I am writing this letter in response to recent letters that have dealt with bullying, and in response to the insinuation that my letter of Feb. 5 ("Pre-budget forum an empty exercise?") amounted to "beating up" on Jim Hillyer. In addition, I would like to address some of the comments made with regard to that letter.
First of all, thank you to those that expressed your appreciation. I believe it was my duty, and it was initially my pleasure, to write that letter. In the ensuing days it has become a less pleasurable experience, not because I disagree with one word of it, but because I do not enjoy making a name for myself at someone else's expense, and I do not enjoy seeing a good man suffer unduly. I am not suggesting that that in any way typifies anyone else commenting, and I can certainly claim the crown for biting sarcasm, and take full responsibility for the tenor of the whole thing.
However, and this I would like to be very clear about: my letter, as much as it pointed out the shortcomings in Mr. Hillyer's forum, etc., was not aiming to ruin or hurt him as a person. I have heard, and have no reason to doubt whatsoever, that Jim Hillyer is a good person, and he has been to me. I was not the model participant in his forum, although I do not by any means say that as an apology. My letter was fundamentally a recrimination of those who nominated and then named Jim as the (virtual) incumbent.
What changed my mind, or tipped the scales at any rate, was Kimberly Cahoon-Mein's letter of Feb. 5. I have been ruminating for a while on the irony of governments like the Harper-led government, and the PC provincial government, throwing money at anti-bullying campaigns. What is the real message that attentive, intelligent children receive (remember, really good (i.e. bad) bullies are smart)? What are the messages our children receive from people using every avenue available to destroy each other? Kimberly is confused because bullying is the new "Conservative."
I look at what our parliaments have become (or perhaps what they always were to some extent, I don't claim to know), and I have to wonder if Kimberly will ever be where Jim is, as she ought to be. I'd have much more hope with her at the helm.