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Youth bullying fight deserves applause

Like governments at all other levels, the federal Harper Tories' programs and policies are seldom, if ever, universally embraced.

Like governments at all other levels, the federal Harper Tories' programs and policies are seldom, if ever, universally embraced.

Whether it is gun control, the Wheat Board, taxation, military spending, or relations with the provinces, it seems there are always some people for and some people against whatever the Harper government is up to these days.

Yet the Conservatives' recently stepped up efforts to fight bullying of young people in Canada should be applauded from coast-to-coast.

In an extraordinary move, the Anti-Bullying charitable organization BullyingCanada last week came come out with praise for the Harper government's efforts to protect youths from bullying in all its insidious forms.

“Bullying is a serious trauma that many of us have had to face in our

lives. Working together to promote a safe environment for youth is the exact remedy we need,” said BullyingCanada co-executive directors Katie Neu and Rob Frenette.

“We are very pleased to see that the government is taking a national interest in ensuring that bullying is being addressed for the youth of Canada.”

In particular, BullingCanada cited the government's commitment of resources on evidence-based programs to address bullying through the Public Safety's National Crime Prevention Centre as a recent worthwhile effort.

As well, BullyingCanada also came out with praise for the RCMP, which is also actively addressing youth bullying issues through its new WITS (Walk Away, Ignore, Talk it out, Seek Help) program.

WITS complements the existing RCMP-operated web-based program, which provides 24-hour-a-day information on bullying and cyberbulling.

Like communities everywhere, West Central Alberta has had its share of youth bullying incidents in recent years, in a few tragic cases even leading to the suicide of victims.

With students heading back to school, it's good to know that the fight against bullying is, if anything, being stepped up by stakeholders at the national, provincial and local level.

In the past, bullying was underreported and sometimes even ignored as just “something kids do”.

Thankfully those days are over, with parents, educators, politicians and families all now knowing full well that bullying is bad for everyone, including for the community-at-large.

Perhaps someday in the not too distant future, incidents of youth bullying in Canadian communities will be virtually unheard of. While that time is, sadly, still a ways off, recent moves by the federal government and the RCMP are definitely steps in the right direction.

With the new school year getting underway, stakeholders in West Central Alberta should be encouraged to do what they can to help make youth bullying a thing of the past.

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