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Canadian Councillor Allan Hubley Releases Statement on Bullying-Related Suicide of His Son Jamie

Hubleys

This morning I posted about the tragic suicide of 15-year-old Ottawa teen Jamie Hubley. Today, his father, Kanata South Councillor Allan Hubley, released a statement regarding his son's death.

Said Hubley in the statement:

Recently, when Jamie tried to start a Rainbow Club at his high school to promote acceptance of others, the posters were torn down and he was called vicious names in the hallways and online. We had meetings with officials at the school and were working with them to bring an end to it but Jamie felt it would never stop.

We will not say that the bullying was the only reason for James’s decision to take his own life but it was definitely a factor. As his family and friends or even if you never met him but want to help, we must do whatever we can to wipe out bullying for any reason in our society and especially in our schools. Young people are very vulnerable and have enough pressures in life to have to deal with aside from the stress of being bullied. My family’s wish is that no more families have to suffer the unbearable pain of losing a child. No child should have to deal with depression or feel hated because of their beliefs – that is not the Canadian way of treating others.

Read his full, heartbreaking statement, AFTER THE JUMP...

Statement for Councillor Hubley on the passing of his son James

This past Friday, our family suffered one of the worst experiences that can happen to a family when we lost our boy – Jamie. To make this even more difficult, his death was a result of suicide.

I would like to thank all the family and friends that have been helping us get through these very difficult days. Very special thanks to everyone that came out in the rain to walk every foot of our community to look for our boy. The outpouring of support has shown us that our angel was loved by many and we were not the only people to witness his beautiful spirit.

Jamie was for most of his life a very happy and confident child. He was a compassionate person always looking to help others and didn’t have a mean bone in his body. Jamie often worked with me on community events and our many efforts to help others were made more effective with his ideas. From a very young age he wanted to make a better community and a better world.

He was a championship figure skater for years and was just beginning to excel as a singer. He enjoyed acting as well. He had a wide circle of friends and was involved in many different clubs and groups both in and outside of school. James’s family and friends unconditionally supported and accepted him for who he was and whatever direction he wanted to go in life.

James had been suffering with depression and was receiving care from doctors at CHEO and counselors. These professionals, along with James’s family and friends, were trying to help him learn to cope with his depression and other issues one of which was his struggles with his sexuality. He struggled with the idea that people can judge you harshly even when you are trying to help others. Jamie asked a question no child should have to ask – why do people say mean things to me?

Although James had a great many people who loved and supported him, something in his mind kept taking him to a dark place where he could not see the positive side of life, which lead him to this drastic and tragic decision on Friday. Jamie is free of his pain now and there is a new angel but we have paid too high a price.

There are some reports in the media and on social media that James was bullied. This is true. We were aware of several occasions when he felt he was being bullied. In Grade 7 he was treated very cruelly simple because he liked figure skating over hockey.

Recently, when Jamie tried to start a Rainbow Club at his high school to promote acceptance of others, the posters were torn down and he was called vicious names in the hallways and online. We had meetings with officials at the school and were working with them to bring an end to it but Jamie felt it would never stop.

We will not say that the bullying was the only reason for James’s decision to take his own life but it was definitely a factor. As his family and friends or even if you never met him but want to help, we must do whatever we can to wipe out bullying for any reason in our society and especially in our schools. Young people are very vulnerable and have enough pressures in life to have to deal with aside from the stress of being bullied. My family’s wish is that no more families have to suffer the unbearable pain of losing a child. No child should have to deal with depression or feel hated because of their beliefs – that is not the Canadian way of treating others.

Bullying doesn’t always take the form of physical violence. Especially today with cyber bullying on the Internet, children often feel there is no safe place to go; even when they are at home they can still be victims. Earlier I mentioned his posters being taken down. Many friends have offered to stand by the posters to ensure children that may want to meet and talk about issues that don’t harm others will be given the chance to do so. The school has made a promise to me that they will ensure the posters are protected. We hope from our tragedy others will become more active in stopping this cruelty towards children.

To this end, after my family and I have had some time to come to terms with the loss of our beautiful son James, I will be working hard to use my energy and public position to help bring awareness and resources to those groups working to stop the bullying and find a treatment for depression. Wendy and I have asked that all the people wishing to make a donation in Jamie’s memory can direct them to Youth Services Bureau’s Mental Health Walk in Clinic.

Over the years I have tried to help a lot of people and I was very proud that my beautiful boy was also learning the joy that comes from helping others. I need time to deal with the pain of not being able to save my precious boy and will speak more on his life and these issues later.

Kanata South Councillor Allan Hubley

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Comments

  1. What a sweet man! A loving father and a kind spirit.

    Posted by: Greenman | Oct 17, 2011 7:02:35 PM


  2. I've been accused of having a heart of stone but that has me bawling. "My beautiful boy," "my precious boy"....I cannot imagine that pain.

    Posted by: Paul R | Oct 17, 2011 7:02:36 PM


  3. You weren't kidding -- that was heartbreaking. Mr. Hubley sounds like an amazing father. I don't pretend to understand how someone can be so ill that nothing is enough to save them from themselves, but it seems the Hubley family did everything they could. How sad for everyone.

