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Canadian Parliament calls for acceptance, tolerance in wake of gay teen’s suicide

John Baird

John Baird

OTTAWA, Ontario, Canada — In a speech before the House Of Commons on Thursday, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, told the gathered Members of Parliament and ministers that there is no place in the nation’s schools for the bullying that drove an openly a gay Ottawa teen take his own life.

John Baird

On Oct. 14, Jamie Hubley, 15, committed suicide — according to Jamie’s father, Allan Hubley, an Ottawa city Councillor, “bullying was definitely a factor” in his son’s death.

“I know I would speak for all members of the House to offer our sincere condolences to the family of Jamie Hubley,” Baird said. “Bullying, homophobia, intolerance and incivility have no place in our schools. It underlies the real challenge of depression and mental health, especially among young people. Let us resolve, as a society, to promote tolerance and acceptance of each and every one of our fellow citizens.”

Allan Hubley said the family knew of several occasions when Jamie was treated cruelly because he preferred figure skating to hockey. More recently, Jamie’s father said the teen attempted to start a Rainbow Club at his high school to promote acceptance of others, but “the posters were torn down and he was called vicious names in the hallways and online.”

In a statement released on his website Tuesday, Hubley says Jamie struggled with depression and was receiving care from doctors and professional mental health counselors.

His son’s funeral services were held Thursday at the Holy Redeemer Roman Catholic Church attended by over 700 people. The Hubley family did not comment after the funeral but have asked for donations to be made to the Youth Services Bureau of Ottawa in honor of Jamie.

Meanwhile, Conservative MPs and staffers posted this YouTube video, dedicated to Jamie. In it, they tell kids “it gets better” — a reference to the It Gets Better campaign to help young people facing harassment.

MPs including Minister Baird, Public Safety Minister Vic Toews and Public Works Minister Rona Ambrose also urge teens to help other young people who need help. Earlier this month, members of Parliament debated mental health issues after the Liberals called for a federal suicide-prevention strategy.

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