While voters everywhere probably have a bone or two to pick with their local politicians, I usually have the utmost respect for those men and women who represent us in appointed positions of power.
If there is one issue that should be addressed and not practised on the floors of our municipal council chambers, provincial legislatures and even in the House of Commons, it should be bullying.
Bullies are everywhere. They are in our schools; they haunt us in our workplaces and are even sometimes part of our own families. But should we expect them to be taunting others publicly in our government?
Thousands of young people across this country suffer from the emotional, physical and mental tolls of bullying each and every day.
Recently, Rick Mercer, host of “Rick Mercer Report” stated a disturbing fact: 300 Canadian teens commit suicide every year due to bullying. This fact is an alarming one that depicts the harsh realities that are occurring in schools right across this country.
At my high school, bullies exist. In a school with students of different socio-economic backgrounds, sexual orientations and body size, bullying happens.
Yet the administration actively seeks to improve school climate and build community while fostering tolerance and acceptance. There is zero tolerance for bullying.
I recently participated in a two-day seminar at my high school entitled “Breaking Down the Walls”, where students gathered to better understand each other. The event proved to be life changing for many students.
My question is, should this type of seminar be only taking place in our schools? What about in our government?
How can the victims of physical violence, verbal abuse and cyber bullying have faith in a government that is clearly bullying in its own right?
Politicians should act as role models. Instead, some choose to conduct themselves in a way that allows them to appear as bullies.
The evidence of bullying in politics is smeared across campaign signs, attack ads and in parliamentary debates.
As someone, who could foresee a future career in politics, I find the harassment, name calling and utter disregard for the feelings of others a complete disgrace. It is shameful, unnecessary and entirely inappropriate.
In a world corrupted by violence, hurt and poverty, why is it so difficult to ask for people to be nice to one another? Do our politicians not understand the negative message they send to Canadians by the ways in which they behave?
My heart goes out to all of the victims of bullying. I admit that I too have acted as a bully, sometimes on purpose and sometimes without even noticing. It is extremely difficult not to fall into the trap that allows our words to get the best of us.
Social networking sites makes bullying even easier. Bullying is not always something that is instigated. Sometimes through our anger towards our bullies, we become bullies ourselves.
It is time we show our politicians that bullying is not acceptable. There is no better time to act than now.
Our politicians should be leading us forward not contributing to the problem at large. Officials in all levels of government need to start rallying today to curb bullying in our country, starting in their own workplaces.
As the leaders of tomorrow, it is imperative that teens share their vision of zero tolerance for bullying with the leaders of today.