my knowledge, done ANYTHING about the homophobia in our schools, and didn't even bother to cover Jamie Hubley's death.

Oh yeah. Canada is a sick country.

And it's time to make it better...


  1. I'll bet many many Canadians would be surprised to know that Rick Mercer is gay, and might be somewhat shocked, and , the info would make them spill their beer or splash their tea.

  2. the hazing stuff is absolutely horrible

  3. This morning on CBC Radio (Ottawa Morning show) they had a piece about the It Gets Better campaign and Jamie Hubley. It is not yet online, if I can find it later, I'll send you the link.

    In essence, what came out of the CBC conversation was that although the It Gets Better campaign is good, it does not directly address the ongoing bullying - something that Jamie Hubley said "I can't wait three years for it to get better".

    Three years is a long time for someone who is 15 years old. Keep the campaign going and build on it using the lesson Jamie Hubley (and others) have tragically taught us - DO MORE TO STOP THE BULLYING NOW.

    I know from reading your posts over the last few years that you Simon, are doing your part by addressing this issue on an ongoing basis.

    In memory of Jamie Hubley, I say THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU.

  4. hi Oemissions...I think Rick read your comment. Because the very next day he came out on CBC radio.
    I have no reports of exhaled beer yet, but I'm closely monitoring the situation... ;)
    And yes...that hazing story was disgusting, and just another example of how our goonish national sport is brutalizing the Cherry Nation...

  5. hi know I have always had reservations about the It Gets Better Message, for the reasons you mention. It may be true for many gay kids, and I know that most of my gay friends feel that way. They shrug off what they experienced, or pretend to. But I think of the kids gay or straight who are being terrorized, and I want us to make it better NOW.
    And thanks so much for your kind words. You know the main reason I started this blog was to try to shine a small light on this huge problem. And it has been a small one. So when I see so many people starting to write about it, and I see how Jamie Hubley's death is moving people to action, I'm very very encouraged...