Police in Port Coquitlam will soon have new powers to deal with bullies, thanks to a program spearheaded by Dominion Lending Centres president Gary Mauris and the city’s mayor, creating B.C.’s first anti-bullying bylaw.
“We have put together a program and we have put it together as a business in a box,” said Mauris, during Tuesday’s launch of the Be Someone campaign. “This is a foundation, a blueprint…so if any city calls us up today, tomorrow, or next week we can give it to them and they can launch their own anti-bullying campaign."
The program includes online resources accessible through a website called iamsomeone.ca, a bullying-help 'text messaging' platform and an anti-bullying bylaw.
The bylaw, said Port Coquitlam Mayor Greg Moore,, is modelled after similar legislation used in Alberta and Saskatchewansaid.
Under the new law, individuals found guilty of bullying behaviour can be fined for $200, the mayor said. The law also allows those charged to take an approved course.
“If they take the course, the ticket will be ripped up,” said Moore.
The launch of Be Someone coincided with what would have been the 16th birthday of Amanda Todd, the Port Coquitlam grade 10 student whose suicide on October 10 put bullying on the national agenda.
Prior to her death, Todd posted a video on YouTube in which she used a series of flash cards to tell of her experience of being blackmailed, bullied and physically assaulted. In her final slide, Todd held up a card which read “I have nobody, I need someone.”
Mauris is fighting to spare other Port Coquitlam youth the same torment, taking that message across the country -- a recent stop being CTV's Canada Am. He appeared on the morning current affairs program this week, alongside Todd's mother.