Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Mommy bloggers, but no grieving mother at summit

When Premier Christy Clark held her ERASE Bullying Summit on Nov. 13, 2012, the invite list included politicians and bureaucrats and cops and parents and students and more cops and more students and more parents. 

But no Carol Todd

She is the heartbroken mother of British Columbia's posthumously best-known bullying victim, Amanda Todd, and she only wanted to quietly observe the day-long, taxpayer-funded symposium. It was a symposium that took place just over a month after 14-year-old Amanda's suicide, which touched off a worldwide conversation about finding solutions for teen depression, suicide and cyberbullying. If not for this YouTube video, a cry for help, we may not have known about Amanda's story.   

Amanda Todd was the inspiration for the ERASE (Expect Respect And Safe Education) event. Clark, who was the driving force behind the annual Pink Shirt Day anti-bullying campaign, even said: "We lost Amanda and it was a tragedy but we should learn from that. She would want that from us." 

Below is the list of invitees, obtained via Freedom of Information. It includes an entry for Rissa Wilson, vice-principal of CABE Secondary School in school district 43. It says: "attending on behalf of Carol Todd."

Carol Todd, however, did not willingly give up her chair. She was shunned.  

Todd went to Twitter to publicly state her dissatisfaction. It was yet another political blunder for Clark and her beleaguered BC Liberals. If Clark is to lose in the May provincial election, her only legacy may be the worthy campaign to stamp-out bullying. But on Nov. 13, 2012, she had the minus touch. 

The government's damage control effort to explain it away claimed Carol Todd's attendance could have caused so much trauma for one of the allegedly vulnerable youths in attendance that it could have spurred a copycat suicide. I still don't buy that. 

One of the experts trotted out to support this was the well-meaning crisis counsellor Kevin Cameron, who runs a company called Canadian Center for Threat Assessment and Trauma Response. I asked him for references to any academic or scientific research on copycat suicides that would support the decision to ban Carol Todd, but he admitted there was none. 

So who else went? 

A cadre of "mommy bloggers." Clark's attempt to connect with female voters includes occasional coffee talks with mommy bloggers. I counted eight on the guest list: Alissa HuttonAmber StrocelMeghan SimingtonChristine PilkingtonLori McGrathSusan CarrarettoMelissa Carr and Mary Zilba.

Yes, that is the Mary Zilba, one of the as-seen-on-reality-TV Real Housewives of Vancouver

Don't mistake this for a critique of who was on the guest list, because this is not. Moms are blogging and they're sharing ideas way more important than recipes. Hutton, for instance, is on the Vancouver School Board urgent behavioural intervention team.

But, after seeing the list, I still can't figure out why Carol Todd was not welcome. 

1 comment:

Martin said...

The thing is it's not even Christy's campaign. It was started up by high school students on the East Coast...all Christy did was encourage CKNW to endorse it and print up a bunch of pink shirts.

She's an idiot for leaving Carol Todd out of the event though. And for stupid reasons too.

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