    Posted by: justme | Oct 17, 2011 7:07:51 PM


  4. i cannot even begin to imagine what it must be like to be in the shoes of a parent of a child who commits suicide-unbelievably heartbreaking.

    blue 6's "beautiful tomorrow" has become my theme music for all of these gay teen suicides. the lyric:

    "tell me when you think you've had enough,
    tell me an we'll all just swear just now to make it stop"

    it resonates deeply with me.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKvQqEEHNIk

    Posted by: alguien | Oct 17, 2011 7:12:41 PM


  5. very, very sad. his dad is right, james was beautiful and special.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Oct 17, 2011 7:16:50 PM


  6. A father should never have to bury a son.

    Posted by: Diogenes | Oct 17, 2011 7:21:06 PM


  7. THANK YOU TOWLEROAD for this story! I live in Montréal, Canada, and I and no one that I know, has even heard of this.

    This story, so far, has not reached national attention. Certainly, we might have a progressive country, but it appears that our media is not as such. Mind you, much of our attention is on "Occupying Wall Street".

    I'll be paying attention in the next few hours and days to this story.

    Cheers to you Andy.

    Posted by: DALI | Oct 17, 2011 7:21:07 PM


  8. Very impressive father; very sad story.

    Two largely unrelated things:
    1. I was wondering what Councillor meant in this context, and, it appears that he's a City Councilman (US translation?) for the City of Ottawa.

    2. What is this "after the jump" thing in blogs? Who's jumping, where? Its the next paragraph. I don't know where this started, but I find it odd.

    Posted by: Alan | Oct 17, 2011 7:44:11 PM


  9. To the above question, its an internet term. The snippet of the story is on the main page, but to get to the whole thing you must click a link and 'jump' to another page.

    Posted by: Mark | Oct 17, 2011 7:58:44 PM


  10. @Mark: Maybe its because I arrive at the page from an RSS reader, but there's no link that I have to click on (and this is true on other blogs also).

    Posted by: Alan | Oct 17, 2011 8:07:55 PM


  11. The media a lot of times won't air suicide stories for fear of copy-cats. The extreme amount of suicides that happened/are happening in the US, gay-related and otherwise, more or less forced our country to address the issue.

    The letter is absolutely soul crushing, Allan Hubley most certainly sounds like an amazing father. Jamie seemed like a very caring and sensitive young man. Unfortunately, those are the types who are picked on the worst in school and society, because people can read the sensitivity, take it as being weak and take advantage of that perceived weakness. Sadly, it seems that Jamie was simply completely done with life and was set on dying. When an individual is that far gone, there isn't much that can be done. I feel horrible for Jamie's parents and friends, they must feel so hopeless themselves.

    It's just another example that it takes community support for a child to feel the warmth and love that they need to develop and grow as mentally and emotionally healthy adults. Jamie seems to have had a strong inner circle, but his bubble burst when he stepped outside of it. Whether he had depression issues that caused the suicide or he was driven into suicide/mental/emotional trauma due to the bullying he received, what matters most at this point is to hold those who did bully Jamie accountable for their actions, to make sure these communities where homophobia abounds are cleaned up of their hate, and to send a message of empowerment to all LGBT and at-risk teens.

    Posted by: Francis | Oct 17, 2011 8:19:49 PM


  12. As a mother I wept when I heard this tragic news. I can not understand why bullying and homophopia are tolerated in our society, and the reason you know it's tolerated is the fact that it still exists. 'Society' may condemn it but individuals (especially those in authority such as teachers) continue to turn a blind eye and it doesn't help anyone when a parent or authority figure makes the inane statement that it is no more than a rite of passage. The act of bullying (for any reason) should be criminalized. No excuse.

    Posted by: rita | Oct 17, 2011 8:22:55 PM


  13. Bullying and homophobia are tolerated in our society because of the Religious Right who are incredibly fearful they will lose their hold on society if they don't fan the flames of hatred toward gay people. Look at how much of America and our citizens str controlled - yes controlled - by the Catholic Church. Our society gives them tremendous power out of fear that God will strike us - what, dead? No God would do such a thing but people pour money into the church and their time and if the clergy say stop (kill) gays then the die-hard do just that. Do you believe any religion would encourage the death of any segment of society? You see it every day directly from the Catholic Church and those who claim they are true Christians. Until we stop that we will never be free.

    Posted by: OS2Guy | Oct 17, 2011 9:12:43 PM


  14. Canada is generally more progressive and less dominated by religion in every sector of society, however. Jamie Hubley lived in Canada, the thing is he lived in a conservative suburb outside of Ottawa, Ontario. Ultimately the reason homophobia is tolerated is very simple----being gay is "different". ESPECIALLY in these suburbs, backwaters, conservative-dominated areas. That's why it's these areas where we are seeing most suicides. Gay is different, difference is threatening to the small-minded. And when you live in a society where everyone seeks approval, and where following trends and "the norm" is held to such an importance, and especially in these conservative areas where conformity isn't questioned in any degree, being gay is seen as basically an attack against that, it runs counter to everything these people have been taught by society at large. An attack against what people are "supposed" to be and do. It's a threat against that norm and when people feel threatened, they seek to eliminate that threat. Bring down what threatens them and makes them uncomfortable.

