The suicide of 15-year-old Jamie Hubley in the fall of 2011 was a tragedy that hit the local community hard, but personal connections sent the heartache reverberating through the halls of Parliament Hill and the Ontario legislature, too.
Hubley, an openly gay student who had been bullied throughout his school years, was the son of Ottawa city councillor Allan Hubley – a politician with friends on the federal and provincial political circles.
Hubley, the prime minister’s wife Laureen Harper and Heritage Minister James Moore are set to announce a new national anti-bullying and anti-discrimination program on Monday at the late teen’s former school.
The program, according to government sources, will be set up through the Canadian Red Cross. The idea is to have thousands of young people trained to deliver anti-bullying workshops in their communities, and promise to reach at least 20 other kids.
“Our government wants to ensure that our young people have the resources they need to prevent bullying, cyberbullying and discrimination,” an official said on condition of anonymity.
Jamie Hubley had been a figure skater, and the only openly gay student at A.Y. Jackson High School in Kanata, Ont., a suburb of Ottawa.
His father said Jamie suffered from depression, and was bullied throughout his life. He has advocated from more front-line services for bullied children since his son’s death.
“He just wanted someone to love him. That’s all,” Allan Hubley told CBC News in 2011. “And what’s wrong with that? Why do people have to be cruel to our children when all they want to do is be loved?”
Hubley’s death was part of the impetus for a provincial bill that was passed that introduced tougher sanctions for bullies, and protection for teens that want to set up gay-straight alliances in their schools.
At the time, some groups denounced the bill as infringing on religious freedoms.
Jamie Hubley had tried to start an anti-discrimination Rainbow Club at his school, but his father said the posters were torn down and he was called vicious names in the hallways and online.