The Dexter government's anti-bully plan unveiled yesterday again fails to spell out consequences for those who bully. The plan includes 40 measures including training school staff members to handle bullying, requiring principals to investigate all bully-related incidents and annual conferences about bullying. All good steps mind you but as PC leader Jamie Baillie put it yesterday it's "woefully weak." Baillie's concern is there are no consequences spelled out for bullies. The co-founder of Pink Shirt Day agrees. Travis Price told my radio show yesterday there needs to be punishment for bullies. Education Minister Ramona Jennex however is convinced this is the best route to take in dealing with the bully issue. Unfortunately, as long as bullies continue to be treated with kid gloves the problem will persist.
Liberal MLA Michel Samson's been cleared of any wrongdoing by the province's conflict of interest commissioner. The Richmond MLA had asked retired Justice Merlin Nunn to review his living arrangements in Halifax. CBC raised questions about Samson's south end rental home, a house owned by a friend. At issue was whether the home had become a primary residence for Cape Breton MLA Samson and his wife who now works in Halifax. MLA's are not permitted to make an expenses claim on a primary residence. Samson does own a home in Richmond County. Justice Nunn says there is no evidence of any intention to violate the rules. End of story.
The judge also took aim at the media in his decision, chastizing media outlets for stories like the Samson issue. He says "we need the best members we can get and we must not put in their way a fear of baseless scandal and embarrassment brought on by an immature and sensational-oriented reporting. Ouch. But isn't it the media's job to raise questions? And the relationship between Samson and his friend clearly was something that needed to be questioned. On this matter, Justice Nunn was simply wrong.
A staunch defender of aboriginal rights was one of five men caught in a Halifax police sex sting operation. A police officer posed as either a 16 year old girl or boy online seeking encounters with strange men. He exchanged hundreds of e-mails with the five and arranged to meet with them at local hotels for sex. They were arrested as they showed up including Rick Simon, a prominent aboriginal leader and one time chief of the Assembly of First Nations. He currently works for the Atlantic Policy Congress. Officials there aren't commenting on Simon's predicament. Prominent citizen or not, sex with underage girls or boys is against the law. Simon and the others have learned an embarrassing lesson with further punishment to come.
Have a great day. Get involved. And if you're not outraged, you're not paying attention.