Open any newspaper or magazine and it's not hard to find yet another article bemoaning the tragic effects of bullying. We must do something about it. Wear a pink shirt. Pay lip service.
Bullying is a serious problem BUT it is hard to change attitudes when the practise is accepted at all levels in society. Amarjeet Sohi, MP for Mill Woods and Minister of Infrastructure and Communities in the Federal Cabinet, rose in the house to offer his condolences to the family of a Winnipeg bus driver who had been stabbed to death that day. In his remarks, he referred to his time as a bus driver for Edmonton Transit Services. Mention of his former occupation drew loud laughter from the opposition benches.
If that isn't bullying, I don't know what is. How is driving a transit bus a job to be ridiculed? It's an important job, it's an honest job and it has its dangers and challenges. Bus drivers have been spat on, yelled at, and physically assaulted for doing their jobs. There is a schedule to be met, safety regulations to follow and the unappreciative public to deal with. Not simple work and even if it was, how is it something to deride? People depend on transit to get them to jobs, appointments, and entertainments. In this day of increasing environmental awareness and the pressure to be more green, buses are an important option.
I am disgusted with adult Members of Parliament who think that it's acceptable to laugh loudly when a colleague (albeit a minister not of their opposition party) mentions his former employment. It is disrespectful to the family of the murdered driver from Winnipeg and to the bus driver himself.
I wish I could (as do a lot of other fair-minded people) wave a magic wand and "poof" bullying begone. I wish I had some answers and I appreciate the efforts of individuals and organizations who are working toward a solution. I fear that they have made bullying so well-known that it suffers from "fatigue"- fatigue that we have all heard too much about it without things changing.
What I do believe is that if individuals in positions of influence and power acted in respectful ways, it would have an impact. When you don't get your own way, when you disagree with someone, there are ways to deal with the situation. Cruel laughter is not one of them.
So I lost respect for the Conservative MPs who think that driving a bus is somehow demeaning and worthy of ridicule. The next time someone comes from a more humble background, I wish them more maturity. Bullying will continue to be a problem when it is condoned at the highest levels.
Yes, I'm of a certain age but I'm pretty spry and like to think still smart enough.