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Manitobans get their say as hearings on anti-bullying bill begin

The Manitoba legislature building in Winnipeg. A legislature committee has started hearing from more than 300 scheduled presenters on Bill 18, in hearings that are scheduled to run through to the end of next week.

TIM POHL/iSTOCKPHOTO

Public hearings are underway on a controversial anti-bullying bill in Manitoba.

A legislature committee has started hearing from more than 300 scheduled presenters on Bill 18, in hearings that are scheduled to run through to the end of next week.

Sandra Trinkies, a Niverville woman, told the committee her children have been bullied because of their Mennonite faith.

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She says the bill is flawed because it protects people from being bullied on the basis of sexual orientation, race and disability but not because of their religion or cultural background.

Trinkies also said the bill's definition of bullying – which includes hurting someone's "self-esteem" – is so vague it could cause anyone to be labelled a bully.

The Opposition Progressive Conservatives have been calling for changes to the bill, but NDP Education Minister Nancy Allan says it will provide important protection for kids in school.

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