    There needs to be messages of empowerment and of independence, because that is what is really lacking throughout society. So many are more concerned about their social standing than anything else, and lose themselves and a sense of humanity in the process. The only real way situations like this will change is if gay adults in these suburban communities COME OUT and set the example. Gay adults, straight supporters need to come out and let it be known right from wrong and that they will not tolerate homophobia. Someone has to step up in these communities and create change. There are no leaders nor anyone for LGBT teens to look up to and someone they can relate to on a personal level in these communities, and that is the biggest issue, and until that changes, you will continue to see entire communities and cities be so flagrantly homophobic with no care, and even a sense of pride, in hating the LGBT community.

    Posted by: Francis | Oct 17, 2011 9:34:07 PM


  15. Spent much of today feeling so sad about this happening here in Ottawa. I grew up here, too, and felt the horrible loneliness during my school years. I figure skated (and was teased and bullied often)...And this stuff is STILL happening decades later!

    This young man's death is a huge loss.

    I am in my mid-forties and just now, finally, coming out to friends and family.

    Sad but true. I wish I could sit down and talk to this fellow...

    too late.

    Posted by: bruce | Oct 17, 2011 9:38:09 PM


  16. sending positive light to this family on this sad loss

    Posted by: JEFFUWS | Oct 17, 2011 10:10:55 PM


  17. Dali: National Post.com has this story on their home page with picture as the second story (after Can Supreme Court nominee story). National Post is the right-wing Canadian equivalent of the Wall Street Journal but with more news. Here's the link to the story: http://news.nationalpost.com/2011/10/17/blog-reveals-sad-final-weeks-before-gay-teens-suicide/
    I consider "contagious suicide" an excuse to do nothing to prevent bullying; the message needs to be directed to the bullies who out-number the bullied. I also accept how difficult it is to change behavior but kids' lives are at stake.

    Posted by: Hue-Man | Oct 17, 2011 10:51:22 PM


  18. @francis,

    Canada has it's conservative and liberal areas, as does the U.S. Canada is dominated by Ontario, Metro Toronto, and a few other big cities. Your population is far smaller and less spread out compared to the U.S. Toronto's influence gives the illusion Canada is more 'progressive' than it really is IMHO.

    As for religion, it's a non-issue in the part of the U.S. I live in [New England,Massachusetts]. And don't forget even Texas voted a Lesbian for it's largest city, Houston [a city as big as Toronto].

    Posted by: ratbastard | Oct 17, 2011 11:34:00 PM


  19. Thanks so much for your continuing efforts on this.

    Posted by: thesis example | Oct 18, 2011 6:02:13 AM


  20. We have to look into the fact that women are responsible for a lot of homophobia towards males. It's not just a male-on-male thing.

    Posted by: jason | Oct 18, 2011 7:55:18 AM


  21. But I thought that Canada was a lovely, gay-friendly place. Or so Canadians keep telling us.

    Posted by: jason | Oct 18, 2011 7:56:12 AM


  22. Well, Canada as a country has done more to support their LGBT community than America, but every place has their homophobia issues. Homophobia is an issue everywhere. And this incident happened in a conservative suburb, where homophobia often is the strongest. Unfortunately it seems like conservatism in general is making a strong comeback in Canada.

    Rat, I'm not Canadian, and I know religion is less of an issue in more progressive cities as those in Massachusetts, Houston or others. That is NOT the reality for the majority of the US. We need to stop believing that because cities like Boston or Cambridge are more progressive, that America is an overall progressive country. We have a lot of work to do, and yes, religion holds a major influence in the country. Being gay in Massachusetts, the social structure in Massachusetts, isn't in any way the same as in a state like Texas. Instead of looking for excuses and to paint pretty pictures and deny reality, we need to start taking action, making things happen and doing our part to eliminate homophobia.

    Posted by: Francis | Oct 18, 2011 8:35:00 AM


  23. We can only hope that other gay teens learn of these tragedies and choose a different path. http://wp.me/p1se8R-1CQ

    Posted by: Tom | Oct 18, 2011 10:36:07 AM


  24. Canada has a hire suicide rate than the US, largely because of the climate and higher historical unemployment rates. Also, white people have hire rates than minorities, so countries with low minority populations have hire suicide rates. The suicide rate in the US is fairly low by first world standards. There are approx. 100 suicides per day in the US. Approx 11 of those are teens, and 8 of those suicides are due primarily to clinical depression. The remaining 3 are hard to break down statistically, but drug use and dating issues appear to be a factor in a majority of the remaining cases. There are many edge cases where it is unclear if suicide was committed or not. This is often true with car crashes and drug overdoses.

    Posted by: anon | Oct 18, 2011 3:45:48 PM


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