TORONTO — The launch of a new national anti-bullying and anti-discrimination strategy was announced last week by Laureen Harper, the wife of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and Heritage Minister James Moore.
The strategy, in concert with the Canadian Red Cross, will involve 48,000 youths, who will be trained to conduct anti-bullying workshops in communities across Canada.
Shimon Fogel, CEO of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), commended the government in a statement for “taking concrete action to combat bullying and discrimination, which pose an unacceptable daily threat to the well-being of far too many young Canadians.
“For generations, Canada’s Jewish community has been at the forefront of the fight against discrimination and bullying. In partnership with Jewish federations across Canada, we look forward to working with the federal government and the Canadian Red Cross on this important initiative in the months ahead.”
He told The CJN that the challenge of getting such a strategy in place is getting the public to recognize how serious an issue bullying is.
“It is not specific to one target group. The Jewish community has been the target of intimidation and bullying, which can become dangerous and volatile. We all share this vulnerability because there [have not] been enough strategies in place.
“Today, there are new kinds of instruments [of abuse] in place such as social media. We must ensure that society comes together to ensure that we recalibrate the threshold of what is acceptable, and develop a level of sensitivity that won’t tolerate that level of abuse,” he said.
Because of its history, he said, the Jewish community must be at the forefront in the fight against bullying and discrimination.